What is General Trading in the UAE? All You Need to Know

When setting up a company in any UAE jurisdiction, investors will have the option to apply for a license. Although there is a wide range of them, each license covers different business activities. The general trading in the UAE can only be covered by the general trading license. If you desire to trade a variety of goods, this is the license you need.

In this article, you will learn everything you should know about this special license and the benefits it offers. Besides, you can discover relevant information about the steps of the application process for this license in the UAE. Moreover, you will find other important details regarding this document that you should be aware of. Let’s observe:

What is a General Trading License and How Does it Work in the UAE?

One of the most important elements that all companies in the UAE need to operate is a business license. This is a legal document that permits companies and businesses to trade and offer their services in the country. However, there are many types of business licenses available, and each of them has different functions.

If you’re looking forward to setting up a trading business in the UAE, you will need a  UAE general trading license. This license will allow you to trade a variety of products and goods within the country. Nonetheless, you can only obtain this license after applying for a commercial or trading license.

Although the trading license has similar functions as the general trading license, there are some key differences between them. Firstly, the license for general trading in the UAE allows investors to trade a larger number of goods. Besides, it also allows them to trade different kinds of products, which means that they don’t have to be related.

However, there are certain products that you cannot trade with this license because it does not cover them. Some of those goods could be medical or healthcare products, alcoholic drinks, vehicles, among many others. Therefore, it is essential to know what is general trading in the UAE and what products are allowed.

Why You Should Apply for this Type of Business License?

Type of Business License

Obtaining this license for general trading in the UAE can bring you several advantages that you should know about. The main function of this license is already a huge benefit compared to the normal trading license. Nonetheless, here you will learn some valid reasons why you should apply for a general trading license:

  • Firstly, you must know that the application process for this license is quite easy. Besides, the setup process is also a straightforward procedure that you can complete without hassles. And the best part is that you can select your ideal business location and get a license there.
  • Secondly, it is possible to apply for this license at an affordable price. However, this will mostly depend on the business location you choose, which could be a free zone or mainland.
  • Another great advantage of having this license is that it makes easier the acquisition of several visas. Not to mention that it also allows investors and entrepreneurs to sponsor dependents.

You’ll be able to see more benefits below and with brief explanations to understand them better.

You can Set Up Anywhere with Ease.

Setting up your company in any location in UAE is a simple process, and it can be even easier. Due to many different initiatives, the business setup process and the application process for a license became straightforward procedures. One of the advantages of this is that investors can meet the eligibility criteria for a license.

Besides, it is possible to complete the registration process within a few minutes without committing to a lease agreement. On the other hand, investors can freely choose their business location in the UAE. Furthermore, the license for general trading in the UAE allows them to take on both warehouse and office space anywhere in the country.

The Setup Costs are Affordable.

Obtaining this license is also an affordable option that allows your business to operate efficiently. Depending on the location you select, a general trading license can be obtained starting from AED 17,000 approximately. However, it could depend on other details of your company, such as its requirements or other elements.

The total business setup cost is unlikely to exceed AED 100,000 in popular locations like free zones. Nonetheless, you can obtain more information with a specialist if it is necessary.

It Allows You to Apply for Multiple Visas.

Understanding the general trading meaning and the license benefits will allow you to find more advantages of it. For instance, large companies with great numbers of workers might need several visas to cover their needs. By having a general trading license, investors with mainland companies can obtain multiple visas for their employees.

However, it is important to consider the required office space that depends on the number of visas. There is a rule that requires having at least 100 square feet of office space or warehouse space per visa.

Investors Can Sponsor Dependents Easily.

Besides getting visas for your employees, this license also permits you to sponsor your dependents to obtain their visas. Investors can obtain visas for their spouses, children, maids, and drivers by following a simple process. This process involves the following steps:

  • Obtaining an entry permit.
  • Completing the status adjustment procedure.
  • Completing a medical fitness test.
  • Registering for the Emirates ID.
  • And completing the visa stamping procedure.

