General Trading License in Dubai, UAE

Due to a favourable business environment and backing from the government, many business people are opting to start a business in Dubai. The huge demand for goods, ease of doing business, and proximity to emerging markets make the Emirate one of the most sought-after locations for starting a new business. 

However, you need to have a valid trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) to go about it. A set of rules and procedures should be followed to obtain this license.

What is General Trading?

General trading is an activity which is done in a broader array across various commercial firms that engage in importing and exporting commodities that are legally allowed by the UAE government. There are so many activities that don’t need any approval. 

The Department of Economic Development is the authority you need to approach to avail of a general trading license in Dubai.

Approval comes in the way of license; there are certain activities under general trading license in Dubai; if your activity falls under that list, then you are allowed to start your preferred activity.

What is a General Trading License in Dubai?

The first thing one should understand is that the general trading license in Dubai and the trading license in Dubai are two different things. 

General trading allows you to trade multiple things, and with the trade license, you can trade only specific products.

For a better understanding, refer to the table below.

General Trading License

Trading License

In simple terms, a general trading license allows businesses to retail and wholesale any goods within and outside the UAE, except those goods that are prohibited for trade without proper approval from authorities. 

Hence, the general trading license involves all types except exempted goods. 

In the case of a trading license, a business owner is only allowed to trade in specific types of goods for which the license is registered. 

Other goods available in the market cannot be traded except if registered under the license.

*Hence, the scope of a general trading license in Dubai is large and wide enough compared to the scope of a trading license.

Why Start a General Trading Company in Dubai?

Starting a general trading company in Dubai comes with benefits that can be availed by any business that follows this business. Some of these benefits are:

Company formation is relatively affordable and straightforward. However, some business owners need to submit a business plan with the necessary documents and projections of the revenues. The entire process takes around one week.

Visa services in Dubai offer people who set up a company a facility through which they can obtain various visas.  Having multiple visas will allow the trading company to keep a physical presence in Dubai and help recruit more help for the business. 

After getting a general trade license, one can apply for multiple employee visas. It depends on the size of the office; the more prominent your office, the more visas you can get. 

The businessman can also sponsor visas for dependents, i.e., spouse, child, parents, maid, driver, etc. However, one should ensure getting an expert's advice before commencing since this is a necessary process.

A general trading company can sell or distribute imported or exported goods in the local or overseas market. This will allow a trader to exploit all the possibilities of doing business in local, national, and international calls to gain profits.

The costs at the start of the business and the time taken are comparatively less. Also, the entrepreneurs holding the mainland trading license are exempt from any paid-up share capital or audits conducted yearly. 

This dramatically increases the profitability and affordability of the business.

The Business Regulation and Licensing sector of the Dubai Economic Department understood the need for regulation in e-trading and accordingly introduced an e-trader license. 

This license will allow the nationals of both the UAE and the GCC countries to conduct business on different social media platforms.

Apart from these, various banking facilities are available for personal and corporate purposes. 

For example, a company with a general trading license is allowed to have 100% repatriation of capital and profits. They do not have to deposit share capital in UAE banks. 

How to get a General Trading License in Dubai?

There are five simple steps to get the general trading license for your business in Dubai. All the steps are explained as follows:

Choose an appropriate trade name and legal structure for your company. Make sure that the trade name abides by the conditions mentioned by the DED and is unique. The corporate entity is required for further proceedings.

Decide on all the business activities to be included in the business license (a maximum of 10 per license).

Prepare the following documents:

  • A license application is signed by the company managers or their legal representatives.
  • A Memorandum of Association.
  • Attested the company name approval letter from the Department of Economic Development (DED).
  • Passport copy of the managing partners.

Depending on the type of your business activity, get external approvals if required and apply to the DED.

Decide on a business location and get a tenancy contract attested by Ejari. Make the requisite payment for the license, including an issuance fee for obtaining the license.

The end procedure for getting a DED General Trading License

The Commercial Registry Authority will check and validate the documents. Then, the company name will be added to the Commercial Registry. 

The DED will publish the documents to the Federal Ministry of Economy. After publishing the documents, including the MOA and the application entry of the company name, the ministry will issue its approval letter. 

Upon completion of the licensing procedures, the DED issues the original trade license and commercial registration certificates. Once obtained, the license is valid for 1 year. You should get approval from the authorities for a trade license renewal in Dubai. 

The approval document should be submitted with a copy of the previous license. The renewal will be valid for another 5 years.

Document Required to avail of General Trading License in Dubai

You can plan to start a general trading company in the mainland freezone with both individual and corporate shareholders using the documents listed below.


Individual Shareholder

Corporate Shareholder (all the documents should be of the parent company)

  • A copy of your passport.
  • Passport-size photo.
  • Copy of your residence visa.
  • Tourist visa copy/Entry stamp 
  • Copy of your Emirates ID.
  • Tenancy / Ejari Contract (If any).
  • NOC from the Sponsor (If any).
  • Name options (at least 3-4).
  • Certificate of incorporation.
  • Certificate of incumbency or equivalent.
  • Memorandum of association
  • Board Resolution.
  • Trade license of parent company
  • MoA or AoA of the parent company.
  • All the documents should be attested by the UAE embassy and notarised by MOFA.
  • Authorised signatory’s passport copy
  • NOC from the Sponsor (If any).
  • Name options (at least 3-4).


Individual Shareholder

Corporate Shareholder

  • Father’s Full Name
  • Clear Scanned Colour Passport copy (Shareholder/s and General Manager).
  • Visa copy / last entry stamp in UAE (Shareholder/s and General Manager).
  • Complete address details in the home country and residing country.
  • Passport-size photo.
  • A suggestion of 3 names for the new company.


  • Board Resolution must be notarised but not attested by the local UAE Embassy or MOFA.
  • Trade License or equivalent.
  • Memorandum of Articles / Articles of Association.
  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Registry Extract.
  • Other legal documents.


Dubai General Trading License Activities

Dubai's general trading license activities Dubai include: 

  • Exporting.
  • Importing.
  • Trading goods or products like clothes, accessories, furniture, and electronics.
  • Those who wish to do wholesale business should also have a general trade license. 
  • It is important to note that regulated products such as alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical products, frozen goods, and so on require special approval from the respective authority to be traded. 

Due to tremendous opportunities in local as well as national and international markets, a trader has the advantage of exploring all the trading possibilities.

For business setup in Dubai, a business person needs to decide from which area he/she wants to get a trade license.

General Trading License Cost in Dubai

The general trading license cost in Dubai is based on the activity you choose to do and the jurisdiction in which you choose to set up your company.

End Note

To make things simpler when getting a general trading license in Dubai, we at Commitbiz have advisors who can help you through the whole process. When you want to set up a business in Dubai, contact us, even if it’s just for friendly advice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the cost of obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai?

Depending on where you choose to set up, the cost of general trading licenses in Dubai, UAE, are generally priced between AED 9,000 to AED 40,000 range. 

What are the business activities under a general trading license in Dubai?

The General Trading License enables the investor to indulge in selling, distribution, and storage, import/export, etc. General Trading License covers a wide range of business activities ranging from any retail & wholesale of goods; to the selling of accessories, clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. If the company is involved in the trade of multiple goods and not a single item, getting a general trading license is the right choice.

What is the validity of a Dubai general trade license?

The validity of the General Trading license from the date of issuance is one year.

Does an LLC business require to submit an annual auditing report?

No. The license holder need not submit the annual auditing report.

How much time is required to obtain a trading license in Dubai?

The license issuance formalities are straightforward. Once the documentation part is through, the issuance formalities can be accomplished within ten days.