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trade licenses in Dubai

Trade License in Dubai: Everything You Need to Know

Dubai is well-known for its sparkling oceans and glittering nightlife. Also, people know the city for its thriving business and amazing trading opportunities. Perhaps this is why so many entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the UAE choose Dubai as their home base. In fact, According to data from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the first half of this year 2023 saw a astounding 43% increased in the number of new trade licenses in UAE, reaching a total of 30,146. This marks a substantial increase from the 21,098 companies recorded in the same period last year (2022). This strong expansion highlights Dubai’s attractiveness to a diverse range of businesses and investors, enhancing its standing as the leading international business hub.

In this article, you will learn everything about how to easily obtain a trade license in Dubai. Let us observe:

1. Trade license in Dubai: What is it for?

2. Free zone, offshore, and Mainland license: Differences 

3. What are the advantages of obtaining a trade license in Dubai?

4. The process of getting a trade license in Dubai

5. FAQs

6. How can Connect Group help you?

Trade license in Dubai: What is it for?

The business license is a document that specifies which activities a company may engage in in the UAE. The Department of Economic Development issues each trade license. A trade license in Dubai is valid for a variety of activities. Importing and exporting goods, as well as commercial activities, are examples of these activities.

A DED trader license in Dubai is available to companies operating in Dubai Free Zones. Professionals who provide industry-specific services can also apply for a trade license in Dubai.

What kinds of trade licenses are available in Dubai?

A trade license in Dubai has four types of licenses to choose from:

Firstly, we have a professional license. Professional licenses are issued to professionals who provide specific services. Also, you could apply for a commercial license in Dubai. Commercial or trade licenses are issued to anyone who engages in commerce. Then, we have the industrial license; they are issued to businesses that conduct industrial and manufacturing operations.

Lastly, we have the general trade license.  This license allows you to conduct general trades, exports, and imports. Before applying for any of these trade licenses, make sure you have all of the necessary documentation. Failure to do so may result in a delay in the issuance of your license.

What documents will I need to apply for a trade license?

Certain documentation must be submitted as part of the application process for your business license in the UAE. To avoid delays, ensure that all documentation is well-organized and that it is submitted with your application.

For starters, you will need to complete a trade license application. The document must be signed by all company executives. They also require a Memorandum of Association. This should be accomplished with the assistance of a legal representative.

Then, attach the company name approval to your application. After accepting your chosen business name, the DED will send you this approval. Finally, all managing partners must provide copies of their passports.

Free zone, offshore, and Mainland license: Differences

The UAE trade license you apply for will differ depending on whether you are starting a business in a free zone or on the Mainland. A mainland license is required for companies doing business in Dubai Mainland. These are issued by the DED and require approval from various government entities.

Each FZ has its authority; so, this authorities will issue Free Zone trade licenses. Each license has its own set of restrictions and benefits. An offshore incorporation certificate is required if you intend to establish an offshore company in Dubai. These businesses cannot operate in the UAE.

What are the advantages of obtaining a trade license in Dubai?

Many investors choose to establish branches or organizations in this country because the great benefits the UAE offers to them. Here are a few of the primary advantages of obtaining a trade license in Dubai.

Increase both domestic and international trade

A trade license opens up a world of possibilities for manufacturing and importing goods. You can either sell your products in Dubai or export them and profit from other countries. A UAE trade license also allows business owners to re-export their goods. This gives your company the great ability to make business with goods and services globally.

Increase your credibility

Many businesses seek legal and regulatory loopholes to increase their profits. Companies that take the time to follow the rules, on the other hand, earn their customers’ trust. Furthermore, having this license, your company will increase its exposure in the market. And of course, it creates a trustworthy environment. 

Profit from tax breaks

The tax breaks were one of the main reasons why over 90,000 people relocated to Dubai in 2021. Dubai does not impose significant sales and manufacturing taxes on investors. Like other countries do. 

Traders and business owners can generate additional revenue because Dubai is almost entirely tax-free. Instead of spending that money on taxes, you can invest it now in production. 

There are few trade restrictions

Dubai is an ideal place to do business since it basically has no restrictions. Hence, when you register your product under a general trading license, you will not think about restrictions. 

Setup is simple

Obtaining a trade license in Dubai is much faster than obtaining other UAE business licenses. If you had the proper documentation, there would not be any problem for you to to get your license. Furthermore, the processing time for Dubai trade licenses is extremely short.

In most cases, you can open a business in any Dubai-free zone or on the mainland in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, once you have your license, you are not required to submit auditing reports. This saves you a lot of paperwork in the long run.

