Importing and Exporting Business in Dubai: Everything you need to Know

A significant number of multinational corporations have made Dubai their global headquarters, or have established production facilities or branches in the UAE and Dubai to facilitate international trade. Dubai’s role as an import/export hub has been critical to the growth of its economy on a global scale, given its long-standing, stable economic relations with numerous countries and its commitment to free trade.

The ease with which businesses can establish themselves and begin trading in the UAE has contributed to its position as a primary import and export hub. The United Arab Emirates offers free zones that provide complete exemption from customs duties and import/export taxes. Thus, launching an import/export business in Dubai represents an exceptional commercial opportunity.

While the minimum investment required to start such a venture is subject to the nature of the goods you intend to sell, appropriate guidance can help you get your import/export business up and running in the UAE.

Import-Export Business in Dubai

The city of Dubai has a rich commercial history dating back many decades. Merchants have been flocking to its teeming shops and markets for ages in search of exotic products.

Even now, Dubai serves as a pivotal point for international trade. Because of its advantageous position at the crossroads of East and West, Dubai is in a position that is unmatched by any other city in the world to serve as a facilitator for the import and export that occurs between the two regions.

Entrepreneurs who conduct business in Dubai also benefit from the city’s advanced infrastructure. Because of this, the region is ideal for business in the UAE and beyond. It has never been easier to engage in commercial activities due to the convenience of an advanced airport and seaport capable of handling enormous shipments.

Due to the following reasons, the UAE’s import and export business is thriving:

  • A business can be established with relative ease in the United Arab Emirates.
  • It enjoys a privileged position between the continents of Asia and Europe, as well as Africa
  • The city’s strategic positioning makes international travel a breeze.
  • It has excellent connections to the rest of the world via air and sea.
  • Because of its advantageous time zone, coordination and trade with nations in the East and West are simplified.

Import-Export Business Registration Procedure in Dubai

Any applicant planning on engaging in the import-export business in Dubai must first receive a trade license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Also, the Import-Export Code is required before a trading company in Dubai, UAE can engage in the import-export activity. Businesses that plan to engage in international trade must also obtain Port and Customs Approval.

As a result, a newly formed company must register with the Chamber of Commerce and the relevant Customs Department to get an Import-Export Code. To get their Customs declaration certificate, exporters must submit the relevant paperwork to the Customs Office and pay the export declaration registration fees.

To do import-export business in the UAE, one must undergo several procedures to secure the appropriate approvals.

1. Identify Your Trading Activity

Before launching an import/export company in the United Arab Emirates, you must determine the goods you intend to trade. The kind of license you need to operate legally will depend on this. The general trading license is the best choice if you plan to trade various products that are not necessarily related, such as vehicle parts and shoes.

There are many different import export business options in Dubai for those unsure of what they want to trade but are looking to start a business there. The United Arab Emirates trades various items, including jewelry, auto and aviation components, food, drink, cosmetics, and clothing.

2. Select Your Company Name

When choosing a name for a company in the United Arab Emirates, there are a few essential considerations to keep in mind. You are required to observe a rigorous yet straightforward set of naming guidelines.

In a nutshell, you should refrain from using any terminology that could be interpreted as disrespectful or profane. If you’re going to name your firm after yourself, try to avoid popular corporate names and acronyms. In addition, you need to make sure the name you want to register is available.

3. Choose Your Company Setup

Launching an import/export company in either the Dubai mainland or a free zone in the United Arab Emirates is possible. Many free zones provide easy access to seaports, airports, and major highways, making them ideal for companies dealing in international trade.

Furthermore, free zones provide their investors with complete freedom from all import and export duties, free access to all currencies, and the ability to repatriate all of their capital and profits.

4. Obtain Initial Approval

Apply for initial approval from DED. This approval indicates that the UAE Government is raising no objections regarding establishing your company within the UAE. It is imperative to obtain this approval to proceed with the next steps in the process.

