How to setup a General Trading License In Dubai

April 01 2019

Are you planning to conduct trading activities while based in the UAE? If you do, then we have good news! Obtaining a General Trading license in Dubai is a more straightforward process compared to obtaining other licenses – you could be registered with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) within just ninety minutes, and the entire process – from approaching a sponsor to applying for the company license – is estimated to last just one week.

A general trading license will let your retail and wholesale business conduct any type of goods trading both in and out the UAE – except, of course, for prohibited goods. Examples of permitted activities include ┬átrading and exporting goods and products such as food, furniture, electronics, or clothes. This license will also allow you to trade in mixed goods.

The opportunities you have after obtaining a license like this is vast – you, as the owner of the business, can import, export, and trade any number of products under the same license.

So, on to the specifics of this topic: how do you apply for a general trading license?


Applying for this license is fairly straightforward. The cost of applying for it starts at just AED 17,000, and depending on the requirements of your business, the total expense is likely to be less than AED 100,000 – a figure similar to what other business would pay for to set up in free zones such as the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). However, unlike other methods of company setup, a business with a general trading license allows entrepreneurs to take both office and warehouse space in any location in the UAE.

Approach a sponsor.

This sponsor will own 51% of the business, while the other 49% will be owned by the investor or investors. However, profits are not necessarily split down these lines, and full repatriation is a possibility. The only people eligible to sponsor are professionals, business owners, government employees, and citizens of the UAE. This is a complex process, and it is advisable to consult a company formation specialist for guidance.

Choose a business name.

Make some back-ups, just in case your first option isn’t available. Keep in mind, however, that your company name cannot contain any offensive language, religious references, or references to any known organizations.

If you want to put a name, only full personal names can be included – meaning both first and last name are required if you are using your personal name for your company name.

If your company name is in a different language, then all names must be written as it is enunciated, rather than translated.

Provide additional required documents.

you will need to submit certain documents to the DED, such as a memorandum of association that details sponsor arrangement and ownership percentage among all partners, and copies of the shareholder passports and visas.

After this, you can now apply for your company license, immigration card, and any visas you may need. Once you receive your license, you will now be able to open your corporate bank account and set up your business anywhere in the UAE mainland.



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