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A Comprehensive Guide: How to Get a Business License in Dubai, UAE

how to get business license in uae

A business license is essential to starting a business in Dubai. The Department of Economic Development is the body in charge of issuing every type of business license in Dubai, and you have various options to consider, including mainland, offshore, or free zone setups. It is crucial to follow the entire process, from registering your trade name to commencing operations, as getting a business license in Dubai is a vital step that aligns with your business activities and chosen company structure. Therefore, let us delve deeper into how to get business license in Dubai.

How To Get A Business License In Uae

If you want to get a business license in the UAE, you must go through the following five steps:

  1. Select your business activity

If you’re interested in getting a business license in the UAE, the first step is to choose your preferred business activity. Dubai has a wide range of business activities to choose from. At GAL Business Center, our advisors can assist you in determining the most suitable business activity for your enterprise.

  1. Choose a trade name for your business

It’s important that your business name accurately reflects the nature of your company. Avoid using offensive or blasphemous terms and acronyms that include your name. For instance, a company called Amir Shah Trading is acceptable, but A.S. Trading is prohibited.

  1. Choose your business location

Selecting the right location for your UAE trading business is crucial. Many companies prefer the GAL business center due to its 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership policy. Being in central Dubai, it allows easy access to the airport, seaport, and local retail businesses that may be interested in purchasing your goods or services.

  1. Complete your application and pay fees

To obtain a business license in the UAE, you must fill out an application form and submit various documents and paperwork. Paying the necessary fees when applying for your UAE business license is crucial.

  1. Receive your license and open a business bank account

Obtaining a license to operate a trading business in Dubai is quick, usually taking only a few days. However, ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in order and that your application form and fees are correct is crucial. At GAL Business Center, we can provide support by ensuring that your paperwork meets all requirements and avoiding unnecessary administrative errors.

Once your license is approved, the next step is to open a business bank account to facilitate payments. 

How To Get A License For Online Business In Uae

How To Get A License For Online Business In Uae

Getting a license is hassle-free if you plan to start an online business in the UAE. Begin by selecting your business activity and deciding whether to set up in a free zone or on the mainland. Then, pick a trade name that accurately reflects your business while ensuring it complies with naming regulations. After submitting the application and paying the necessary fees, you can open a business bank account once your license gets approved. With different types of licenses, you can easily find the one that fits your online business requirements.

Types of Business Licenses in UAE

When applying for a business license in Dubai, you will have various types to choose from, including:

  • UAE commercial license: Commercial licenses are given to companies that deal in goods and commodities, including import and export businesses and related services such as car rental or real estate.
  • Industrial licenses: Industrial licenses are required for companies engaging in manufacturing activities in the UAE.
  • Professional licenses: People with specific professions, including artisanal craftsmanship, consultancy, IT and technical services, medical services, security, printing, and publishing, can obtain professional UAE licenses.
  • Tourism license: Obtaining a tourist license is crucial if you plan to operate a business in the tourism industry. This includes businesses such as hotels, tour operators, cruise lines, and other travel and tourism activities.
  • Agriculture license: If you wish to grow plants, reap crops, construct greenhouses, or provide agricultural advice, you need an agricultural permit.
  • Freelance license: There is a growing community of freelancers in the UAE, and the government has created a freelance permit to meet their needs. However, Meydan Free Zone does not provide freelance license or visa options.

There are, of course, many, many more kinds of trade licenses in the UAE. At GAL Business Center, we can help you choose the most appropriate license and business activity for your entrepreneurial idea.

Perks Of Getting A Business License In Dubai

Perks Of Getting A Business License In Dubai

The UAE offers numerous business advantages, leading to the establishment of many companies and organizations. Dubai trade licenses provide various benefits:

  1. Increase local and international trade

With a general trading license, you can take advantage of various opportunities for manufacturing and importing goods. Depending on your product, you can sell it locally in Dubai or export it overseas for profit. Furthermore, business owners can also use the license to re-export their goods, thus facilitating international trade in goods and services more effectively.

  1. Enhance credibility

Businesses often exploit laws and regulations to increase their profits, which can erode customer trust. However, companies that follow legal requirements are more likely to establish trust with their customers. A trade license can also improve a business’s visibility in its markets and enhance its credibility and reputation.

  1. Obtain tax benefits

Doing business in Dubai is easy, with almost no trade restrictions. A general trading license protects products registered under it.

  1. Business restrictions are few

Acquiring a Dubai trade license is a relatively fast process compared to other business licenses in the UAE, provided that you have all the necessary documents. Setting up a business in any free zone or mainland Dubai typically takes just a few weeks. Moreover, once you have your license, there is no requirement to submit auditing reports, which can save you considerable time and effort in terms of paperwork in the future.

  1. Business Setup is simple

Acquiring a Dubai business license is quicker than other business licenses in the UAE if you have the necessary documents. Setting up a business in any of Dubai’s free zones or mainland typically takes just a few weeks. Moreover, once you secure your license, you are not required to submit audit reports. This means that you can save a considerable amount of time and effort on paperwork in the future.

  1. Sponsor opportunities

Obtaining a trade license in Dubai can facilitate the sponsorship of dependents. This means you can easily bring your family members or employees to Dubai. Additionally, having a trade license enables you to assist others in the visa application process, making it simpler to establish a new business or life in Dubai.

Documents Required to Get Your UAE Business License

You must prepare several important documents to obtain a business license in the UAE. These documents are:

  • A completed application form is required that details the nature of your business and the goods and services that will be traded.
  • Copies of your passport and passport-size photos
  • A copy of your residence visa (if applicable)
  • Emirates ID copy (if applicable)

In short

Gaining a trade license in the UAE is necessary for starting a business, but it requires some prior knowledge to navigate the process efficiently. While the application process is relatively straightforward, it’s important to remember that it’s only simple if your trade license application is complete and error-free at the time of submission. It’s crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information ready beforehand, as missing or incorrect information can lead to delays or even rejection of your application. Therefore, it’s best to take the time to gather all the required documentation and double-check everything before submitting your application to avoid any unnecessary complications.


How much does it cost to get a business license in Dubai?

The fees for obtaining a trade license in UAE range from AED 8,050 to AED 32,000. The cost of obtaining a trade license in Dubai may vary depending on various factors, including the license type, the nature of the business activity, the legal structure of the company, and the business location.

How long is the Dubai business license valid?

In Dubai, trade licenses must be renewed before they expire. If not, there will be a ban on conducting business activities. Restoring on time is essential to avoid interruptions.

Which trade License is best in Dubai?

A Commercial License is the most common type of trade license in Dubai’s Free Zones. It’s perfect for businesses involved in trade and commerce activities.

What is the cost of an instant Trade license in Dubai?

The fee for an Instant Trade License in Dubai is AED 3,000, which covers the cost of trade name registration. If you are a newcomer to the UAE, you should also consider the expense of applying for visas for yourself and any dependents.

Do I need to apply for a trade license if I open a branch office in Dubai?

Foreign companies must obtain business licenses to operate branch offices in the UAE.

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