Barriers to Entry are Lower with this License.

Besides the previous benefits, having a license for general trading in the UAE also provides low barriers to business ownership. And it could be in many different ways, including minimal upfront costs, no paid-up share capital requirement, and many more. Moreover, general trading companies do not need to undergo an audit per year.

Nonetheless, you can request special business services from professionals to enter the market in an easier way. But that is an unrelated matter when it comes to the general trading license.

You’ll be Able to Set Up with Multiple Shareholders.

And lastly, there is another huge reason why this license is so popular among entrepreneurs that own large companies. This is regarding the possibility of setting up their businesses with multiple shareholders at the same time. Generally, the accepted number of allowed shareholders is 50, though there is not an official upper limit on it.

On the other hand, it is also possible to count on different types of shareholders when operating a business. You are free to choose between individuals and corporate entities as shareholders of your company. As we have mentioned before, it’s always highly recommendable to consult with a specialist to obtain better results for your business.

How Can You Apply for a General Trading License in Dubai, UAE?


There are two main ways in which you can obtain a license for general trading in the UAE. The first one is obtaining your license from the Dubai Economy, which is the ideal option for mainland companies. And the second one is from the Free Zone Authority, which is your option if you’re in a free zone.

In any case, this is the process you must complete:

  • Choose a jurisdiction and business activities. Remember to consider the activities under general trading license in Dubai or other emirates.
  • Select a trade name for your business.
  • Fill out the initial approval and then submit it to the relevant authorities.
  • Obtain the necessary approvals to continue the process.
  • Gather all required documents and submit them to the authorities.
  • Get the Tenancy Contract and Ejari.
  • Obtain your trade license after submitting all documents and paying all fees.
  • And lastly, apply for a residence visa and open a business bank account.

Dubai General Trading License: What Documents are Needed?

Before you start the application process to obtain a general trading license in Dubai, you need to gather certain documents. Some of the most important documents that you will have to submit are the following ones:

  • A signed and duly filled application for the general trading license.
  • Passport copies of all the shareholders involved.
  • The shareholder agreement.
  • The MOA (Memorandum of Association).
  • Your trade name approval letter after the pertinent authorities attested it.

There could be other additional requirements too, but that will depend on the business location you set up in. Also, it could depend on the kind of business that you establish in Dubai.

How much can cost this Type of Business License in Dubai?

Many different elements could influence the cost of a general trading license in Dubai. For example, the most outstanding element that tends to be relevant is the location. Depending on the free zone you choose, the cost could range between AED 15,000 and AED 40,000. Nonetheless, there are other elements that might influence too, such as your business activities.

You must keep in mind that this license is only valid for one year, which means you must renew it annually. Having said that, you need to consider the cost of the renewal process and cover it. Similarly, this cost will vary according to several elements, including the ones we previously mentioned. The renewal cost is approximately between AED 8,000 and AED 15,000.

Connectfz Can Help you get a General Trading License Here.

Applying for a general trading license in the UAE can be a lot easier if you request help from professionals. With Connectfz, you’ll be able to select your business location and apply for this license at affordable prices. Besides, you can also choose between different packages that contain a variety of elements, including visas, Flexi-desks, and more.

Moreover, you can also obtain the guidance and recommendations you need to select the most suitable choices. For instance, our team can help you select the business location that suits your business better. After that, we will complete your company setup process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on more important things.

Furthermore, you are free to request other different services to make your company more efficient and operate it easily. For example, we will help you for company formation in Dubai Mainland and also in the freezones, Visa Services in Dubai and all over the UAE, UAE Business Consultancy, and other related services.

Would you like to contact Connectfz to obtain more information about the application process to get a General Trading License in the UAE? If you have any questions, call us on +97143316688. You can email us at info@connectfz.ae, and you will talk to one of our representatives who will answer your questions.

Kate Williams

Avatar photoKate WilliamsSkills in Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Time Management, Teamwork, and Customer Experience. She is an enthusiastic self-starter with a passion for building relationships with people.

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