How to Start a General Trading Company in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made significant strides in recent decades to diversify its economy, and a large part of this achievement can be attributed to the efforts of businesspeople and investors drawn to Dubai. Foreign investors are attracted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a number of reasons, including the country’s favorable economic climate and its business-friendly commercial and social framework.

Dubai’s growth has always relied heavily on the city’s trading industry. There are few industries that do not have a trade center in Dubai, from its early days as a pearl trading center to the current day, when the emirate is employed as a trading hub for a wide variety of items, including technology and textiles. 

The emirate makes the most of its advantageous position, allowing it to trade easily with both the Eastern and Western economies. The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now making concerted efforts to reduce the country’s reliance on the oil and hydrocarbon sector.

Due to the stringent regulations in the UAE, anybody who wants to establish a business engaging in general trading must first go through a series of processes to guarantee that the firm was established and operates in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

If you are looking to start a business in UAE, a general trading company may be the perfect option for you. In this blog post, we will tell you how to start a general trading company in UAE. We will discuss the license types, requirements, steps to establish a company, and benefits of starting a trading company in the UAE. So, if you are thinking about starting a business in UAE, keep reading!

What Is a General Trading License

What is a General Trading License?

The DED-issued general trade license is sometimes referred to as the mainland trade license. The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) produces this certificate, which allows the holder to trade a range of commodities originating from the UAE mainland.

The mainland trading license differs from the free zone general trading license in that it does not confine your commercial operations to a specific economic zone, allowing you to do business from any place inside the United Arab Emirates.

A corporation is deemed to be involved in general commerce if it has been created and is in possession of a general trading license, allowing it to import, export, and distribute commodities and products. 

Under the terms of this license, an entrepreneur is permitted to participate in the commercial sale of many commodities coming from diverse industries. Under this license, you may operate in the business of trading clothing, home products, and furniture, for example.

Start a General Trading Company in UAE

How to Start a General Trading Company in UAE?

Are you interested in starting your own trading company in the UAE? We’ve jotted down all the information you’ll need to get started. We will discuss the steps involved in setting up a company and the licensing requirements. 

Step 1: Select Commercial Jurisdiction

In Dubai, either the mainland or a free zone might be used to incorporate a general commerce firm. If you are worried about your expenses, choosing a free zone as your destination might be a wise decision. In free zones, it is feasible to create a general trade business at a cheap cost. The International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), which governs one of these free zones, provides the most affordable general trade licenses. If, on the other hand, you wish to reach the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, you may enter the mainland with the ability to freely offer items. This will enable you to achieve your goal.

Step 2: Choose Business Activity

The next step in setting up your general trade company is to decide on the activities that your firm will participate in. You must provide specifics for each item that you want to exchange. Because there are hundreds of options, you will undoubtedly find one or more that work for your organization among the available options.

Step 3: Choose Company Name And License Application

When it comes to naming your company, there are a few things you should avoid at all costs. The use of any banned title or name, as well as any religious identity, is among them. After gaining permission for the company’s name, you will be able to apply for a business license, which usually takes a few days at most.

Step 4: Renting an Office Space and Warehouse

Because dealing with genuine commodities is one of the most obvious components of starting a general trading corporation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, an entrepreneur will need to hunt for a facility that is adequate for storing their items. In this case, the entrepreneur has two options: make contact with a third-party agent who already has a warehouse, or create their own warehouse.

Step 5: Dealing with the Customs

When importing or exporting goods by land, sea, or air in the UAE, customs must be cleared. This is a critical necessity. A company owner in the UAE must submit a request for an import code to the UAE customs administration in order to bring products into the country and pay the applicable import duty. You may register with the customs administration in any of the emirates, and your selection should be based on what is best for your specific firm.

Step 6: Open A Bank Account

To handle the financial aspects of your trade company’s activities in Dubai, you will require a corporate bank account. Therefore, opening a bank account with a reliable financial institution that offers benefits in the long term should be a top priority. You can learn about how to open a bank account in the UAE in our separate guide. 

Types of Trade Licenses in the UAE

Dubai General Trade License

In order to start a new business entity in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, a trade license that corresponds to the firm’s kind, industry, and commercial activity is necessary. This applies to foreign companies that establish themselves in tax-free zones. The following are the most common types of Dubai trade licenses issued to businesses operating in Free Zones:

1. Commercial License

The Commercial License is often referred to as the general trade license and the company license. It is the most often sought and approved type of business license in Dubai’s Free Zones. This license is for firms that conduct commercial or trade-related operations in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. 

Importing and exporting objects, as well as trading in goods and commodities, are often included in this category of activities. Companies doing business in Dubai’s Free Zones are governed and protected by the conditions of their Commercial Licenses. 

This makes a company eligible for a number of sector-specific business assistance mechanisms. These frameworks include incubators for startups, financial assistance, and industry-specific trade advantages.

2. Professional License

The Professional License has been established to enable trained professionals to participate in commercial activity within particular areas of specialization. This type of commercial license is designed for service-based businesses such as

  • Business consultancies
  • Operating management services
  • Teaching and training
  • Information technology service
  • Engineers
  • Attorneys
  • Mechanics
  • Physicians and other medical and healthcare services
  • Accounting and auditing service providers, and more.

3. Industrial License

The Industrial License is designed for businesses that create and produce new products derived from natural or raw materials. This includes not just the manufacturing of items, but also the food industry, the textile business, the manufacturing of equipment and engines, and a great deal more.

 In order to be qualified for this kind of trade license, a business must operate out of a physical office, warehouse, or industrial complex inside a Dubai Free Zone. This is one of the qualifications necessary to get the license.

