Import-export license Dubai: 2023 Guide

Nicky Peng

Nicky Peng

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Dubai is one of the world’s leading centres for import-export businesses. Thanks to the UAE’s strategic location at the crossroads of international trade and its mighty port, it is a natural hub for import-export activity. If you would like to launch your own import-export business in Dubai, you will need an import-export license. In this blog, we will explore the key things you need to know about getting an import-export license for Dubai in 2023.

The UAE’s imports and exports cover a huge range of goods. It is a leader in exporting commodities such as crude and refined petroleum, gravel and crushed stone, and sulphur. It also exports enormous quantities of value-added goods, such as jewellery, broadcasting equipment, and rolled tobacco. Meanwhile, when it comes to imports, the gulf nation is a major buyer of gold, diamonds, aluminium oxide and broadcasting equipment.

Interested in trading in Dubai? Contact Meydan Free Zone today

Importing and exporting goods from the UAE is very straightforward and the government has created a streamlined process to facilitate this industry. For example, if you wish to import goods to the UAE, you need little more than a delivery order from a shipping agent, a commercial invoice, a certificate of origin paperwork and a packing list. The UAE in general has relatively low custom duties of just 5%. What is more, if your business is based in a free zone like Meydan Free Zone, you will not have to pay any import duties at all.

If you wish to run an import-export business in Dubai, you will of course need a license to do so. At Meydan Free Zone, we have helped countless companies set up their import-export businesses in the emirate.

Let’s look at how you can apply for your import-export license in Dubai in 2022 – and start trading as soon as possible.

What are the Steps to Start an Import-Export Trading Business in Dubai?

Whether you plan to import commodities, foodstuffs or manufactured goods, or hope to export raw materials, electronics, jewellery or anything else, you will need import-export trading license for Dubai. The following five steps describe how you can obtain this license.

  • Select your business activitySelect Your Business Activity
    The first step to getting an import-export license in Dubai is to select your business activity. There are thousands of business activities that Dubai businesses can choose from, but you will need to select the import-export license category for an import-export business.
  • Choose a trade name for your businessChoose a Trade Name for Your Business
    To comply with Dubai’s business naming rules, your company name must clearly describe what your company does. At the same time, it must not include any terms that could be considered offensive or potentially blasphemous. Furthermore, your import-export business name must not have any acronyms with your name either. For example, Ahmad Ali Commodity Exports would be fine, but AA Exports would not be permitted.
  • Choose your business locationChoose Your Business Location
    Choosing a business location is a major consideration when starting a Dubai import-export business. Many companies choose to base themselves in the Meydan Free Zone because it offers a 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership. Moreover, being based in a free zone means you will not pay any customs duties on imports – unlike mainland businesses which must pay a 5% import duty.Our location in central Dubai means you are close to the airport and the seaport, as well as local businesses that may want to purchase goods from you – or supply you with materials to sell abroad.

    We can advise you on setting up your free zone company at Meydan Free Zone and provide the support you need to make your business a success.


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  • Complete your application and pay feesComplete Your Application and Pay Fees
    You must complete your application form to receive your import-export business license for Dubai. You must provide various documents and other paperwork during this process. In addition to submitting your application for a business license, you must pay the associated fees. At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you fill in all this paperwork fast.
  • Receive your license and open a business bank accountReceive Your License and Open a Business Bank Account
    Receiving your license to run an import-export business in Dubai takes just a few days – so long as all your paperwork is in order and your application form and fees are all correct. At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you by ensuring all your paperwork will comply with requirements and avoid any unnecessary paperwork errors.


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Following the approval of your license, the final step is to open a business bank account, so you can make and receive payments from clients in the UAE and abroad. Meydan Pay is our simple digital banking solution for businesses working in our free zone. It gives you an IBAN and digital wallet with all the necessary features to start making and receiving payments.

This five-step process to starting an import-export business in Dubai typically takes no more than a few days – and for many customers at Meydan Free Zone, it often requires even less time.

Cost of an Import-Export Trading License in Dubai

The cost of an import-export trading license in Dubai will depend on the number of visas you are applying for as part of your application. If no visas are needed, your license application can cost as little as AED 12,500, up to AED 23,600 for six visa allocations. This figure includes your business license and associated fees.

For a quote customised to your import-export business and the number of visas you require, contact Meydan Free Zone today and we can give you a precise figure for how much your import-export trading license will cost.

Documents Required to Get an Import-Export Trading License

If you want to start an import-export business in Dubai, you must provide the following documents as part of your application process. At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you with the entire process of compiling these documents and verifying them against any mistakes:

  • A completed application form which describes what your business does and the goods you hope to import or export
  • Copies of your passport and passport size photos
  • A copy of your residence visa (if applicable)
  • Emirates ID copy (if applicable)

Why Choose Meydan Free Zone?

Located in central Dubai, Meydan Free Zone is less than 20 minutes from the International Airport and a short drive to the seaport, and it is one of the most advanced free zones in the emirate. Many companies run their import-export businesses from our free zone, thanks to its location, amenities and added value services. What is more, because we are a free zone, you will not pay any import customs duties when you base your company at our premises.

Our highly experienced consultants can support you with all aspects of business setup in Dubai, which means you can focus on starting your import-export business – and leave the administrative side of things to us.

We also provide several additional services to any company looking to launch an import-export business in Dubai, UAE. For example, Meydan Pay provides you with a digital wallet and an IBAN which allows you to receive payments from your customers anywhere in the world – which is vital for import-export businesses. For a business working in this sector, Meydan Pay is the ideal solution, making payment processing very easy. Learn more about Meydan Pay here.

Contact Meydan Free Zone today, and launch your Dubai import-export business

Contact Meydan Free Zone today, and launch your Dubai import-export business.

To find out more, visit our website, or get in touch with us via or 800FZ1.

If you prefer, you can visit us at Meydan Free Zone, GrandStand, Meydan Hotel, Meydan Rd, Nad Al Sheba 1, Dubai, UAE.

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