How to get your UAE trade license in 2022


Connect with our team to start your business !

One of the first steps to take when launching your business in the UAE is to apply for your business license. There are a number of license types available to choose from.

While applying for a license is not without its complexities, choosing the right license type for your business is relatively straightforward. If you offer professional services, for example, 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 if required.

The type of license that’s right for you will depend on the nature of your business and its activities. Whichever license you choose, the application process is often quick and straightforward, providing you are familiar with the criteria for starting a business in the Emirates.

UAE trade license categories

As mentioned above, there are three common trade license types available in the UAE. These are the professional services license, the industrial license and the commercial license.

Again, to clarify, professional services licenses are suited to those offering services such as marketing or consultancy, commercial licenses are for trading or import/export companies, while industrial licenses are the best fit for those in the manufacturing industry.

To ascertain which license is right for you, you must first outline your business activities – these will need to be stipulated on your license application. Your business activity must match one on a pre-published list. There are over 2,000 to choose from, covering everything from food manufacturing to business consultancy.


Why do business in the UAE?

Aside from a simple business formation process, there are a number of other great reasons to start your business in the UAE.

The Emirates benefits from a strategic location at the heart of the Middle East, perfectly placed to conduct business with every corner of the globe. This position, along with the country’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, make it one of the most prestigious business hubs in the world.

As well as a thriving business landscape and a hugely encouraging environment for entrepreneurs, the UAE is also home to an incredibly attractive tax regime – which remains at zero percent on both personal and corporate income.

There are even further benefits to companies that choose to set up in free zones, such as Fujairah Creative City. Establish your business here and as well as no tax on income, you can also take advantage of 100 percent 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.

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

How to apply for a UAE trade license?

Before making your trade license application, you must first outline your business activity, or activities. Depending on the license you choose, it is often possible to list more than one on your application.

To ensure you list every activity that you intend to carry out, it’s a good idea to work with a business formation company at this stage. Such experts are familiar with permitted activities and will be able to suggest those that align best with your business.

The next step is to choose a company name. This is not an easy task wherever in the world you choose to do business. However, here in the Emirates, there are a few extra considerations to keep in mind. The UAE has a set of strict, yet easy to follow, naming conventions. Once again, a company setup expert can help you make sure you adhere to them.

With your company name decided upon and your activities chosen, you can now apply for your trade license. This application can be made either directly to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or municipality of the emirate that you are setting up in, or the managing authority of your chosen free zone. In either case, a company formation expert can help you with this step, even going so far as to manage the entire application process on your behalf.

Whether making your application yourself, or through a company formation agent, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:


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


Understanding UAE trade license fees

The specific fees you’ll be required to pay to obtain your UAE trade license will depend on the nature and size of your business and where you choose to set up.

Having said that, UAE trade license costs are comparable regardless of whether you choose to set up in a free zone or in the UAE mainland. For example, setting up as a single shareholder in Fujairah Creative City costs in the region of AED 13,500. This will increase up to around AED 16,500 for multiple shareholders and up to around AED 19,000 to include eligibility for up to two UAE trade license visas. This is within the range you can expect to pay when setting up in the UAE mainland.


There are no additional UAE trade license costs to consider unless you wish you take on mainland premises or apply for additional UAE trade license visas.

Business set up made simple

While the process of applying for a UAE trade license is not overly complex, 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 trade license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

We are Set Hub, the official Dubai representative office of Fujairah Creative City Free Zone. If you are looking to open your company in Dubai, get a free zone license, 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.