4. Tourism License

Any business that engages in the tourism sector, including but not limited to companies that run tourist camps, cruise boat rentals, hotel, and motel rentals, guest houses, restaurants, and travel agencies, must get this license.

5. Agriculture License

This also applies to other Emirates within the United Arab Emirates. Those who engage in crop harvesting and cultivation, commercial greenhouse construction, pesticide trading, crop growth, and other botany-related activities are needed to get an agricultural license.

Before participating in any activity tangentially related to agriculture, such as offering agricultural consultancy services, the applicant must first get approval from the appropriate government bodies.

Benefits of General Trading License?

When it comes to business licenses, there are various types that businesses can apply for. Depending on the type of business and the nature of its operations, one of these licenses may be a better fit than another. So what is a general trading license, and what are some of its benefits? Keep reading to learn more!

1. Regional and international trade

A general trade permit enables the holder to import or manufacture any and all of the products mentioned in the license. After completing this operation, company owners have the option of distributing these commodities in Dubai’s lucrative local market or exporting (manufactured goods) or re-exporting (imported goods) them to the country of their choice. By taking advantage of Dubai’s tax-free economy, low-cost labor, and other city-government advantages, merchants benefit enormously from their engagement in this business.

2. No taxation

The majority of countries levy large taxes and fees on the import, manufacture, and sale of a broad range of items. Because there are almost no taxes, it is one of the most appealing investment options in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. This is also true for the purchase and selling of a range of products that are covered by the general trade license. It is feasible to produce these things while keeping costs as low as possible. Because of the high demand for a range of commodities in Dubai and other parts of the world, businesses that deal in such items stand to benefit handsomely.

3. A considerable number of products

With the exception of a few products that are subject to specific constraints or sensitive materials, almost all of the commodities that may be sold in Dubai are registered under the general trade license. In order to sell a wide range of things, you will only need one license. You will only have to pay the high licensing fees, but you will enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

4. Simple and easy procedure

Obtaining a general commercial license in Dubai is not only profitable but also not especially difficult. After submitting the relevant papers, you may get your trade license from the DED in as little as one week, which is significantly quicker than the bulk of the lengthy registration processes accessible elsewhere. Following that, you will be allowed to establish your business on the mainland of Dubai, in the free zones, or in any other location in the UAE.

As a consequence of this license, the future will be less complex. An auditing report is not necessary when applying for a general trade license in Dubai (or anyplace else in the UAE). Traders will no longer have to deal with the burden of annual audits as a result of this.

5. Sponsor

Another big advantage of having this trade license is that it makes it easier for investors to apply for visas for their staff as well as visas for their families. Entrepreneurs may sponsor their families, making it easier for their relatives to get visas to the UAE.

How to Get a General Trading License in UAE?

Following these steps will enable you to get a general trade license in the UAE:

1. Register the company.

To begin, pick the activity in which your organization participates, or select several activities if relevant. Choose a trading name for your company and ensure that it conforms with UAE naming requirements. For example, you must ensure that the name you chose for your company is not pejorative and that it may be registered. After that, you may submit the form for the first approval. If the authorities agree, the business license will be issued to you within the following two hours.

2. Get an entry permit

Following that, you must sign up for services via an electronic channel. This online method streamlines the application process and removes any unnecessary paperwork. You will be able to apply for admission authorization after you have finished the registration procedure. This is a short-term visa valid for up to sixty days.

3. Change your status

You may initiate your status change once you have admission clearance. The most expedient way is to activate this while remaining in the UAE, but, depending on your nationality, it may also be possible to do so by leaving the UAE and then returning.

4. Get an Emirates ID.

You will be needed to pass a medical examination in order to apply for an Emirates ID card. This involves having x-rays taken, blood drawn, and any other necessary examinations. You will be able to apply for an Emirates ID card after you have received your findings. In order to open a bank account, rent a property, or sign a mobile phone contract in the UAE, you must provide this identity card.

Although the application process for a general trade license is not especially difficult, you must ensure that you are well-prepared with the essential papers and information in order to jump through the necessary hoops. However, you are not required to follow through with it on your own. 

Documents Required for General Trading License?

The following paperwork is required to start a general trading company in UAE:

  • Passport copies of all owners/shareholders
  • Residence visa copy with entry stamp for any shareholders (if applicable)
  • No Objection Certificate for shareholders/owners
  • Proposed trade name
  • Application form
  • Copy of Memorandum of Association

How Airzone can help you?

The best approach to secure a visa in Dubai, UAE, is to start your own company there. Starting a business in the United Arab Emirates? Use one of the five forms of general trade license discussed in this article to set up your company legally. We hope this essential guide on how to start a general trading company in UAE helps you in your initiative.

You can launch quickly if you work with a business formation expert like Airzone. We can guide you through the process of launching a business in Dubai thanks to our experience and knowledge in the field. We’ll connect you with the right service providers to aid in the development of your enterprise in the United Arab Emirates.

You can get assistance from our dependable partners in Dubai and obtain the necessary trade licenses. We’ll put you in touch with the appropriate experts to handle anything from visa applications to crucial administrative tasks while you concentrate on growing your business.

In case you need help setting up a business in the country, we have a detailed guide on how to set up a business in Dubai. With a thorough understanding of the UAE’s business scene, you should be well prepared to establish a company in the country. If you need information regarding free zones, we also have detailed articles on different free zones in UAE.

FAQs About General Trade License Dubai

How much time does it Require to get General Trading License in Dubai?

Once you’ve submitted the required paperwork to the DED, the whole licensing procedure will take around a week to complete. A standard business license is good for 12 months.

How Much does it cost to get a General Trading License in UAE?

The price of a general trade license in Dubai ranges from AED 30,000 to AED 40,000, with the exact amount based on the nature of the company being conducted, the number of required permissions, and other considerations.