5. Prepare the MOA or LSA Agreement

The Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent (LSA) Agreement must be signed in person by the partner(s) and the local sponsor (UAE National).

6. Apply for License

To obtain a commercial license in the United Arab Emirates, you can go to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or the municipality in the emirate where you intend to establish your business, or you can go to the management authority of one of the many free zones. A professional who specializes in business formation like ExpressPRO can be of assistance at this stage in any scenario, handling all the documentation and requirements on your behalf.

Depending on the nature of your business and where you choose to establish your company in Dubai, you may need additional documentation to get your general trading company up and to run. However, in most instances, you’ll need to provide:

  • Application form with all required information 
  • The proposed owner’s or owners’ passport copies
  • Two passport-sized color photos on white backgrounds

7. Consider Custom Requirements

Even though establishing your business in a free zone may enable you to avoid import-export duties, you must still apply to Federal Customs Authority for an import code. You can apply for your code at the customs office of the emirate where you plan to establish your business. The following documents are typically required:

  •  Your general trading license copy 
  • Your passport copy
  • Detailed information regarding your trading activities

8. Apply for Visa

You can apply for a business license alongside applications for any necessary visas for yourself and your staff. This is another stage where the assistance of a company formation expert in the UAE will come in handy.

The owner of a valid business license in the United Arab Emirates is eligible to sponsor others for visas. A housekeeper or other domestic worker falls under this category, as well as a spouse, parent, or child. How many visas you are eligible to apply for is determined by factors like the size of your business, the type of organization you choose, and your income (for dependent visas).

Documents Required to Get a Dubai Import/Export License

To apply for a license to conduct business in Dubai relating to import and export, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Options for trade names (at least three names)
  • Describe your business activities
  • Copies of all shareholders’ passports.
  • Copies of all partners’ UAE residence visas
  • The partner’s entry stamp or visa page if they are on a visit visa
  • Copy of local sponsor’s passport and Emirates ID

Get Familiar with Crucial Dubai Customs Requirements

Dubai offers a wide variety of possibilities for international trade, both in terms of imports and exports. However, it is crucial to understand the UAE and the place of origin of the products being delivered to comply with Dubai customs requirements.

Imports into the United Arab Emirates are subject to customs declaration and applicable taxes and levies. Certain products, such as foods, cosmetics, and medicines, may be subject to additional regulations.

Also, before shipping anything, check the import and export laws of the country you’ll be shipping to. These countries’ rules may differ significantly from those in the UAE. Not only that, but you should also be aware of any tariffs or other taxes that might be levied on your products.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has strict customs procedures that must be followed to avoid delays, fines, and the possible confiscation of goods. Before launching a firm, it’s crucial to do your homework and talk to professionals in the field of company formation.

Interested in Starting an Import-Export Business in the UAE?

Beginning an import/export firm in Dubai can be lucrative and provide growth opportunities. Whether in a free zone or on the UAE mainland, starting an import/export business is a straightforward process.

Remember, however, that your application must be flawless and comprehensive at the time of submission for the process to be straightforward. A company formation specialist like ExpressPRO can be helpful when setting up an import-export business in the UAE.Our team of experts is here to help you as you establish your mainland or free zone import-export business in Dubai, from filling out the necessary paperwork to get your import-export license to registering your company with the Customs Department. To get you up and running with your international trade quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

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I am very lucky to met you, Hassan. Throughout the entire application process, I encountered issues like my name being written in reverse order, even during the medical check-up, you were online to... answer my questions in real-time. You were attentive to my worries even on weekends and during the Ramadan period. When Dubai faced its first major flood in 75 years, I still received your immediate response. Your dedication is truly commendable.The process for obtaining residency in Dubai is now longer due to the increasing population influx. Fortunately, applying through ExpressPro has been a breeze - fast, efficient, professional, and with prompt responses that provide peace of mind. I highly recommend this company. Once again, thank you, Hassan. May Allah bless youread more
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