Trade License


Obtaining a trade license is one of the most essential legal requirements to start a general trading business in UAE. The growing reputation of UAE as the global business hub has made it the centre of attention for international investors who consider UAE as an ideal location now to set up their companies or branches of their existing companies. There are a number of options available for investors to start their business in UAE and general trading is one of the most popular choices, thanks to the presence of international ports, state-of-the-art transport facilities and business-friendly policies of the UAE government to promote trade activities in the country. Investors can open a free zone company, offshore company or an international business company in UAE to name a few options. Trade license acquisition procedure for different types of companies varies according to the rules and regulations set by the concerned authorities and investors must meet all the legal requirements to be eligible to apply for a trade license.

Types of Trade License

When you are planning to set up a business in Dubai or anywhere else in UAE, the most important document you need to complete the business set up process is the trade license. The UAE business license offers investors a number of relaxations in tax-related policies and makes setting up a business in UAE a tempting indulgence for international investors. There are many different license types that are categorized on the basis of type of company set up and business activities selected. In view of the major requirements to be completed to set up a business entity in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, here are fundamental types of license options available for investors in UAE.

  • Professional License
  • Industrial License
  • Commercial License

Requirements for Obtaining a Trade License

There are specific requirements to be met by investors to obtain a general trading license in Dubai or in any other emirate. Applying for a specific type of business license and planning everything about the business activities well ahead of the initial set up ensures that investors can acquire most of the commercial benefits for setting up a general trading business in UAE. Here are the requirements for obtaining a trade license in UAE:

  • Selecting a specific category to do business under the commercial, professional and industrial license types. Different activities are allowed under a specific type of license in UAE.
  • Determination of a maximum 10 business activities under a trade license.
  • Determination of a specific trading name
  • Submitting the initial application for approval

Trade license process

The process of issuance of trade license doesn’t take long but all different legal requirements must be completed to obtain a trade license in UAE. After completing the aforementioned initial requirements, here is the step-by-step process to follow to obtain the trading license:

  • Once the initial application is submitted for the registration of the trade license, the applicant receives the trade name approval by the authorities.
  • Investors need to file an application for the leasing of business premises and get its approval from the concerned authorities.
  • Preparation of Memorandum of Association and other required documents and getting them approved from the authorities.
  • Submitting the final application to obtain the license after all the documents have been approved.
  • Payment of the service fees.

Company Registration Procedure in Dubai

Setting up a general trading business in UAE has become a preferred choice for investors from across the globe. Investors must know and understand the company registration procedure in detail to meet all the legal requirements effectively while setting up their business entity in the Dubai or anywhere else in UAE. The company registration procedure for a free zone company in UAE is different from the procedure followed in registering an offshore company outside the free zones. Setting up a company in the UAE’s free zones is a popular choice amongst investors because free zones offer tax exemptions, 100% ownership of the business and many other notable advantages to the investors. Here is the step wise procedure for company registration in the UAE’s free zones:

  • Filing an application for registration of the company
  • Submitting legally attested Board Resolution with Determination of Company’s Manager/Director name
  • Submitting legally attested Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Submitting Power of Attorney for the Manager/ Director
  • Legally Attested Specimen Signature of Manager/Director
  • Passport size photo of Manager/Director

The requirements and the registration procedure for other types of companies in UAE differ on the basis of specific company structure and business activities selected.  Investors must understand all the terms and conditions for setting up a specific type of company in UAE so that they can plan and establish a company while acquiring all the essential commercial benefits.

Trade license Dubai fees

The trade license fees for setting up a specific type of company are different in UAE. For an instance, there are different license fees for setting up a Limited Liability Company in UAE and setting up a company in the UAE’s free zones. Additionally, the nature of business and business activities selected also impact the trade license cost. The license cost for setting up a Limited Liability Company starts at AED 15,000 while the starting price for the free zone trade license is AED 7,000 in UAE.

Trade License Renewal Process and fee

The trade license must be renewed every year according to the commercial laws of UAE. If not renewed in time, investors can pay hefty fines and their company’s operations can even be seized. It costs AED 3,000 to renew the general trading license in UAE, however, the renewal cost varies based on the type of company set up and activities of a business entity.



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