Complete Guide on UAE Trade License

UAE Trade License

Every business operating in the UAE has to have a license, from big multinational corporations to small start-up firms. Licensing is very important if you want to run your business smoothly. And in the past few years, applications for UAE trade license has grown massively.

This goes on to prove how UAE has become a favorite spot for foreign investors and expats for investments and business setup. This is because of the numerous advantages and incentives the UAE government offers to licensed establishments. So, how exactly can you secure one for yourself? Let’s discover it.

Types of trade license in UAE

The UAE authorities approve three different types of trade licenses, which are –

  • Commercial license – Issued to companies engaged in trading all sorts of goods and commodities.
  • Professional license – Permit to practice specific professions in the UAE, such as artisanal craftsmanship, consultancy, real estate brokerage, research & development, etc.
  • Industrial license – Issued to businesses operating an industrial plant to carry out manufacturing activities in the UAE.

UAE Trade license in various jurisdictions


If any individual or corporate entity wants to conduct business in UAE local market, then they must consider starting a business in the UAE mainland. The trade license in the Mainland is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Free zone

Free zones are special economic zones that operate independently in the UAE. However, it allows companies to perform preset business activities within the free zone and outside the UAE. Hence, if an investor wishes to set up a business in the Free zones, then they must obtain a Free zone license to carry out their activities legally.


Any corporate entity that has a business outside of its registered jurisdiction is called an offshore company. These companies are usually established to save tax, hold assets of the company, and invest in real estate worldwide. Offshore trade licenses in the UAE are issued by approved license authorities such as JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority), RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone), and AFZA (Ajman Free Zone Authority).

Benefits of Acquiring a UAE Trade License

There are many advantages offered to businesses with a trade license in the UAE. And that is why investors and companies prefer setting up branches or organizations here. Some of these advantages include tax exemption, reduced visa charges for ex-pat workers, customs duty waivers, etc.

Let’s take a look at some more advantages provided to licensed businesses in UAE –

1. Authorization

A UAE trade license allows you to benefit from the fact that you own an authorized firm. This confidence not only attracts more customers but also brings in more shareholders and investor interest, thus leading to a significant contribution to business growth and success.

2. Tax rights

A business license allows individuals to file tax returns separately in UAE. although it seems like a tiresome job, it helps to reduce significant business expenses. Besides, it also eases the task of reporting losses and income.

3. Personal safety

Licensed businesses in the UAE are protected against all liabilities. There are different stages of protection depending on the type of license and the formation of the business. In simple words, if in any circumstances your company goes through any legal damage, your personal finances won’t be affected.

4. Better trading

As trade licenses provide legal status to companies in the UAE, it tend to enhance the trading opportunities for them as well. It simplifies the manufacture, import, export, and other business activities paving the way for more profits and business for the company.

5. Easy setup

UAE trade licenses can be obtained quickly. In fact, they require minimal paperwork. Once the paperwork is completed and the documents are submitted without any errors, companies can expect their licenses in a few weeks. One of the hidden advantages of obtaining a trade license is that it frees you from the obligation of submitting auditing reports.

6. Sponsorship opportunities

A trade license also streamlines your visa applications. In short, you can sponsor your family including your spouse, kids, and parents, your domestic help, and your employees to come to UAE.

How to get a UAE trade license?

The procedure of procuring a trade license can be both exciting and overwhelming for anyone trying to start a business in the UAE. The basic steps include:-

1. Finalizing the desired business activity

Discover which activity you wish to perform in your company in UAE. UAE offers several options for business activities one can choose from and further apply for a license accordingly. The list of activities includes logistics, automotive, food, agriculture, chemical, electronics, healthcare, E-commerce, education, trading, and many more.

The company formation consultants at UAE Expansion can help you identify the activity that matches best your business and further help launch your procedure.

2. Registering a suitable trade name

Every license is issued under a chosen name of the business. This proves that company owners need to find an appropriate trading name that suits their activities and company structure. However, it is also essential to check beforehand if the selected name is available and hasn’t been registered already.

There are certain naming conventions that the UAE government enforces on business owners while choosing a company name. For instance, the company name should not include any initials or abbreviations.

If the owner wants to use an individual name as a trading name, then they must include the full name rather than just the surname. Also, avoid using obscene or vulgar terms, and references to any political party, religious community, or country. For more detailed information, get in touch with the consultants of UAE Expansion.

3. Confirming the location

The license application process includes choosing a location or jurisdiction where you can apply for your license. Usually, there are three options – Mainland, Free zone, and Offshore. Each location follows a different registration process and the amenities also vary. Hence, you must deeply study each jurisdiction, their individual pros & cons, and then come up with a wise decision.

4. Completing the application formalities

Now comes the major step which is the submission of the license application. Depending on your business type and location, you need to choose the license and submit a request to the concerned licensing authorities accordingly. This process also includes a range of documents and certifications, along with a UAE trade license cost that needs to be submitted with the application.

5. Opening an account

Once your license application is approved, the final step is to open a corporate account in a UAE bank to manage business finances. All you need to do is find the right bank that provides better services and banking facilities.

However, if you are not a UAE resident, it can be a complex procedure, and you might need assistance with that. UAE Expansion consultants can guide you with the best available banks in UAE and also assist you in the account opening process.

How do I renew my expired trade license in Dubai?

The renewal process of a UAE trade license is quite simple. To start with, keep all the documents arranged that are required for the license renewal. Then, fill out the renewal application form and pay the relevant fee to the concerned authorities.

Companies that miss their renewal deadline are provided a 30-day grace period to fulfill the formalities. However, they are still liable to pay a fine, which they have to pay separately with the UAE trade license renewal fee is AED 12,500 to AED 14,500.

We offer a fortune of resources and 24/7 support to make your dream a reality!

If you are looking for the cheapest trade license in UAE, get in touch with the team of UAE Expansion Setup for better suggestions. We can provide inclusive licensing support and the best services and solutions to your common queries.

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