General Trading License in Dubai

March 29 2019

Do you wish to trade from the UAE? Obtaining a general trading license will allow you more freedom in trading multiple goods, at a reduced cost.

The general trading license allows the company in Dubai to trade in a wide range of products. Some products that require special approvals, such as jewelry and media, are not included.

What is a general trading license?

The general trading license allows the company in Dubai to trade in a wide range of products. Some products that require special approvals, such as jewelry, cars and alcohol, are not included.

A general trading license is preferred in case you wish to trade in unrelated goods, for example furniture and clothing.

The Dubai general trading license allows businesses to trade not only locally within the UAE but also with markets around the GCC and globally.

Advantages of setting up a company in Dubai mainland

In 20 years, Dubai has become an attractive business destination for investors and companies that want to operate in the high-growth markets of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Here are some of the advantages of company formation in Dubai.

Growing Economy

Dubai has been successful in terms of economic growth, and in diversifying away from oil. Sectors such as trade, logistics, transportation, finance, services and tourism account for almost 75% percent of Dubai’s GDP.

Favourable Investment Climate

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has been instrumental in driving Dubai’s economic agenda. Their initiatives in making doing business in Dubai easier, and stong Government support, have resulted in Dubai being attractive to both local and international investors.

Free Zone network

Dubai has more than 22 Free Zones that attract investors from all over the world. These are organized into clusters and provide one-window clearance for business that setup and operate. Investors have 100% ownership of their assets, along with no restrictions on repatriation of profit and capital.


There are no personal or corporate income taxes. This enables companies in Dubai to deploy their capital and earnings to expand their businesses, and attract good talent from all parts of the world.

Geographic Location

Dubai is located between Asia, Europe, and Africa, a gateway to over 2 billion people.  

Excellent Infrastructure

Dubai has an excellent network of roads and highways, a world-class Metro system and exceptional ports and airport facilities.

Access to a pool of Human Resources

Companies operating in Dubai have access to a multicultural pool of talent from across the world. The local Emirati population is highly educated and seeks more active participation in the private sector.  


The UAE has had a politically stable climate since inception. Dubai is known as one of the most tolerant, prosperous, secure and safe societies in the world and is ranked as the top Middle Eastern city in Mercer’s Quality of Life Index.

How to apply for a General Trading License in Dubai?

The process of applying for a General Trading License in Dubai is as follows:

Select legal form – this will mostly be a Limited Liability Company or LLC.
Select business activity – General Trading.

Find a UAE National to act as local sponsor. Read this article to know more about LLC ownership requirements. 

Decide the distribution of the shareholding, the profits, and losses among the partners and other operational modalities.
Reserve of a new trade name. Click here to know more details on acceptable trade names.

Pay the fees.

The Memorandum of Association will be generated electronically and is required in case of license renewal or amendment during the first year.

We can complete the process of obtaining a General Trading License in an hour. Contact us today to speak to our consultants who can guide you through the process.

Costs of a General Trading License in Dubai

A general trading license costs around AED 30,000. This includes the AED 15,000 general trading activity charge. Costs are lower due to the fact that a general trading license can be set up without having a physical office in the first year.

Visas cost around AED 8,000 per visa.

Advantages of a General Trading License in Dubai

Easy setup – The license can be setup in an hour, if you meet the required criteria. Office space is not mandatory in the first year, unless visas are required.

Cost-effective – Unlike many free zones, the Dubai general trading license is economical, since you do not need to commit to office space in the first year.

Flexibility of doing business – Unlike free zone companies, LLCs in Dubai can do business anywhere in the UAE, and in other countries as well. The company can set up retail outlets, showrooms, and enter into trade agreements with Government entities.

Range of locations – Unlike a free zone, which is a designated area, you can set up general trading license in any area of Dubai, including Deira, Bur Dubai, Business Bay and anywhere else on the Dubai mainland.

Options for multiple visas – General trading licenses they allow for unlimited visas when setting up on the mainland. The number of visas allowed depends on the office space taken, which is usually calculated at 80 square feet per visa. In some cases, the DED is flexible on this allocation, for example in instances where the company has a large outdoor sales force, or cleaning services.

Sponsor of dependents – The company can apply for multiple visas for their employees, and the shareholders and employees can sponsor visas for their dependents – spouse, child, parents, maid, cook etc.

A general trading company in Dubai can open bank accounts anywhere in the UAE and operate in a tax-free environment, with 100% repatriation of profits.

Speak to one of our experts who can guide you through the process of setting up a general trading license in Dubai, today!

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