General Trading License Dubai

How to Get A General Trading License in Dubai as an Expat

Running a business in Dubai, UAE, as an entrepreneur requires obtaining a general trading license that allows business startups to run all of their trading activities under one license. This license is beneficial for entrepreneurs who would like to engage in trades and distribute commodities. Under this trade license, entrepreneurs will supply various industries and support businesses by distributing necessary goods across the city. The commodities are not required to be related to a specific industry or belong to a certain category. Exporting, importing, or trading of all kinds of goods are allowed under the Department of Economic Development (DED) Dubai permission, except pharmaceutical products, frozen foods, and weapons, and in general, goods required to comply with health and safety standards. 

 

 

How to apply for a general trading license in Dubai

There are five steps to take to apply for a general trading license in Dubai. As an expat, you can directly go to any Dubai DED service centers and do it on your own without any hassle. They will give you the steps that you can follow easily. 

  1. Identifying the business location: The mainland general trading license in Dubai allows entrepreneurs to conduct trading all across the UAE. Thus, it is recommended for businesses with the aim of trading goods. With a Free Zone license, there would be limitations in this regard.
  2. Identifying business activities: Up to 10 activities are allowed under the mainland general trading license in Dubai and are related to your main business activity. 
  3. Selecting a company name: There are some regulations on selecting a company’s name, making sure that the name you have selected complies with these rules and is approved by the relevant authorities. Trading name would be subject for approval. Once approved, next step is to apply for General Trading license. 
  4. Identifying the office and warehouse places: Identifying a physical space and warehousing is necessary for running a business in Mainland Dubai for trading goods. In this regard also, there are advantages in warehousing accompanied by mainland general trading license compared to the Free Zone license. There are no limitations in renting a warehouse under the mainland general trading license, which is not the case with the Free Zone trading license. 
  5. Obtaining custom clearance: This step is essential for importing goods to the UAE. The steps to take for this operation are:
    • Registering with any customs authority convenient for you in the emirates,
    • Obtaining an import code from the customs authority,
    • Paying the applicable amount for importing goods.

 

The general trading license costs under the Dubai DED depend on where the entrepreneurs would like to set up their business, and it typically ranges between AED 15,000 to 40,000. It is also important to note that as a foreign investor or entrepreneur, you would be required to obtain a Local Sponsor to get a license. There are a lot of Local Sponsorship services online you can choose from. Costs for Local Sponsorship would normally cost from AED 3,000 up to 20,000. The Local Sponsor, a UAE national, would have a 51% share of your company but would not control your business. 

Some of the main benefits of obtaining the general trading license in Dubai

There are multiple benefits to obtaining a general trading license in Dubai compared to Free Zones, as we mentioned above as well, and below are some of these advantages that stand out:

  • This license allows entrepreneurs to trade within the UAE easily and internationally,
  • As a plus, this license also allows the main applicant to obtain visas for multiple employees.
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