Types of Trade License in Dubai, UAE


Around the globe, Dubai is known for its business-friendly environment. Due to its location and economic stability, it attracts entrepreneurs and businesses to start operating in Dubai. Before starting commercial activities operations, it’s mandatory for organizations to obtain a trade license required for company formation.

Choosing the Right Trade License

To choose a right business trade license in Dubai involves several considerations. Some of these are discussed below:

  1. Business Activities: The nature of business activities are essential to define. Dubai caters to different sectors such as industrial, commercial, professional, and tourism.
  2. Research License Types: Now comes researching and selecting types of trade licenses available in Dubai which align best with your business activities. 
  3. Ownership Structure: It depends on business ownership and model. The options available are:
  •    Sole Proprietorship
  •    Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  •    Free Zone Company
  •    Branch of a Foreign Company
  •    Representative Office
  1. Right Location: Decide the location where you want to establish your business. It can be mainland or a free zone. Note that each location has its own set of benefits, regulations, and limitations.
  2. Legal Requirements: It is necessary to get yourself familiarized with the legal regulations and requirements that govern your chosen business activities.
  3. Cost Evaluation: Calculate the related costs with obtaining and maintaining the trade license. It includes
  • license fees
  • Visa costs
  • Office rent, and
  • Other operational expenses.

Specialized Trade Licenses in Dubai

To cater to the need for specific industries and business activities, specialized trade licenses are obtained. We discuss some examples of specialized trade licenses:

  • Media License: For businesses engaged in media-related activities such as publishing, broadcasting, advertising, film production and others
  • Healthcare License: Designed for healthcare professionals and companies providing medical services.
  • Education License: For businesses offering educational and training services.
  • Technology License: Organizations involved in research, development, and innovation in the field of technology
  • Hospitality License: This license is for businesses operating in the hospitality sector

Considerations for Choosing a Trade License

Some of the considerations should be taken into account when choosing a trade license:

  • Cost of trade License is necessary to explore before starting out
  • Business activities that align with your business
  • Types of trade license that works best for your business
  • Legal considerations are essential to discover
  • Ownership structure is important to identify
  • Selecting the right jurisdiction is equally important i;e freezone or mainland

Resources and Support for Obtaining Your Trade License


To get support in obtaining a UAE General trade license in Dubai, get connected with the following authorities

  1. Department of Economic Development (DED):

The Department of Economic Development is the primary authority. It is responsible for issuing trade licenses for mainland companies in Dubai. To know the comprehensive information on business registration procedures, license types, fees, and regulations, check their website.

  1. Dubai Free Zones Council:

They oversee the operation and regulation of free zones in Dubai. To get valuable information on free zone jurisdictions, business setup procedures, license types, and benefits, open and check their website

  1. Government of Dubai Service Portal:

The Government of Dubai Service Portal has a wide range of government services and information updated. It includes:

  • Business registration
  • Trade licensing
  • Permits, and
  • Approvals.

Commercial License in Dubai, UAE

To carry out business activities involving trading such as buying and selling of goods is called UAE commercial license. This type of license is required for businesses such as supermarkets, retail stores, and wholesale traders.

Here’s the list of required documents that you need to obtain a commercial license:

  • Agreement of Tenancy
  • Passport duplicates of proprietors and managers
  • Visa duplicates of managers and proprietors
  • Preliminary endorsement from the DED, commonly known as Department of Economic Development
  • No Objection Certificate or commonly called as NOC issued by the Dubai Municipality.

Professional License in Dubai, UAE

A UAE professional license is required to set up new businesses in Dubai. It is required for businesses such as legal, consultancy, or medical service.

Below are the required documents that you need to obtain a professional trade license:

  • Educational qualifications (Degree/diploma)
  • Tenancy contract
  • Passport copies of owners and managers
  • Visa copies of managers or owners
  • Approval from the DED
  • NOC from the Dubai Municipality

Industrial License in Dubai, UAE

This type of trade license required for businesses that operate in the manufacturing or production sector is termed as UAE industrial license. The businesses which need to obtain industrial license are factories and manufacturing plants.

