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Understanding the Various Types of Mainland Trade License in Dubai, UAE

You’ve just come to Dubai and found yourself a great office in one of the business districts. It’s been only a few days since you first arrived and registered your company, but now you’re itching to start trading. A key question on your mind is: how do I get a trade licence so I can start operating legally in the UAE? What you have to know is that the government approach to foreign nationals coming into the country and setting themselves up as an expat business person is very different from that of normal residents, even though they both need government approval. 

In this article, we’re going to focus on the various trade licences and the  process of obtaining one.

What is a trade licence?

Trade licences are the key to doing business in Dubai, UAE. It’s your trade licence that allows you to legally engage in commerce anywhere within the emirate or throughout the country as a whole.

You can apply for any one of the three types of trade licences available in the UAE—Normal Licence, Instant Licence and DED trader licence.

When starting a business in Dubai, it’s important to know the different types of trade licences and how they work. Al Hadif a leading business setup consultant in dubai can help you choose and obtain

the right licence for your business.

Normal/General Trade Licence: This is a general commercial licence that applies to any business trading in a wide range of goods. The perk of getting this kind of licence is that it allows for trade in just about anything – from food products to clothing and toys. It requires the existence of a Memorandum Of Association (electronic or manual) as well as a lease contract for your business site.

Instant Licence:  An express licence is the fastest way to start a business in Dubai. This type of licence eliminates many of the steps involved with getting a professional or commercial licence that needs to be obtained from DED e-service (Department of Economic Development) or with the help of business setup consultants in dubai. 

You can obtain an Instant licence for an activity or bundle of activities that do not require approval from outside bodies within five minutes.You can start trading immediately and continue for one year without submitting any MoA, EJARI or other documentation.

Why does one need a trade licence to run a business in Dubai?

A trade licence in Dubai serves to legally identify your company as an established business.

 Furthermore, trade licences also protect and secure the interests of companies by categorising them according to their activities.

A trade licence gives you the legal right to do business in Dubai. It also allows you to operate freely (within certain limits) and comply with government regulations.

What are the different types of trade licences a company can apply for in Dubai?

Businesses may obtain four primary types of licences to do business in Dubai:

Commercial Licence 

Professional Licence 

Industrial Licence 

Tourism Licence 

Professional Licence: Regulated by the Dubai government, professional licences are given to all individuals and companies hoping to establish a business in Dubai. Its purpose is to verify that each applicant has the required expertise needed to carry out his or her profession’s services properly. Applicants for these licences are typically required to demonstrate certain skills or training.

Commercial Licence: Commercial trade licences are granted to companies that plan to engage in buying and selling or any other kind of trading activities.In the UAE, there are various types of commercial trade licences. The type you need depends on what kind of trading activities you want to perform as part of your business.

Broadcast and communications companies, rental transportation services, retail companies, construction businesses—in fact any business that trades in goods or provides a service to customers in the course of its work—all have to obtain and apply for commercial licences before they can legally start doing business in dubai.

Industrial Licence: The Industrial or Manufacturing licence is provided to business people willing to conduct industrial or manufacturing-based activities in the UAE, such as the conversion of natural materials into their end products.

The DED (Department of Economic Development) gives out the licences for industrial activity, but other ministries might have to approve them if they deal with sectors like finance or energy etc.

Tourist Licence: Owners of facilities that offer tourist activities must obtain a tourism licence. For example, this applies to hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and cruise boat rental companies as well as businesses offering floating restaurants or camping sites to tourists.

Which trade licence is right for my business?

Trading licences in the UAE expand or shrink your business’s scope—a portal licence, for example, is sufficient to launch an e-commerce operation.To trade in products you have manufactured yourself, it is necessary to obtain a general trading licence from the Department of Economic Development (DED).

A trade licence will allow a business to operate legally and take part in the market, both physically or online. To determine which licence would be best for your company you have to consider certain factors such as what type of products or services it offers (i.e if it’s wholesale-only) and structure of your business and its jurisdictions

It is wise to consult with a business setup consultant before applying for a trade licence in Dubai—to avoid costly mistakes and waste of time, effort.

Where can I apply for a trade licence in Dubai?

In Dubai, trade licences are issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Therefore, for commercial entities wishing to do business in Dubai mainland or —it is necessary to apply for a trade licence with DED.The licensing process involves a large amount of documentation and paperwork, which may involve other legislative authorities as well.

How long does it take to receive a trade licence in Dubai?

The issuance of a trade licence usually takes three days, provided that all the necessary documents have been submitted and are in order. However, It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of your business and whether you need government licences or permits.

How much does a trading licence in Dubai cost?

Licence to trade in Dubai can range from AED 10,000 – 50,000 depending upon the type of business activity. Activity fees vary between AED 150-500 and are determined by the type of business entity.

Additional registrations, visas, premises and more can all add up to the cost; in addition activity class guide fees and licence replacement fees contribute to these costs.

How frequently do I have to renew my trade licence in Dubai?

The trade licence is valid for one year. Therefore, it has to be renewed annually. The renewal process of the mainland licence is simple and straightforward:

Al Hadif is one of the leading business set up companies in Dubai who can help you with choosing the right trade licence in dubai with ease.

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