How Do I Obtain a General Trading License in Dubai?

Many entrepreneurs choose to set up a business in Dubai because of the city’s welcoming business climate and strong government support. Because of its proximity to expanding markets, low business costs, and high consumer demand, the Emirate has become a popular spot for entrepreneurs to set up a business.

The general trading license is one of the most popular and widely-issued types of business license in Dubai and the rest of the UAE. This is because Dubai firmly establishes itself as one of the world’s preeminent hubs of commerce. Because of its advantageous position, it has attracted the attention of many entrepreneurs worldwide, especially those involved in commodity trading.

Except for pharmaceuticals and weapons, which are subject to strict controls and health and safety rules, any product can be exported, imported, or traded by a company with a general trading license in Dubai. With a general trading license, a new company in Dubai can operate its whole trading operation with a single license.

Due to its high demand for goods, ease of conducting business, and proximity to growing economies, Dubai is a popular location for starting a new business. Your startup might become a massive player in the supply industry, supplying goods to businesses nationwide.

What is General Trading License? 

The term “General Trading” refers to conducting trade in various markets and sectors. Products like clothing, accessories, furniture, electronics, etc., fall under the purview of a general trading license in Dubai. Those seeking to engage in wholesale trade are also encouraged to acquire a general trade license.

It should be noted that special permission from the relevant government is required to trade restricted products like alcoholic drinks, pharmaceutical products, frozen goods, and so on.

A trader can explore all trading opportunities due to the vast potential available on local, national, and international marketplaces. A broad trading firm is not limited to any particular commercial activity. Under a single license, it can engage in businesses as diverse as trading in machines and chemicals, real estate, and food.

The Difference between Trade License and General Trading License

The general trading license enables businesses to trade any commodity inside the UAE and abroad, except those goods that are prohibited for the trade without the relevant authorities’ permission. It allows businesses to engage in retail or wholesale trade of any commodities. 

In light of this, the scope of the general trade license includes all products except those specifically exempted. A trading license restricts the holder from dealing exclusively in those commodities authorized by the issuing authority.

Other market-available items cannot be traded unless registered under the license. Thus, a general trade license’s scope is extensive and sufficiently broad in comparison to that of a trade license.

The Procedure for Obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai 

Obtaining a general trading license in Dubai is quick and easy. You are required to adhere to the guidelines that are listed below:

1. Choose a Business Jurisdiction

Investors must first choose whether they will operate on the mainland or in a free zone before applying for a business license. If you have a general trading license for the mainland, you can sell anything in the United Arab Emirates. When engaging in public trade, obtaining a license from a jurisdiction on the mainland is always preferable. There will be restrictions on your mobility if you choose a free zone.

2. Choose Your Trade Name

Determine the best business name and organization structure for your venture. Verify that the trademark is distinctive and meets all requirements set forth by the DED. For things to move forward, the corporate entity is needed.

3. Choose Your Business Activity

Make a list of everything you’ll be doing under your business’s name (a maximum of 10 per license).

4. Prepare the Required Documents

Assemble any documentation that needs to be officially approved by the government authorities:

  • A completed and signed application for a license on behalf of the business.
  •  A Memorandum of Association.
  • Department of Economic Development letter approving the company’s proposed name, duly notarized.
  •   A scanned copy of each managing partner’s passport.

5. Obtain the Necessary Approvals

Before applying to the DED, obtain any necessary external approvals for your company activities.

6. Choose the Location and Pay the Fees

Find a suitable place for your company and have Ejari authenticate your tenancy agreement. Pay the license fee and other related costs to have the license issued.

The corporation must submit authentic documentation to the Commercial Registry at the Trade license and Commercial Registration Department to obtain a legitimate trade license from a free zone or offshore.

Acquiring a DED General Trading License: The Final Steps

All paperwork will be reviewed and approved by the Commercial Registry Authority. Afterward, the business name will be registered with the Commercial Registry. 

The records will be released to the Federal Ministry of Economy by the DED. The government will provide its clearance letter after all of the paperwork, including the MOA and the application entry of the company name, has been published.

The DED issues the initial trade license and commercial registration certificates upon completion of the licensing procedures. The license is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. You’ll need to renew your license if you want to keep doing business in Dubai.

A copy of the previous license must accompany the approval document. The extension will be valid for an additional five years.

Documents Required for General Trading License in Dubai, UAE

The UAE’s regulatory bodies have established documentation standards that all businesses must adhere to. The following documents are examples of those required to apply for a general trading license:

If you want to form a company with individual shareholders, you must provide:

  • Passport copy
  • Passport size photo
  • Residence visa copy
  • Emirates ID copy

To start a trading business with corporate shareholders, you will require the following documents:

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Certificate of incumbency or equivalent
  • Memorandum of association
  • Board resolution

Advantages of Obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai

Obtaining a general trading license in Dubai allows you to open a business with many advantages. Listed here are a few examples:

  • In the United Arab Emirates, starting a trading company is a low-risk venture that can pay off in various ways. Moreover, the tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates continues to expand rapidly, enhancing the earnings of Dubai’s general trading businesses.
  • It is possible to do business locally and abroad with a license obtained on the mainland of Dubai, including the free zones.
  • As your business begins to generate revenue and you begin to consider expansion, the ability to apply for and receive visas for additional employees is an added benefit.
  • E-trading is allowed with a general trading license. As a result, you can promote your company online and generate more income in a digital medium.
  • You have the chance to expand into a wide range of product categories. This allows you to explore potential markets for your company in Dubai.
  • Due to several tax exemptions and incentives, UAE trading enterprises generate substantial revenue. In addition to the 5% VAT, Dubai has no extra taxes or levies to worry about. In addition, all trade companies in Dubai are allowed full repatriation of assets and profits.
  • A bank account is simple to open and supports transactions in multiple currencies.

Permissible Business Activities with a General Trade License

The following are some of the famous Dubai general trading license activities:

  • With a general trade license in the United Arab Emirates, you can sell almost anything, including food, décor, gadgets, accessories, and cosmetic products, thanks to the country’s well-organized trading system and convenient transit alternatives.
  • You can open a grocery store in Dubai that sells an extensive selection of food, trinkets, and other commodities. The investment strategy, emergency reserves, inventories, and so on should all be planned out ahead of time to avoid disruptions.
  • There are several retail enterprises in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Breweries, jewelry shops, general accessory businesses, and more all sell expensive products and services.

Get Your General Trading License with ExpressPRO 

Dubai is one of the top cities in the United Arab Emirates and is poised for continued growth, so getting a general trade license makes sense. However, you must submit a detailed and error-free general trade license application to ensure a smooth process.

One of the most efficient ways to acquire this license is by working with ExpressPRO. Our company formation specialists will handle all paperwork, licensing, banking, and other administrative tasks on your behalf. We will register your business remotely if you provide us with your documents online. Contact us if you need help setting up a company or acquiring a general trading license in the UAE.


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