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Trade License

In Dubai, a trade license is a necessary step for any business to take if one wants the venture to take place legally in the emirate's lively marketplace. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai is the main regulatory body issuing any trade/operation license mandatory for companies to carry out their business activities. The procedures and requirements for each of these will depend on the business activity, the location of the business, and the type of activities that the business is allowed to perform.

Types of Trade Licenses in Dubai
  1. Commercial License

    For companies involved in trading activities, i.e. buying and selling activities. This is the most common form of trade license taken out in commercial jurisdictions.

  2. Professional License

    For service-oriented businesses, professionals, artisans, and craftsmen. This license allows one to practice professions and services based on intellectual talents and skills.

  3. Industrial License

    For manufacturing or industrial activities. This kind of license is for companies that are going to convert natural materials or raw materials into finished goods.

Steps to Get a Trade License in Dubai
  1. Determine the Business Activity

    The first step in the process is deciding on the business activity you have to engage in. That is the determinant of the type of trade license you will be needing.

  2. Choose a Legal Form

    It is important to choose the form of your business entity – sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. This impacts your licensing requirements.

  3. Select a Trade Name

    The trade name for your business should be unique and indicative of the nature of the business. It should also follow the naming conventions stipulated by the DED.

  4. Apply for Initial Approval

    Submitting an application for initial approval to the DED, which states that you wish to set up a business in Dubai. The idea behind this step is to ensure that no objection is raised by the Dubai government against your new business.

  5. Prepare Required Documents

    You will need to collect all documents required, which may include an application form, copies of the passports of the owners and partners, NOC letters, if required, and any other documents demanded by the DED.

  6. Lease an Office Space

    Office space in Dubai must be physically leased for a trade license, so one needs to procure appropriate office space or commercial premises.

  7. Submit the Application and Pay Fees

    All you've got to do is submit your application to the DED, along with necessary documents, and pay the necessary fee for your trade license. You must be eligible to receive your trade license from the DED, and from thereon, operate your business.

  8. Collect Your Trade License

    Once approved, you can collect your trade license from the DED and commence your business operations.

Important Considerations
  • Free Zones

    Companies in the free zones of Dubai are run by different authorities as such companies can be given permit direct from these authorities. This offers advantages such as complete foreign ownership (100%) and tax relief.

  • Renewal and Compliance

    Trade licenses must be renewed annually in Dubai. Businesses must also be compliant with all the legal and regulatory requirements such as bookkeeping, visas, and labor regulations.

  • Local Sponsorship

    For certain types of licenses and legal forms, foreign investors may require a local sponsor (a UAE national) who will hold a specific percentage of the business.

In Dubai, to get a trading license one needs to understand well the environment of business as and when it comes to law and business doings linked directly to what you are dealing in . To assist with applying for this process normally specialized business set up advisers based in Dubai are used by companies at times compliance officers also help organise application proceedings thereby making it faster for them to finally get this document required called their trading license.

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