UAE Economic Department is the liaising authority to issue trade licenses. In some categories of business, it requires approval from concerned ministries and relevant authorities: for example, banks and financial institutions should have permission from the UAE central bank; insurance companies and related agencies from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce; manufacturing Entities from the Ministry of Finance and Industry and pharmaceutical and medical products from the Ministry of Health. More detailed procedures apply to businesses engaged in oil or gas production and related industries.
To carry on some trade activities (e.g. jewellery and insurance) requires the submission of financial guarantee issued by a bank operating in UAE.
In general, all commercial and industrial businesses in UAE should be registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the respective Emirate.
Types of trade license
All business activities in UAE can be categorized into is one of the following types of licences.
Commercial licences including all kinds of trading activity.
Professional licences professions, services, craftsmen and artisans.
Industrial licences for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity
The Authorities also issue some special licenses such as Business Operation Permit, Entrepreneurial Business License etc. Subject to certain criteria.
Useful tips for business owners
Currently, capital is not required for a Dubai mainland (DED) license.
Free zone license would be issued with rented free zone office space mainland businesses can be functioned from an economic business centre.
Free zone business license and visa costs are comparatively lower, but it insists you to work within free zones and international regions only; with a mainland (DED) license, you can have clients locally as well as internationally.
The long-term free zone benefits and services are more beneficial for large international than a small business unit owner
In general, there are no income taxes and if you are planning to start professional practice, you can own the company 100%.
What are the requirements for obtaining a trade license?
While planning your business in UAE, it is worth to pursue the following legal requirements applicable to all concerned government authorities in order to guarantee maximum commercial benefit for the business owner.
Designate the business category commercial, industrial and/or professional
Determine all the related business activities within each business license (Maximum 10 per license)
Plan your business legal status in UAE
appropriate trading name
Submit an application to the Department for initial approval
Register a trade name after receiving initial approval (option available to reserve trade name)
Lease business premises and obtain approval from the Authority.
Prepare all required documents such as memorandum of association and approvals from other relevant government authorities..
Submit further application to the department to obtain the final license.
Pay the required fees.
Renewal of trade license
One can conduct business in UAE with a valid trade licence. AON offers complete assistance in renewing the trade licence. We will promptly remind when the license is due for renewal.
With AON, you get the combination of our deep in-depth local knowledge and extensive experience, which gives us the ability to precisely understand the unique needs of your business. We are thus able to recommend the best possible options and ensure that your business is set up with minimal hassles and effort.
We handle the details for you, so you're free to concentrate on the bigger picture - your business