UAE Trade License (2024 Guide)

Amal Khadiri

Amal Khadiri

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There was tremendous growth in the UAE economy in 2023, with trade exceeding 1 trillion dirhams and reexports exceeding 300 billion dirhams. On top of that, The Dubai Economic Agenda – D33, aiming to double Dubai’s economic growth over the next ten years, will present entrepreneurs with numerous reasons to relocate here, including opportunities for expats to grow.

If you wish to legally run a trading business out of Dubai, you will first need a trade license to do this. But what exactly is a UAE trade license and how do you go about getting one? In this blog, you will learn everything you need to know about how to get a trade license in UAE.

General trade licences in the UAE are very flexible, and allow you to trade in a huge variety of goods and services. If you have spotted a gap in the market, then a general trade license is a great place to start.

Here’s everything you need to know about getting a UAE trade license in 2024.

What is a Trade License in Dubai, UAE?

The Department of Economic Development issues every free zone trade license in UAE, and a Trade License is a document that specifies which activities a corporation may engage in in the UAE.

It is possible to conduct several activities in Dubai with a general trading license. Among these activities are importing, exporting, and conducting commercial activities.

How to Get a Trade License In UAE

If you would like to get a UAE trade license, you will need to complete the following five steps:

1. Select your business activity

The first step to getting a trading license in Dubai is to select your business activity. There are thousands of business activities that you can choose from in Dubai. At Meydan Free Zone, our consultants can advise you on the most appropriate business activity for your company.

2. Choose a trade name for your business

Your trading name needs to clearly describe what your company does, and you should be careful not to include any terms that could be considered offensive or potentially blasphemous. What is more, the brand must not include any acronyms with your own name. For example, Amir Shah Trading would be fine, but A.S. Trading would be against the rules.

3. Choose your business location

Choosing a business location is a vital step in starting your UAE trading business. Many companies choose to base themselves at the Meydan Free Zone because it offers a 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership. Our location in central Dubai means you are close to the airport and the seaport, as well as local retail businesses who may want to purchase goods and services from you.

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.

4. Complete your application and pay fees

In order to receive your trading license in the UAE, you will need to complete your application form and provide a range of documents and paperwork. It is also essential to pay the associated fees as part of your UAE trade license application.

5. Receive your license and open a business bank account

Receiving your license to run a trading 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 meet the requirements and avoid any unnecessary admin errors.

Once your license has been approved, the final step is to open a business bank account so you can make and receive payments – Meydan Pay is our simple digital banking solution for businesses working in our free zone. It gives you an IBAN and digital wallet which comes with all the features you need to start making and receiving payments.

Types of Trade Licenses in UAE

There are several different types of trade license in Dubai which you can select during your application process. These include:

  • UAE commercial license:  Commercial licenses are allocated to companies that trade in goods and commodities – think of things like import and export businesses, as well as some related services such as car rental or real estate.
  • Industrial licenses:  As the name suggests, industrial licenses are for any company that will participate in manufacturing activities in the UAE.
  • Professional licenses:  Professional UAE licenses are targeted at people who have specific professions including artisanal craftsmanship, consultancy, IT and technical services, medical services, security, printing and publishing and many more.
  • Tourism license:  If you would like to run a business in the tourism industry then a tourist license is essential for any firm thinking of operating hotels, tourist trips, cruise boats and any other travel and tourism activities.
  • Agriculture license:  If you would like to cultivate plants, harvest crops, build greenhouses or run an agricultural consultancy, an agricultural licence is essential
  • Freelance license:  There is a growing community of freelancers in the UAE and so the government has created a freelance license to meet the needs of this sector. Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance license or visa options. 


There are of course many, many more kinds of trade license in the UAE. At Meydan Free Zone we can help you choose the most appropriate license and business activity for your entrepreneurial idea.

Trade License UAE Costs

Calculating the precise cost of a trade license UAE varies depending on a number of factors about your business, what you are trading in and the number of employees and visas you will need. At Meydan Free Zone, start-ups that require no visas can begin operating from as little as AED 12,500. Meanwhile, companies that need up to six visas can expect to pay AED 23,600. Depending on the specific requirements of your business the exact costs of getting your trade license will change.

