General Trading License in UAE [2022 Guide]


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One of the first tasks on the entrepreneur’s checklist when starting a business in the UAE concerns licensing. Specifically, gaining a clear understanding of the different types of business licenses that are on offer. This does not have to be a complex process, and in fact can be made simple with the help of a company formation specialist who can handle your application for you. In any case, many of the licenses offered in Dubai and the UAE are fairly self-explanatory.

For example, if you offer professional services, you should apply for a professional services license, if you are a manufacturer then you’ll be best suited to an industrial license and if your business trades goods then a commercial license is required.

Within these broad categories are a range of specific license types. Businesses trading a number of goods would be suited to a type of commercial license known as a general trading license. The main benefit of a general trading license is that you are able to trade any number of unrelated goods – from food and clothes to toys and electronic parts – under a single license. A further benefit is that applying for a general trading license in the UAE is incredibly straightforward.

If you are looking to get your company license in Dubai  or the cheapest trade license in the UAE. Then our team can help.

How to Get a General Trade License

When applying for a business license, the first step is usually to pick your business activity. As it is possible to list multiple activities under one general trading license.

Having specified your business activities, the next step is to pick a company name. This is a tough task anywhere in the world, but here in the UAE, there are a few extra considerations to allow for. The UAE has strict naming conventions for businesses, however, these are mostly common sense and easy to adhere to.

Your company name should not include any offensive or blasphemous language or make reference to known organisations and corporations, for example. You must also check that your chosen business name is available to be registered. A company formation expert can do this for you.

With your name chosen, it is time to apply for your license. A company formation expert can help you with this step, managing the entire application process on your behalf.

The exact documents required to start a general trading company In Dubai will depend on your business activity and where you choose to set up. In most cases, however, you will be asked to provide:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos with white background

Why Apply for a General Trading License in the UAE?

There are many reasons to start a business with a general trading license in UAE. The Emirates is one of the world’s foremost business hubs, strategically placed to do business with every corner of the world.

As well as a welcoming and encouraging business environment, UAE companies also benefit from one of the world’s most attractive tax regimes with a 0% rate on both personal and corporate income.

Set up in one of the country’s free zones and you’ll also benefit from 100% exemption from customs tax. What’s more, unlike in many other countries, UAE free zone business owners also have full freedom to repatriate all invested capital and profits. There are also no foreign exchange controls or currency restrictions.

General Trading License Activities

A major benefit of the UAE general trading license is that it allows you to trade in almost anything, outside of a few restricted industries such as oil or tobacco. Almost any other goods you can think of can be traded under a general license, however. What’s more, the goods need not be related. You can trade sweets and car parts, jewelry and shoes, pet supplies and toys, or almost any other combination you can think of.

Plenty of scope

Setting up in the UAE with a general trading license affords you plenty of scope to grow and diversify your business. You can start your company with just one shareholder and add more over time or establish with multiple shareholders right from the off.

There is also no restriction on the number of staff members you can employ. Similarly, the larger your premises, the more employee visa applications you can sponsor. It’s easy to sponsor your dependants for their UAE visas too. Whether you wish to bring your family – including children, spouses, and dependant parents – to the UAE, or you need to hire domestic staff such as a housekeeper, the process is simple.

The Cheapest General trading license in the UAE

The cheapest general trading license in the UAE is issued by SPC Free Zone. You can expect to pay around AED 6500 to secure your trade license.

Ensuring a smooth process

As you can see, the process for applying for a general trading license is not overly complicated.

It is important to note, however, that the process is only straightforward if your general trading license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

If you are looking for business setup in Dubai or start a small business in Dubai, then we can help. From visa applications (including UAE investor visas) to all the necessary admin tasks, we handle it all – leaving you free to get on with your business.