Dubai is a city that has far more than just tall skyscrapers and modern charm. It’s not just a tourist hotspot but also a thriving place for businesses, especially for entrepreneurs who are seeking to explore the trading sector and import-export opportunities. But for doing so they need to find a gateway through a general trading license.

In this article, you will learn what a general trading license is, how to get a general trading license, the cost of obtaining it, requirements, and much more.

What is a General Trading License:

A general trading license is a permit that covers a whole range of activities such as import-export business in Dubai, distributing, and storing different kinds of goods. Businesses operating under this license category have the freedom to deal in a variety of goods such as electronics, apparel, furniture, and industrial equipment. But you must note that there are some restrictions on the trading of things like weapons, cars, alcohol, and medical supplies.

How to obtain a General Trading License in Dubai

Choose Your Jurisdiction

First, you must decide on whether you wish to set up your business in Dubai mainland or the Dubai free zone. Both of these options have their own advantages. However while selecting the jurisdiction for your business you must pay close attention to factors like business activities, ownership preferences, and tax considerations.

You may also like: Business Set up in Meydan Free Zone

Select a Suitable Trade Name and Legal Structure:

While creating your business identity, you must choose a trade name that is in line with your vision and is complying with the guidelines. At the same time decide on a legal structure that defines your business’s legal standing.

Navigate the Approval Process

Then, you must fill out the initial approval form and submit it to the relevant authorities. Additional steps may be necessary based on your business activities.

Choose an Ideal Business Location:

For a trading company, you must choose a strategic location. Get the tenancy contract to finalize your warehouse space, as your business location significantly impacts your operational efficiency.

Secure the License:

Submit all the required documents that you have prepared, including a signed general trading license application, a business plan, initial approvals, and proof of office space. Pay the necessary fees marking the final steps toward obtaining your general trading license.

Activities under General Trading Licensed Companies:

  1. Dealing with retail stores
  2. Online selling
  3. Trading in multiple products
  4. Medical supplies, if approved by the Dubai Health Authority

General Trading License Cost:

It is slightly more expensive than other licenses, but a general trading license also comes with benefits like allowing trade for a variety of places and sectors.

The total cost is influenced by factors like business location, warehouse size, office space, additional approvals, and visa applications. Careful consideration of these factors ensures accurate budgeting for license acquisition.

For more details on the cost of getting a general trading license in Dubai, you can get in touch with our business set-up consultants


In conclusion, a general trading license in Dubai serves as a key to unlocking a world of business opportunities. The process of obtaining the license is structured and straightforward, offering entrepreneurs the flexibility to explore diverse market segments. With the right strategy and understanding of the associated costs, businesses can position themselves for success in Dubai’s dynamic trading landscape. Seize the opportunity, navigate the process, and embark on a journey of business growth and expansion in this global business destination.