Benefits of Getting a Trade License in Dubai

The UAE offers many business advantages, which is why so many companies are setting up branches or organisations here. Dubai trade licenses offer a number of benefits:

1. Increase local and international trade

General trading licenses provide you with a host of opportunities for manufacturing and importing goods. Depending on your product, you can sell it on the local Dubai market or export it abroad and gain profits.

Additionally, business owners can re-export their goods with a general trade license. By doing this, your company will be able to trade goods and services internationally more efficiently.

2. Enhance credibility

Laws and regulations are often abused by businesses looking to gain a bigger profit, so companies that adhere to legalities are more likely to gain customer trust. A trade license enhances the business’s visibility in the markets where it operates. The company’s credibility and trust are built as a result.

3. Obtain tax benefits

Almost no trade restrictions exist in Dubai, making it an excellent place to do business. A general trading license will protect your products from restrictions as long as they are registered under it.

4. Trade restrictions are few

In contrast to other business licenses in the UAE, Dubai trade licenses are much faster to obtain, as long as you have the proper documentation. A business can usually be set up in a few weeks in any of the free zones or mainland in Dubai. Additionally, once you obtain your license, you don’t need to submit auditing reports. As a result, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort on paperwork in the future.

5. Set-up is simple

In contrast to other business licenses in the UAE, Dubai trade licenses are much faster to obtain, as long as you have the proper documentation. A business can usually be set up in a few weeks in any of the free zones or mainland in Dubai. Additionally, once you obtain your license, you don’t need to submit auditing reports. As a result, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort on paperwork in the future.

6. Sponsor opportunities

An advantage of getting a trade license in Dubai is that dependents can be sponsored easily. As a result, you can bring your family members or employees with you to Dubai. Having a trade license allows you to guide others through the visa application process as well. As a result, establishing a new business or life in Dubai is easier than ever before.

The benefits of getting a Dubai Trade License

Documents Required to Get Your UAE Trade License

If you would like to get a UAE trade license, you will need to compile a number of essential documents. These include:

  • A completed application form which describes what your business does and the goods and services you will be trading in
  • Copies of your passport and passport size photos
  • A copy of your residence visa (if applicable)
  • Emirates ID copy (if applicable)

Renewal of Trade License in Dubai, UAE

Upon registering your business in Dubai, you will be required to receive a valid license for conducting trade activities. It is necessary to renew this license every year in order to ensure that you can seamlessly sell your products across the UAE and around the world without violating any regulations.

The Department of Economic Development manages the renewal of trade licenses in the UAE. Your Dubai trade license assists you in verifying the legal status of your business as an established enterprise. The proper renewal procedure for Dubai trade licenses ensures that you are not penalised, prosecuted or even banned for your business.

The best practice is to start the renewal process a few days prior to the expiration of your trade license by understanding the application details and renewal fees. By doing so, you will maintain your legal status and continue running your business without any obstacles.

Why Meydan Free Zone?

Meydan Free Zone is located in central Dubai, next to the golf course and a short drive from the airport and international seaport. It is the ideal location to launch your trading business in Dubai UAE and also boasts fantastic connections to the rest of the United Arab Emirates and the wider world.

Meydan Free Zone is a hub full of exciting and innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs in Dubai. You will have access to a complete range of services and equipment you would expect to launch your business quickly and easily, including 24/7 office space, internet connections, fast company set-up and exclusive community benefits.

What is more, our highly experienced and supportive consultants can help you with every aspect of launching your Dubai trade business. With our Meydan Pay service, you get access to professional financial services including a business account where you can make and receive international payments. Meanwhile, Meydan Commerce is a unique service to support you with trading online in the fast-growing Dubai eCommerce sector. And with our Easy Payment Plans, entrepreneurs can cover the costs involved in launching their business over the period of several months – which means you don’t have to make a major up-front payment when launching your new company.

Providing you with everything you need for business setup in Dubai, Meydan Free Zone is the ideal home for your new company.  Contact us today about getting your UAE trade license and start trading in no time at all.


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