Supermarket License Dubai, UAE: Rules and Costs


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So important are they to our daily lives that we often take the supermarket for granted. As the backbone of our retail sector, they present a fantastic business opportunity to those with the skills and ambition to make it work.

Supermarkets are almost always in demand. They are among the few businesses that thrive even in economic downturns and disruption, as evidenced during the pandemic.

And while running a supermarket can be complex, obtaining a license to do so is anything but. With the right assistance, you could be ready to go in a matter of days.

What are the benefits of starting a supermarket in Dubai?

There are many great reasons to start a supermarket business in Dubai. For one, supermarkets are always in demand. People have to eat, and as the local supermarket, you’ll be on hand to meet this most basic of needs.

Secondly, it’s a simple business to set up. All you’ll need is suitable premises, a commercial license, and a supplier network. The latter will usually come easily. Businesses are incredibly keen to sell their products in supermarkets and will approach you to stock their goods in most cases.

Finally, getting licensed to trade is easy. When you work with a company formation expert such as Set Hub, we’ll take care of everything, from trade name registration to licensing, visas, and bank account opening.

How to open a supermarket in Dubai

The first step to starting any business in Dubai is to engage the services of a local company expert so you can be sure that all your documents are accurate and in order.

When you work with Set Hub, we’ll start by helping you to 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.

At this stage, you’ll also need to outline your business activities. You must list the types of goods that you wish to sell in your supermarket. For example, if you are licensed to sell groceries, you cannot also sell cosmetics unless this is specifically listed on your license.

With these early steps out of the way, you are ready to apply for your commercial license. 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’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.


You’ll need a bank account to trade out here too. 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 to start a supermarket in Dubai

As well as your completed application form, you’ll need to submit:

  • Articles of incorporation (if necessary).
  • Passport copies for all shareholders.
  • Brief description of intended business activities.
  • Ejari registered tenancy contract.

What is the cost of starting a supermarket in Dubai?

There are many costs involved in opening a supermarket in Dubai, so it isn’t easy to estimate a grand total.

When it comes to obtaining your license, you should expect to pay in the region of AED 10,000 to AED 40,000, depending on the exact size and nature of your business.

On top of this, you will, of course, need to account for the cost of premises, equipment, marketing, and staffing, etc.

For a full breakdown of all costs involved in opening a supermarket in Dubai, get in touch with Set Hub.

Are you ready to start a supermarket in Dubai?

Hopefully, this guide has made clear that if you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a supermarket 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 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 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.