Foodstuff Trading License in Dubai, UAE


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Food glorious food. Not only is it delicious. It’s also big business. Revenues in the global food market reached over USD 8 trillion this year, with expected growth of 3.14% between now and 2025.

The UAE is home to one of the biggest markets in the Middle East, with strong links with one of the largest markets in the world, the US.

Perhaps this healthy market should not come as a surprise. People need to eat after all. And that’s one of the major reasons why foodstuffs trading remains buoyant even during economic downturns.

And when you set up in Dubai, there are many more great benefits to working in this thriving market. So, if you’re looking to start trading in foodstuffs in Dubai, UAE, here’s everything you need to know.

What are the benefits of starting a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, UAE?

There are many great benefits to trading foodstuffs in this part of the world. For one, the UAE has an incredible strategic location, in between some of the world’s biggest food markets, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The UAE’s incredible infrastructure links also make it a prime location for global trade. Home to some of the world’s busiest seaport and airports, Dubai, in particular, is ideal for import and export businesses.

Then there’s Dubai’s incredibly straightforward company formation procedure. Work with Set Hub, and we can take care of every step of the process on your behalf – from trade name registration to visas.

Steps to get a foodstuff trading license in Dubai, UAE

The first step is an easy one – tell Set Hub a little about your business. We can then advise on the license and setup type that’s right for you and guide you through the licensing process.

First, we’ll help you choose your company name. When making this decision, be aware that you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

You should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting.

We will also check that your chosen name is available and register it for you.

Next, we’ll work with you to clearly outline your business activities at this stage. There are many permitted activities under the foodstuff license (see below). You’ll need to list any that you intend to carry out.

With these decisions made, we can manage the license application process for you. When setting up in the mainland, this license is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) or equivalent Municipality if you wish to set up in another emirate. You will also need to seek additional approval from the Food Control Section in Dubai Municipality. Again, we can assist you with this process.

You’ll also need a visa to work in the UAE. And you can sponsor visas for company employees, family, and domestic staff such as housekeepers or drivers.

The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.

In all cases, the visa application process follows the same five steps:

  • Apply for an entry permit.
  • Status adjustment.
  • Medical and fitness test.
  • Emirates ID registration.
  • Visa stamping.


Finally, you will need a corporate bank account to trade foodstuffs in Dubai. There are various local and international banks to choose from. However, opening an account can be a complicated process for overseas entrepreneurs.

Before making your application, you should first familiarise yourself with several financial institutions to find one that is best suited to your business needs and most likely to offer you corporate banking services. Again, Set Hub can help you with this process.

Documents required for a foodstuff trading license in Dubai

You will need to provide the DED and Dubai Municipality with several documents when applying for a foodstuff trading license. These include:

  • Memorandum of Association.
  • Passport copies for all shareholders.
  • Brief description of intended business activities.
  • Ejari registered tenancy contract (must also be submitted to the Food Control Section).


Activities under foodstuff trading license in Dubai, UAE

As well as general foodstuffs, your license will permit you to trade other goods and commodities, provided you list them on your application. These include:

  • Flour
  • Ice
  • Juice
  • Mineral water
  • Oil and Ghee
  • Soft drinks
  • Spices


Are you ready to start your foodstuffs trading business in Dubai?

Hopefully, this guide has made clear that if you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, UAE, doesn’t have to be overly complex.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application, Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications that are required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.