To start operating your business in Dubai with professional trade license, these are the required documents:

  • Machinery and equipment details used in the manufacturing process
  • Tenancy contract
  • Passport of owners and managers
  • Visa copies of managers and owners
  • Department of Economic Development (DED) approval
  • No objection certificate (NOC) from the Dubai Municipality

These are the different types of trade license in dubai that is a must requirement to meet before starting out business operations

Unveiling the Tourism License

To start operating business in the tourism sector, a tourism license is required. It includes travel agencies or tour operators. The three types of tourism licenses are:

  • Inbound Tourism License: This type of license are required for businesses who are involved in arranging events and transportation services within the city
  • Outbound Tourism License: With outbound tourism license, businesses can sell tourism packages to foreigners outside the UAE
  • Travel Agency License: Desire to open a travel agency? Get started with a travel agency license. It allow to operate a travel agency with selling tickets, book hotels, make reservations etc

Exploring Free Zone Trade Licenses

Catering to different business activities, Free zones in Dubai offer various types of trade licenses. Here are some common types of free zone trade licenses available in Dubai:

  1. Trading License: The trading license is suitable for businesses that are involved in buying and selling of goods both within the free zone or outside the UAE.
  2. Service License: This type of licenses are obtained by companies offering services like IT services, consulting, marketing, advertising, and others
  3. Industrial License: The companies engaged in manufacturing, processing, assembling, and packaging activities are required to have an industrial license.
  4. General Trading License: The trading license allows businesses to trade in a wide range of products including:
  • Commodities
  • Electronics,
  • Textiles
  • Machinery, and more.

Location Matters: Mainland vs. Free Zone Operations

It depends on several factors whether to choose mainland or free zone for business operation. Mainland operations may be more suitable if the business wants to get access to the local UAE market, bid for government contracts, and have flexibility in business activities. On the other hand, for businesses seeking tax incentives, full foreign ownership, ease of setup, and specialized infrastructure, then free zone operations could be the better option. It is advisable to evaluate carefully your business requirements and consult with legal and business advisors to make an informed decision. Stuck in choosing the best location? Get help with Connect Free Zone!

Choosing the Right Business Model

Selecting the right business model involves various factors such as to understand the Business Landscape. It means to select the best business structures in the UAE which depend on its strengths and prospects. The second most important factor is to Assess Ownership Options. The third factor to select the right business model is to assess the Liability and Risk involved in carrying out business activities in the respective model. Tax Implications is another factor to be considered while choosing. At last, flexibility and Future Growth of your business respectively

Partnering with Experts: Streamlining the Application Process

On deciding the appropriate trade license type and jurisdiction, the businesses need to prepare and submit the required documents and application forms to the Department of Economic Development for mainland companies. For operating in a free zone it is necessary to submit documents to the respective free zone authority for free zone companies.

For a hassle free process, seek advice from legal advisors, government authorities, business consultant in UAE that are specialized in business setup in Dubai mainland. Based on your specific business needs, they can provide valuable insights and guidance

How much does a commercial license cost in Dubai?

To obtain a commercial license in Dubai costs ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 28,500. On the other hand, there are some additional costs also involved such as visa fees, registrations, leasing premises, and other associated costs. After adding the additional cost it amounts to AED 30,000 or maybe higher.

How much does a Professional license cost in Dubai?

The cost of a professional License In Dubai is around AED 15,310 to AED 28,500. It includes the:

  • Trade name fees
  • Professional license fees
  • Service agent fees
  • Administrative service fees,
  • Market fees (it depends on the tenancy amount)
  • Government cultural fees
  • Local fees, etc.

How much does a Industrial license cost in Dubai?

For industrial related business activities such as manufacturing and production, it is essential to obtain an industrial license. The cost of acquiring an Industrial License in Dubai, UAE is around AED 25,000.


In the concluding part, it is mandatory to obtain a trade license in Dubai for businesses operating in Dubai. Depending on the type of businesses, entrepreneurs need to have a specific trade license such as commercial trade license for carrying out commercial activities, for professional activities such as legal, consultancy and medical related services professional trade license is required. These are the types of trade license in Dubai. However, for manufacturing and industrial activities, an industrial trade license is essential to obtain. Note that every category has some specific demands and limitations. To obtain a trade license, businesses are required to follow a set of procedures necessary for approvals and NOCs from the relevant authorities. At Connect Free Zone, we offer a range of business setup services to aspiring entrepreneurs who are eagerly looking to set up their business in Dubai, assuring them the process is hassle-free and cost-effective!

Kane Bernard

Avatar photoKane BernardHe is a dynamic Enterprise Development Manager with a proven track record in driving business growth and innovation. With a strategic mindset and a passion for fostering enterprise success, he excels in identifying new market opportunities, developing strategic partnerships, and enhancing operational efficiencies. His expertise includes market analysis, business planning, and project management, enabling her to guide enterprises through complex development stages.

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