Before applying for a DED license in Dubai, as a business proprietor, Mainland Dubai or a Free Zone, you must first determine where you want to conduct your business. You will only need to register with DED Dubai if you’re setting up your firm in mainland Dubai. To start a business in Mainland Dubai, you must first familiarise yourself with the policies and procedures set out by DED Dubai. Currently, there are 2,100 business operations for which DED Dubai may issue a trade license. These business activities fall into manufacturing, commercial, technical, (or occupational) crafts, and agricultural and tourism activities. There are several DED license options to choose from based on these categories. These are:
1. Industrial Licenses
- Industrial licenses are issued to companies engaged in industrial operation or any type of production activity. These businesses convert natural materials or resources into finished goods for profit-selling.
- 51% of the company shares are owned by a UAE national (local partner) under industrial licenses and 49% by an expatriate owner.
2. Commercial Licenses
- Companies engaged in some form of commercial trade operation or offering physical facilities, such as general trading, specialised trading, leasing, real estate, transportation, healthcare, and more, are given commercial licenses.
- A commercial license for companies with foreign ownership in Dubai is given to a Limited Liability Company (LLC), the most common legal entity. The partners shall be liable only to the extent of their share capital when signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in the LLC undertaking. For company partners, this serves as a safety net.
- Fifty-one per cent of the company's shares are owned by a UAE national (local partner) and 49 per cent by a foreign investor, also under commercial licenses.
3. Professional Licenses
- Professional licenses are obtained for non-physical services like consulting.
- Professional licenses are given to individuals/consultancies who offer professional services and whose work depends on the knowledge and experience, mental and intellectual abilities, academic achievement, and scientific talents of the individual(s) conducting the business. Such practitioners include advisors, prosecutors, auditors, etc.
- Businesses with professional licenses will currently be 100 per cent foreign-owned. However, a UAE national must be named a 'Local Service Representative' or a 'Local Sponsor'.
4. Craftsmanship (or Occupational) Licenses
- Craftsmanship licenses are given to people who make crafts and other artisanal works for profit independently. Such artisans rely on their physical effort or the use of instruments and equipment.
- Carpentry, blacksmithing, printing and more are the practices coming under craftsmanship licenses.
5. Agricultural Licenses
- Agricultural licenses are issued to the owners of arable land for growing crops, livestock farms, and fisheries.
6. Tourism Licenses
- Tourism licenses are issued to owners of tourism-related facilities, such as tourism companies, hotels and resorts, restaurants, cruise ship rentals, tourist camps, etc.
- Three key categories of travel agency licenses are issued by DED, each for inbound tourism operators, outbound tourism operators, and travel agents.
If you would like to learn more about regulation, market structure, and post-company growth processes, get our help. Commitbiz business consultants met with business setup consultants for business formation in Dubai & the UAE. We offer consultancy & advisory services to prepare paperwork and advice in the process, ensuring you do it all correctly.
Professional business setup consultants like Commitbiz can help you with Dubai's right DED license option. Contact us to speak to one of our Business Setup Advisors today!