Requirements of business trade license in Dubai

September 14, 2023

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The glorious city of Dubai has successfully retained its position as global commercial hub and provides diverse business opportunities to entrepreneurs keen to setup new business in Dubai. If you are a foreign investor with a plan to establish your own company in Dubai, you must have sound knowledge about the Company Law of Dubai which narrates all the requirements and steps you need to complete in order to setup and run your company. One of the most integral steps of business setup is obtaining trade license in Dubai as it will reflect the operations your company will carry out.

Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for issuance of trade license in Dubai. Obtaining trade license will permit you to conduct your business in Dubai. It depends upon the activity of your business which will determine what kind of approvals you require from relevant authorities. For example,

  • Banks and other financial institutions require approval from UAE Central Bank.
  • Insurance and other related agencies require approval from Ministry of Economy and Commerce
  • Manufacturing firms require approval from Ministry of Finance and Industry
  • Medical and pharmaceutical companies need approval from Ministry of Health
  • Education related businesses require approval of Knowledge and Human Development Authority
  • Food related business require approval from Food Department of Municipality

Moreover, companies involved in gas or oil production may need additional endorsements and approvals from government authorities. Lastly, for licensing of any kind of business and its registration procedure, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry will always be involved.

Types of Trade License in Dubai

There are basically three types of business licenses and their issuance depends upon the business activity the entity intends to undertake.

1. Commercial License

Commercial license will be issued to companies undertaking trading activities. If you want to trade within UAE under commercial license then creation of Mainland Limited Liability Company will best suit your needs. For that you will need a local sponsor. You can however obtain commercial license for trading outside UAE by forming company in UAE free zone. In this case, you do not require local sponsor and can own 100% of your business. Free Zone companies can also sell their products within UAE by partnering with UAE mainland distributor.

Businesses requiring commercial trade license include,

  • Import and export
  • Electronics trading
  • Car rental services
  • Brokerage firms
  • Logistics firms
  • Trading of building material

2. Industrial License

Industrial license will be issued to manufacturing or industrial companies. In order to obtain industrial license, you are required to have physical office inside Dubai.

Companies requiring industrial license include,

  • Food products manufacturing
  • Metal casing
  • Manufacturing of furniture
  • Packaging

3. Professional License

Professional license is required by professionals, service providers, crafts men and artisans. You are required to have local service agent for this license but you have 100% ownership of your business and its profits. KWSME can act your local service agent and we will always protect your business investment and ownership.

Business that require professional license are,

  • Management and marketing consultancy
  • Law firms
  • Auditing and accounting companies
  • Information technology companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Medicine related businesses

Process to Obtain Business Trade License in Dubai

1. Determine and select your local partner as sponsor for your business. Also pre-decide the extent of services you require from local sponsor. Have good relationship with your sponsor to avoid future problems.
2. Submit an application form to Department of Economic Development (DED) for trade name and activity approval.
3. You are required to have business premises therefor look out for office location and make a tenancy contract.
4. Prepare Memorandum of Association (MOA) with sponsor.
5. Submit application for business license to DED along with required legal documents. Following are the documents which must be submitted to Trade License and Commercial Registration Department in DED.

  • Completely filled application form signed out by company’s legal agent.
  • Original as well as copy of company’s statutory documents
  • DED letter approving company name
  • DED attestation letter approving the setup of company
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Shareholder’s complete details and their passport copies

At this stage you must pay all charges and fees. After successful submission of required documents and payment of fees, you will receive business license after a week.

In this article, we have listed out general guidelines you need to follow for getting trade license in Dubai. There may be additional requirements and further approvals depending upon the type of licensing you are applying for. Contact our Dubai company formation agents for further assistance in your company trade license and registration.

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