Opportunities for sponsorship

One significant advantage of obtaining a trade license in Dubai is the ease with which dependents can be sponsored. This means you can bring family members or employees with you to Dubai. Once you have a trade license, you can assist others with their visa applications. This makes starting a new life or business in Dubai easier than ever.

The process of getting a trade license in Dubai

A trade license in Dubai is relatively simple to obtain. To obtain your trade license, you must first complete a few simple steps.

Choose a business name

The first step in obtaining a trade license is to choose an appropriate trade name. Your company name must follow UAE guidelines for naming a company. It should also be a distinct name that is not already in use by another active entity.

Establish your legal structure

To proceed with your trade license application, you must first choose the legal structure of your business. The legal structure of your company will determine how it is run and who is responsible for it.

Define your company’s activities

After you have decided on a name and legal structure for your company, you will need to define the business activities you intend to carry out. Make a list of all activities on the license, keeping in mind that each license allows for a maximum of ten activities.

Fill out the application form

The following step is to complete your application form. Once completed, send the form to the DED for preliminary approval.

Obtain more approvals

Some business activities may necessitate obtaining external approvals. Before completing the business formation process, conduct thorough research. Otherwise, they may deny your business license in the UAE.

Gather the necessary documents

You must submit several documents with your license application, in addition to your completed application. Gather these documents and make certain that all required signatures are present.

Choose a location for your company

When it comes to the type of trade license you apply for, you have several options. If you want to apply for a Mainland trade license, you must have a physical business location. After deciding on a business location, you must obtain a tenancy contract. Ejari must attest to the contract, which you will submit along with the rest of your application materials.

Please submit your application

You are ready to submit your trade license application once you have collected all of your materials and decided on a business location. Send all of the materials to the DED to obtain your trade license.

You must pay your licensing fees

Keep in mind that applying for a trade license is not free. To receive your license, you must pay both the issuance fee and the license fee.


How much does a trade license in Dubai cost?

Before you rush out to get your trade license and start a business in Dubai, you should be aware of the costs involved. This will allow you to budget for your licensing process and avoid any hiccups.

The cost of a trade license varies according to the type of goods you want to sell and the approvals you require. Other factors that may influence the cost of your trade license are:

  • The total number of business partners.
  • Establishment location.
  • Organizational structures in business.
  • Collaborations with local sponsors.
  • Business activity type.

A Dubai trade license, on the other hand, typically costs between 15,000 and 50,000 AED. Remember that the cost of obtaining a trade license in a Dubai-free zone differs from that of obtaining a trade license in Mainland Dubai.

How long will it take to obtain a trade license?

After you have submitted your trade license application, you will have to wait. Fortunately, the wait time for a Dubai trade license is relatively short. Obtaining a trade license can take anywhere from three to four weeks. The exact turnaround time will be determined by the approvals needed and the business activities you engage in.

As long as you have all of the necessary documentation, your turnaround time should be relatively quick. Check your application materials twice before submitting them to ensure that your trade license is issued as soon as possible.

How do I renew a business license?

Just because you received your Dubai trade license does not mean it will be valid indefinitely. To continue legally operating in the UAE, you must renew your license every year.


To renew your business license, you will need to first obtain the necessary approvals. The type of approvals and authorizations required will vary depending on the type of business you offer.

Transportation companies, for example, will need approval from Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority to renew their business licenses. Obtain approval before beginning the rest of the renewal process to expedite the process.


Businesses needed to gather documentation in addition to written approval for license renewal. The following documents are required to renew trade licenses in Dubai:

  • The renewal form, once completed.
  • EJARI, attested.
  • Letters of authorization and approval
  • A tenancy agreement.
  • All business partners’ photographs
  • The renewal fee payment number.

So, to obtain approval, the business owner must submit these documents to the DED.

Tenancy agreement

Lastly, check your tenancy contract before applying for a trade license renewal. It must be valid for at least three months after you apply to renew your license.

How can Connect Group help you?

Obtaining a trade license in Dubai is the key to reaping the many benefits of doing business in the UAE. It is a method of assisting your company in increasing revenues and making valuable investments in a growing economy.

On Connect Group, we offer tailored business licensing services. Since we are experts in the market, we will be a great ally for you as a foreigner. With us, you will get your UAE trade license quickly.

We understand that since you are a foreign investor, you may have doubts. For this reason, we recommend you check our FAQ. Additionally, we put our phone number +971 43 316 688; and email address contact@connectgroup.co at your disposal for any inquiries. Reach out to us and we will answer all your questions about the trade license in Dubai.

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Connect Group is here to help you at every step of your business journey in the UAE with ease.

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