General Trading License in Dubai


Due to a favorable business environment and backing from the government, many business people are opting for starting a new business in Dubai. Huge demand for goods, ease of doing business and proximity to the emerging markets make Dubai one of the most sought-after locations for starting a new business. However, to go about it, you need to have a valid trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED). A set of rules and procedures should be followed to obtain this license.

What Is a General Trading License in Dubai?

Any entrepreneur looking to start a business in Dubai should have a general trading license. If you have multiple trading activities that are in the same or different industries then a general trade license covers it all. The activities under general trading license include export, import or trading of goods or products like clothes, accessories, furniture, electronics, etc. Those who wish to do wholesale business should also have a general trade license. One of the benefits of having a general trading license is, a company can trade within Dubai and other Emirates. It is important to note that there are regulated products such as alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical products, and frozen goods, and so on that require a 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 exploiting all the trading possibilities.

Dubai provides 3 main options to its entrepreneurs for business setup in the Emirate, i.e., they can set up a company in the mainland, free zones or offshore. A business person needs to decide from which area he/she wants to get a trade license in Dubai. Both offshore and free zones have their advantages and disadvantages.

Steps to Obtain a General Trading License in Dubai

  • Choose an appropriate trade name and legal structure for your company
  • Decide on all the business activities to be included in the business license (a maximum of 10 per license)
  • Fill in and submit the application for initial approval
  • Depending on the type of your business activity, get external approvals if required
  • Arrange all the required documents like the Memorandum of Association (MOA), and all the approved documents from the relevant government authorities
  • Decide a business location and get a tenancy contract attested by Ejari
  • Submit an application to the DED to get to the final license
  • Make the requisite payment for the license, including an issuance fee for obtaining the license

To get a valid trading license from a free zone or offshore, the company should submit the original documents to the Commercial Registry at the Trade license and Commercial Registration Department.

Documents to Be Submitted for a General Trading License

  • A license application signed by the company managers or their legal representatives
  • A Memorandum of Association
  • Attested company name approval letter from DED
  • Passport copy of the management partners

The Commercial Registry Authority will check and validate the documents. Then the company name will be added to the Commercial Registry. The DED will forward the documents to the Federal Ministry of Economy for publication. 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. For a trade license renewal in Dubai, you should get approval from the authorities. The approval document should be submitted with the copy of the previous license. The renewal will be valid for another 5 years.

A general trade license in Dubai costs around AED 30,000 to AED 40,000, depending upon several factors. It can also be used as legal holding structure within the UAE and other licensing authorities. The same can be used for storage and warehousing.

Advantages of a General Trading License in Dubai

  • Tax-free jurisdiction
  • Local and international trading provision
  • Auditing is not mandatory
  • Hassle-free legal process
  • A wide range of banking facilities
  • Easy access to visas for employees
  • No currency restrictions
  • No requirement of paid-up capital
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Low import duty

Obtaining a general trading license in Dubai can be of immense advantage to a businessman. Due to pro-business policies of the government, investors are flocking to start a company in Dubai. Once you decide to set up a company in Dubai, do go through all the rules, regulations and procedures before making a decision; unawareness and lack of knowledge can lead to undesirable overheads. To make things simpler on getting a general trading license in Dubai, we at Commitbiz have advisors who can help you through the whole process. If you are looking to set up a business in Dubai, do contact us, even if it’s just for a friendly advice.