A trade license (also referred to as a business license) is the most important document you need to obtain to be legally entitled to set up a business in Dubai or any other emirate. Basically, it is a document that specifies the activities you are legally authorized to undertake. A trade license in Dubai is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) if you are considering a mainland setup. In the case of a free zone, the license is issued by the free zone authority itself. It must be noted that offshore company setup involves the issuance of documents such as Certificate of Incorporation and Registers of Members and Officers.

Types of Dubai Trade Licenses

A trade license in Dubai is issued based on the business activities you undertake. Notably, some free zones allow a combination of different types of activities on one license. Below we have mentioned the most common types of Dubai business licenses:

1. General Trading License

A general trading license in Dubai is issued to businesses conducting activities such as import, export, and re-export of goods. Examples of businesses requiring a general trading business license in Dubai include supermarkets, retail stores, wholesalers, etc.

2. Professional License

A professional license is opted by individuals who offer specialized services in various fields such as law, medicine, engineering, etc. Examples of businesses requiring a professional trade license in Dubai include consultancies, accountancy firms, printing presses, etc.

3. Industrial License

An industrial license is opted by businesses that undertake activities such as manufacturing, packaging, assembling, etc. Examples include equipment manufacturing and petroleum product manufacturing.

4. Freelance License

This type of Dubai business license is issued to freelancers, meaning individuals who are identified as sole practitioners. For example, graphic designers, fitness trainers, and nutritionists who freelance can opt for this type of trade license in Dubai.

5. E-commerce License

Also, known as an e-trader license in Dubai, an e-commerce license is required for the online selling of goods. These can be sold by individuals via their own websites, social media pages, or online marketplaces such as Amazon. With the growing popularity of e-commerce, the demand for online business licenses in Dubai is constantly on the rise.

Trade License Renewal in Dubai

As per the UAE’s regulations, you are required to renew your Dubai trade license periodically. The renewal process for your business license in Dubai is usually pretty straightforward and requires you to produce certain documents and pay a fee. The period for the renewal of your trade license in Dubai depends on the validity of the permit you opted for. For instance, if you obtain a 3-year permit, you are not required to renew it during the first three (3) years.

Renewing your Dubai trade license is mandatory, and not adhering to this regulation can have severe consequences such as fines, blacklisting, and restrictions on expanding the business.