GNcareers, from Gulf News

Understanding trade licenses

Trade LicensesImage Credit: Supplied

A trade license is the key to opening a business in the UAE. For those who are based in Dubai, the emirate’s Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for issuing these licenses to companies in the mainland.

A trade licence is usually valid for a year and falls under three categories: commercial, industrial and professional.

You first need to select your business activity and a legal form for the company – business type, number of owners, ownership options – to obtain a trade license. Then select a trade name and apply for an initial approval certificate (a no-objection certificate from the Dubai government) either online, through the DED counters or law firms.

You and your partners then need to sign a memorandum of association or a local service agent agreement with a UAE national who will represent your business for licensing and compliance. After that, get the necessary approvals for the actual location of your company. You may also need approvals from other government departments depending on your business.

Once all the clearances have been obtained, submit all the papers to the DED and pay the required fees, and you will receive your business license within seven days.

To operate out of Dubai’s more than 20 free zones, get a license from the relevant free zone authorities. You need a lease agreement to obtain one which allows you to conduct business only within the free zone or internationally, but not in mainland Dubai.

Handy Hints
• In Dubai, DED issues licenses to mainland firms
• FZ firms obtain licenses from relevant authorities
• Valid for a year, licenses come in three categories


See related story: Success of family business in UAE

Source: S. Dhar, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer