Guide on Import/Export license in Abu Dhabi

by Zaara 02, Nov 2020

Guide on Import/Export license in Abu Dhabi

UAE has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1996; the government supports open trade and has stable trade relations with countries throughout the world. Thanks to its open economy, attractive business environment, and continued economic growth, the UAE has emerged as a critical international trade hub between East and West. The UAE's primary export commodities are crude oil, natural gas, re-exports, dried fish, and dates. Its primary import commodities are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, and food.


536520 million AED (in 2019)

Import products

Machinery and transport equipment

Main Import Countries

China, India, USA, Germany, Uk


1160200 million AED(in 2019)

Export Products

Crude oil, natural gas, dried fish, dates

Main Export Countries

Iran, Japan, India, China, Oman

Import and Export Industry in UAE

Import and export is a flourishing sector in the UAE due to the following factors:

  • UAE is one of the best places to start your firm. 
  • It is situated in a strategic role between Africa, Asia, and Europe. 
  • Its central location makes travelling to and from anywhere in the world convenient. 
  • Both air and water routes are globally well-connected. 
  • It provides an outstanding time zone, allowing for smooth integration and coordination between eastern and western countries.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE, is a fast-growing city. If you have decided to start a company in Abu Dhabi, take the help of third-party consultants for a smooth process.

How to get an Import License in Abu Dhabi?

The company owner may obtain any product from other countries or set up a business in UAE (import/export business) that need a valid import license. It also allows smooth travel from one of the Emirates' free-trade areas to a Free Trade Zone in the UAE region by meeting its legal requirements concerning licenses and documents. The UAE is stringent in dealing with importing banned items and the illegal import of restricted items into the UAE.

Here are a Few Things You Should Know

  • Firstly, the Bill of Lading must be submitted upon arrival of a vessel, and all dues incurred by the importer shall be paid. 
  • The shipping host must issue the delivery order 3-4 days before the vessel's arrival, and the completion of the Cargo inspection will occur within that time.
  • The Import Declaration form must be submitted online, where all related payments are to be made by the importer. 
  • Post this, a certificate of declaration of customs import will be given to the company.
  • In some instances, Dubai Customs will check all the necessary documents and even the vessel before handing the goods to the Cargo.
  • Later go-ahead from the Customs Department; the importer can select a transport company to receive delivery of products.
  • However, in the event of any extra inspection, the container must go to the competent authority's inspection area, and the vessel can leave the premises only after having obtained clearance from them.

Documents Required

  • Declaration for clearing the goods.
  • Sale invoice showing total quantity, description, and the complete and accurate value of each product from a licensed firm in the country and should be addressed to a firm outside the country.
  • Instructions for the Declaration of Goods Application (IDG) or an authorized export declaration certificate by a licensing authority in the country on behalf of a licensed firm for the airport customs entry points.
  • Export permission from competent agencies if the exporting products are limited.

How to get an Export License in Abu Dhabi?

The Abu Dhabi export license is required when a business owner wants to export products and services manufactured locally in any other country or between the UAE's free trade zones. To work smoothly, one must take permission from the Ministry to have an authorized license. 

It should also be remembered that if the goods are shipped to any of the UAE's Free Trade Zones, they will not have to pay customs duties. Even though the Free Trade Zone is an integral part of the UAE, it does not fall within customs territory.

Here are a Few Things You Should Know

  • Submit the necessary documents to the Customs Office. 
  • The processing fee for export declarations must be paid at the customs office. 
  • The agency issues a certificate of customs declaration.

Documents Required

  • Commercial Invoice should be forwarded to the importer from the exporter describing the total quantity, description of the products, and the full value of each item.
  • Certificate of origin (source of the products) authorized by the Chamber of Commerce.
  • For each item found in the shipment, the packaging method and HS code should be weighted. 
  • An import permit is essential in importing limited goods or duty exempted products from competent agencies.

Registration Procedure for Import/Export License in Abu Dhabi

Here are a few steps involved in export and import registration procedures 

  1. Select your business activity from the operation list issued by DED. 
  2. Select the legislative form (business structure).
  3. Your business legal form must suit the operation your company has undertaken. In this case, it will be a limited liability corporation.
  4. Use the trade name and get DED approval for it. For your company, you must apply at least three name choices. 
  5. Submit to DED for initial approval. This approval means that the government of the UAE has no opposition to business formation in the UAE. Going ahead with the following steps is essential to get this completed.
  6. Prepare an MOA or LSA Agreement and sign it. 
  7. The partner and the local sponsor must sign the Alliance Memorandum or Local Service Agent Agreement. 
  8. Businesses that residents wholly own outside of GCC need a local service agent. 
  9. The MOA or LSA is signed electronically because of the travel restrictions imposed during the ongoing global pandemic.
  10. Establish a business setup locality.
  11. A rental agreement/tenancy contract must be provided for offices or shops. 
  12. Additional approvals requirements depend on the operation you want to perform. 
  13. Pay the fees. 
  14. A Voucher for Payment will be given. 
  15. Collect licenses for the trade. 
  16. Collect it from DED's website, either from the service centres or online.

Items Prohibited by the Government for Importing and Exporting

  • All kinds of narcotic products (considering the regulation of banned items in general and narcotic substances in particular, where such prohibited goods can be imported or exported subject to the competent authorities' approvals). 
  • Goods of Israeli origin or displaying the flags and emblems of Israel. 
  • All sorts of gambling tools, machinery, and devices.
  • Nylon fishing nets.
  • Live swine.
  • Used, reconditioned, and inlaid tires.
  • Radiation and nuclear fallout contaminated substances.
  • Items that contradict Islamic faith and public morals are prohibited.
  • E-cigarettes and electronic hookah.
  • Paan and betel leaves.

Why Commitbiz?

Under the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), the United Arab Emirates is the world's 32nd largest export economy and 54th most complex economy. If you have decided to set up a business in Abu Dhabi (import and export business), it would be better to take the help of third-party consultants.

Commitbiz Consultants ranks among Dubai's best industry consultants. We at Commitbiz are actively assisting clients from worldwide to set up business in Dubai and other Emirates of the UAE. Our experts have years of experience in understanding the client requirements and helping them with business setup. Please contact us for answers to your queries. We are happy to assist! 

Start your Entrepreneurship Journey Today in UAE at AED 5,500

Commitbiz will help you with every step of your success journey. You can get one-on-one mentorship from our experts and get guidance on how to clear the legal proceedings and grow your business.

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