How can I get a business license in Dubai?

business license in Dubai

Starting a business in Dubai can be interesting. However, there are numerous variables that you need to consider before getting into the formation process. The most essential of all is a Business license. it is a mandatory requirement for every kind of setup. A business license in Dubai authorizes the company as a legal entity and approves its activities for operation in the region. 

Business licenses in Dubai are issued to companies based on their primary activity. Acquiring a suitable license for your business is not difficult if you have the right guidance and direction from business specialists. UAE Expansion Business Setup has skilled professionals who are proficient in this practice and thus can assist you with the best solution suitable for your business.  

Different types of business licenses in Dubai 

Commercial license 

A commercial license is needed for all kinds of commercial operations including retailing, construction, public transit, property development, etc. In addition, entrepreneurs conducting distinctive trading activities such as export/import goods, logistics operations, brokerage agencies, product trading, services on rent, etc. can also acquire a commercial trade license. 


  • Allows organizations to operate both inside and outside of the UAE 
  • Serves as management and protection for companies 
  • Covers up to 10 operations under a single license 
  • Also covers multiple related companies’ practices 
  • Allows you to connect and have safe business functioning with the Registrars of Companies and the Department of Economic Development 
  • Option to select from numerous business forms 
  • Helps in establishing a corporate account 
  • Affordable renewal 

Additionally, businesses can start trading the below items with a commercial license:- 

  • Gold & Precious Metals 
  • Automobiles & Spare Parts 
  • Furniture 
  • Oil & Gas 
  • Chemicals 
  • Publications & Media Material 
  • Safety Equipment 
  • Other trading and commercial sectors 

Industrial license 

The purpose of an industrial license is to support the industrial sector and boost investment for its development. Therefore, it is issued to enterprises that are engaged in manufacturing or other industrial operations. These companies are further entitled to numerous privileges by the UAE government.  


  • Creates rental options to facilitate investors 
  • Investors can avail the site facility at a discounted price or even for free 
  • Affordable options for essentials like power and water 

Professional license 

Individuals or firms that want to offer professional services to consumers must secure a professional license from the DED. It demonstrates their credibility and expertise in a given profession. However, it can be provided only to those who prove their specific degree of training and experience.  For example, consultants, accountants, lawyers, etc. 


  • Holders can offer their services to any consumer or company in the UAE 
  • Permission to take part in events related to their training and field of competence 
  • Allows overseas entrepreneurs to hold 100% shares of the company and enjoy all the rights of sole ownership. 

Activities covered under a professional license are as follows – 

  • Computer services 
  • IT services 
  • Management services 
  • Environmental services 
  • Tax services 
  • Insurance activities 
  • Marketing 
  • Real Estate Brokerage 
  • Commercial Brokerage 
  • Other consultancies and professional services 

Thus, procuring the right kind of license is crucial for the growth of the company. The experts of UAE Expansion will help you apply for the right license and even guide you through the procedure. 

Licenses based on various jurisdictions 

Mainland Business License 

Mainland companies have access to the local market. Therefore, individuals or entities that want to trade in UAE local market must set up their business in the Mainland region. The Department of Economic Development (DED) oversees the administrative activities of the Mainland including license issuance, renewal, company liquidation, and others. 

Freezone Business License 

Free Zones are special economic zone nominated by the government to perform preset business activities in Dubai or UAE. Every Free zone is operated by separate authorities and each zone is designated to a particular industry. For instance, Dubai Media City for media-related activities, Dubai International Financial Center for the finance sector, etc. 

Unlike Mainland, Free zone companies do not have access to the local market, rather they can only trade within their jurisdiction and outside the UAE. 

Offshore Business License 

Offshore companies are entities that are registered in a jurisdiction but conduct business outside of it. These entities are issued a Certificate of Incorporation instead of a business license by approved license authorities like JAFZA, RAKEZ, and AFZA. The basic purpose of starting an offshore business is to save taxes, hold assets of other companies, and invest in real estate worldwide. 

UAE Expansion consultants can share further details about the different jurisdictions in Dubai and recommend you the apt one according to your business needs. 

Benefits of business license in Dubai 

Tax rights 

A business license gives individuals the right to file tax returns separately. This will help them to reduce significant business expenses, and report losses and income as well. While this process can be tiresome, UAE Expansion professionals will do the heavy lifting for you. 

Business identity 

A business license gives a legal identity to your business in the market and proves that yours is an authorized and accredited firm. This authenticity will attract more customers, stakeholders, and investor interest, thereby contributing significantly to the success of your business. 

Personal safety 

Business licenses tend to safeguard companies against all liabilities. In simple words, if in any case, the company comes across any damages or legal concerns, the personal assets of the business owner will stay protected. 

Procedure to get a business license in Dubai 

UAE Expansion business experts will follow the below steps to help you get your desired business license in Dubai – 

  • Specify your business activity and choose a corporate entity 
  • Reserve a company name 
  • Decide a jurisdiction – Mainland, Freezone or Offshore 
  • Apply for initial approval 
  • Notarize the company documents – MOA 
  • File an application with the supportive documents 
  • Apply for an Establishment Card 
  • Register workforces with the Ministry of Labor 

Approvals required for license issuance procedure – 

  • UAE Central Bank – For licenses of banks and financial institutions 
  • Ministry of Finance and Industry– For licenses of manufacturing companies 
  • Ministry of Economy and Commerce – For licenses of Insurance companies and related firms 
  • Health Ministry – For medical and pharmaceuticals license 
  • Government agencies  – For licenses of Oil and Gas Production 

Basic documentation for a business license in Dubai 

The applicant must submit the below documents for a successful business setup in Dubai 

  • Passport copy and visa copy 
  • A completed application form 
  • Tenancy Agreement 
  • Trade name registration certificate 
  • Attested Degree certificate and Experience certificate (for professional license) 

Renewal of business license in Dubai 

The renewal process is also quite simple. You can start off by checking the license validity. Further, arrange the necessary documents, fill out the Renewal Application Form, and pay the renewal fee. 

Additionally, companies that have missed their renewal deadline are given a 30-day grace period to complete the process. However, they would still be liable to pay a fine. Hence, it is always better to seek help from business specialists like UAE Expansion who will timely remind you about the renewal and even perform all the steps on your behalf. 

Reach out to UAE Expansion for your business setup in Dubai 

Company formation in Dubai, UAE is relatively simple if you have the right assistance and expert advice by your side. UAE Expansion is your one-stop solution to receive inclusive business setup support. Their team of professionals will provide you with the best and most affordable services related to your license application, business registration, visa processing, and many more. 

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