Launching a new business can be challenging and exciting at the same time, especially as a foreign entrepreneur about to start a new journey in the UAE. A Business license is compulsory and vital for any kind of company formation or business setup. A TRADE LICENSE authorizes your business and company as a legitimate entity to do your business ventures. It also defends your public well-being and safety.

As you may already know obtaining a trade license is not at all difficult with the help of a team of professional business consultants to help you get the job done. The availability of numerous types of licenses in the UAE can help you make a smart decision.


The trade license, also known as a commercial license certifies a company’s legal status, and obtaining one is important if you wish to operate legally in the UAE. Before applying for a trade license, you must first determine the type of business activity you would wish to undertake. The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the governing authority that supports the growth of new businesses and issues trade licenses for various business activities.  


With a booming economy, UAE deals with all types of business activities and free zones. Choosing the right kind of business activity can be overwhelming so it is advised to set up your business with the help of a business consultant. Some of the main types of business licenses available are-


This license is issued to businesses that are involved in the purchase and sale of goods. It is important to choose a specific commercial license with respect to Mainland, Free zone, or Offshore. You can perform a number of activities under the same license and one can obtain residence visas for employees and company management. Some Commercial trade licenses available are-Oil and Gas trading, gold and precious metals trading, trading in chemicals, trading in automobiles, publications and media materials trading, used furniture trading, spare parts trading and safety equipment trading, and more.


This license is given to individuals with academic achievements, intellectual abilities, and proficient skills. If the owner is more than one person, then it will be registered as a Civil Works Company. IT service suppliers, auditors, lawyers, craftsmen, etc can apply for this license. Some of the activities that come under this include-Consultancy and services, tax consultancy, computer consultancies, insurance consultancies, IT infrastructure consultancy, marketing consultancies, management consultancies, and more.


This license includes the business activities that are involved in the manufacturing of materials and products in industries. They must have a physical office to operate and some of the activities that fall under this category are-Carpet manufacturing, garments manufacturing, meat products manufacturing, dairy products manufacturing, wood products, furniture manufacturing, and more.


In UAE, freelancing has gained momentum and these permits are available to those individuals in media, art, communication, actor, content provider, media specialist, and copywriters, and so on. You can obtain such a permit from the free zones in Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, and Fujairah.


This is issued to businesses that provide services related to travel and tourism such as travel agents, inbound and outbound tour operators, hotel renting, restaurants, etc.


The type of license that is right for your business will depend on the nature of your business and its activities, your jurisdiction, your business relationship, and so on. If you offer professional services, then apply for a professional license. Similarly, if you deal with trading, then a commercial license is best and if you are a manufacturer, an industrial license will be best suited.

Whichever license is chosen, the application process is easy, quick, and straightforward.


UAE is a very popular destination for investors and foreign expats to start their business ventures.

To open a business, one must first select the business activity of your venture, select the jurisdiction-Mainland, free zone, or offshore. Choose the legal structure for your company whether Limited Liability company (LLC), Sole establishment, civil company, and so on. Next, you must get approval from the DED for your trade name and business activity. During this stage, you must also obtain any other necessary external approvals that may be needed. Find a trustworthy local sponsor if required. Draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and rent office space as well. Once you submit all the necessary documentation work to the DED, wait for the approval and pay the licensing fees to obtain your trade license.

Also note, a trade license must be renewed every year with all the necessary authorized documents necessary for renewal.

Do not worry as we at PRO DESK can handle it all – leaving you free to concentrate on your business. BOOK your consultation with our experts today!