What Is A General Trading License In Dubai, UAE?

The general trading license in Dubai is for businesses that are looking to perform activities such as trading, exporting, and importing commodities. Businesses that trade in electronics, food, automobile, furniture, consumer goods, etc. need to get this license. It allows companies to trade goods locally as well as beyond the borders of the UAE.

The general trading license allows the purchase, sale, export, and import of mixed goods. This means that this license allows you to trade toys and electronics at the same time. It stands true for any number of goods you might want to trade inside and outside the UAE. However, the trade of goods like Alcohol, Chemicals, Medicine, etc. are not covered by the general trading license. You need special government approvals for those goods.

General Trading License Cost in Dubai

The general trading license in Dubai is a must-have for businesses looking to trade commodities or services. The cost of the license differs depending on a variety of factors. The two most significant ones are, first, the location in Dubai where you are starting your business, second, who is getting the license for you.

The cheapest way to obtain a general trading license in Dubai is to get it yourself. However, without previous experience in Dubai, this will be a daunting task. You will have to deal with the authorities and complete all the steps in the process by yourself. If you are a foreigner who is new in Dubai, you probably do not know the language and customs here. In that case, it is advised that you get a consultation from experts who have years of experience dealing with issues related to the general trading license in Dubai.

The cost of obtaining a general trading license in Dubai will range anywhere from AED 10,000 to AED 40,000. It is not assured that it will cost you the least if you try to obtain the license by yourself. This is because you may make a mistake in any of the steps of the process and end up having to pay even more. That is why, if you are new, you will be better off paying extra for the assistance. The best business consultants will obtain the general trading license in Dubai for you, while you can sit back and relax.

If you want to take on the challenge and obtain the general trading license by yourself, here is how you can do it.

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Types of Trade License UAE

Here are the four types of trade license issued by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai:

  1. Commercial Trade License
  2. Industrial Trade License
  3. Professional Trade License
  4. Tourism Trade License

These are the prevalent trade licenses in Dubai. In other places in the UAE, you may come across two more trade licenses recently introduced by the government. These are the new licenses:

  1. Agriculture Trade License
  2. Craftsmanship Trade License

If you are looking to start a company in the mainland, you must select from one of these trading  licenses in Dubai. Even if a specific type of trade license allows a wide range of business activities, you can only perform the ones you selected when registering for the license. So, take your time and establish the business activities you mean to pursue first.

There are several free zones in the UAE that allow only a selected few business activities to be performed inside their jurisdiction. Those free zones offer one or two choices of trade licenses at max.

Instant Trade License Dubai

Process of Obtaining the General Trading License in Dubai

The General Trading License in Dubai is provided by the Department of Economic Development. They are responsible for handling everything related to the registration of new businesses in Dubai. The main step in the process of starting a new business in Dubai is to obtain a trade license from the Department of Economic Development. Because of obtaining one of these licenses, you need to get all the approvals, acquire office spaces, submit all your documents, etc. It is also considered the final step, as you can start performing your business activities once you have obtained the trade license.

Here are the steps that you need to complete to obtain the general trading license in Dubai:

Choose the Legal Structure of your Business

Since the general trading license is for trading activities, your business activities are predetermined. So, your first step will be to determine the legal structure of your business. There are quite a few good ones like a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, general partnership, public shareholding company, etc. You should choose the legal structure carefully since it will determine the laws that affect your business in the future.

Get the Initial Approval

Then the second step is to get the initial approval from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai. For this step, you will need to collect a form from them and fill it up. You will have to include all the basic information along with your business plan.

Register the Trade Name of your Business

Once you have your initial approval, you can move on to registering the trade name of your business. It is good to have a couple of names in mind because the name you opt for must be unique inside the UAE.

Acquire an Office Space for your Business

The next step is to acquire office space for your business. It is a mandatory requirement because you will have to present the tenancy contract and EJARI to the Department of Economic Development in Dubai. If you do not require a physical space, you can opt for a virtual office.

Get the External Approvals

The external approvals you will require will depend on the business activities you mean to perform. If you have rented a physical place, then you will have to get it checked by the Planning Section of the Dubai Municipality. The external approvals you will need will be mentioned by the Department of Economic Development during the initial approval phase.

Submit the Required Documentation and Pay the Fees

After everything is said and done, you will have to submit the required documents to the Department of Economic Development and pay the required fees for the General Trading License in Dubai. The documents that you will be required to procure are mentioned below.

Renewal Process of Trade License
Guide to Renew Your Business License in Dubai


Have a valid tenancy contract.

Your business must have at least one month of validity left in the tenancy contract for renewal eligibility.


Apply for renewal of your trade license.

If you are eligible for the renewal, you can go ahead and apply for the license renewal. The Department of Economic Development in Dubai will provide an application form that needs to be filled.


Submit the required documents.

The Department of Economic Development requires a few documents to verify the application eligibility. These documents include the tenancy contract, the EJARI, the completed Renewal application form, and photographs of all the partners of the business.


Get the transaction number.

The Department of Economic Development will provide a payment voucher that you need to complete the payment for the license renewal.

Remember that if you select our services, the Company Setup professionals will take care of these business trade license registration and renewal processes for you.

Want to Know More About License

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Requirements To Get License

Prior to operating any business in Dubai, it is first necessary to follow the steps outlined below.
  • Make a decision as to your business’ appropriate legal status in UAE
  • Select an appropriate trading name for the business.
  • Submit an application to the Department for initial approval
  • Register a trade name after receiving initial approval(If you don’t have previously reserved a trade name)
  • Lease business premises and obtain approval from the Authority.
  • Submit a further application to the Department to obtain the final license.
  • Pay the required fees.

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License Entities in UAE

Mainland License

  • Commercial License
  • Professional License
  • Industrial License
  • Tourism License

Freezone License

  • Commercial License
  • Professional License
  • Industrial License
  • Tourism License

Offshore License

  • Offshore License