Online business license Dubai


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The days of dot com are nothing new. But recent years have seen the online marketplace boom like never before. Where once e-commerce was largely reserved for the selling of physical goods, today anything and everything can be purchased in just a few clicks.

So, whether you’re offering services like tutoring, marketing or health and wellness, or all manner of wares from car parts and electronics to trinkets and textiles, there’s never been a better time to start selling online.

And when you set up in the UAE, you’ll find a large and growing market ready and waiting to welcome you. The company formation process out here is just as welcoming too. With the support of a local expert like Set Hub, you could be up and running within days.

What are the benefits of starting an online business in Dubai?

There are enough benefits of starting an online business in Dubai to fill an entire article, so I’ll just focus on the key advantages here. Firstly, there is the country’s incredibly attractive tax rate, which still sits at 0% on both corporate and personal income.

If you launch your online business in a UAE free zone, you can also take advantage of 100% customs tax exemption and zero currency restrictions – ideal for conducting international trade. Free zone companies are also free to repatriate all capital and profit.

Dubai also benefits from a strategic global location at the heart of East and West, making it the perfect spot for import and export companies.

Then there is the emirate’s growing population of internet shoppers. Over 70% of UAE residents say they are spending more online since the start of the pandemic, with groceries, clothing and healthcare top of their virtual shopping lists.

Do I need an online business license to sell online in Dubai?

Yes. All commercial activities are licensed in Dubai, UAE. So, whether you’re running a large multinational, a solo side gig, or even influencing on social media, you will need a license to operate.

To run an online business in Dubai, you’ll need an e-commerce license. This is available via the Department of Economic Development (DED) and in many UAE free zones.

Steps to get your online business license in Dubai

When you partner with Set Hub, we’ll guide you through every step of the Dubai company formation process. We’ll start by helping you decide where to set up.

You can trade from a free zone or the mainland, and there are conditions and advantages to both.

Free zones such as Fujairah Creative City offer benefits such as a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions.

Mainland businesses meanwhile can trade directly with the UAE market and take on government contracts.

With this decision made, we’ll help you choose a company name. As well as choosing a catchy name that suits your business, you’ll also need to abide by the UAE’s company naming conventions.

In short, 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. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

Now, we can manage the online business license application on your behalf.

If you are setting up in the mainland you should make your application to the relevant body such as the DED. If you are setting up in a free zone, then you should apply directly to the managing authority.

At this stage, 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


Finally, you’ll need a visa and a bank account to operate in the UAE. We can assist with both of these applications too.

For your visa, you’ll need to submit biometric scans as well as undergo a medical, blood test and chest x-ray. You can also sponsor others for their visas, be they employees or dependents such as your spouse, parent or child.

What is the cost of an online business license in Dubai?

The total cost of starting an online business will depend on your intended activities, chosen location, company size and more. In many cases, setting up in a UAE free zone is the most cost-effective way to get started.

Free zones such as Fujairah Creative City offer many affordable license packages with no paid-up share capital requirement, no annual audit, and an easy incorporation process. There is also no need to be present in the UAE to establish your new company.

A license package in Fujairah Creative City, for example, inclusive of one visa application and use of the free zone’s co-working facility costs just AED 24,775.

Are you ready to launch your online business in Dubai, UAE?

If you’re armed with the right knowledge, business setup in Dubai 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 ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Set Hub 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 visa 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.