In Dubai, a general trading license permits activities such as import, export, and exchange of a variety of goods and products. It includes the trade of a wide variety of tangible goods, such as but not restricted to clothing, toys, electronics, furniture, and industrial equipment. It is important to know that some goods, like vehicles, alcohol, medicines, and weapons, are restricted and need a specific permission to be imported or exported.

It’s important to understand that a “general trading license” and a “trading license” are two different things. A broad trading license enables you to trade in different products across various industries, in contrast to a trading license that only allows to trade inside a particular product category within an industry.

Documents required to apply for a Dubai General Trading license

  • A General Trading License application that has been duly completed and signed by the investor or manager, along with the appropriate documentation (Memorandum of Association, Shareholder Agreement, etc.)
  •  Attested Trade Name Approval Letter from the relevant Free Zone Authority or the Dubai Economy
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • A copy of each shareholder’s passport
  • Board resolution

Process of obtaining a General Trade License in Dubai

Registering the business

The applicant must choose a business activity first, or include many activities if they are relevant to their operations in the United Arab Emirates. Select a trade name for the business and make sure it follows UAE naming conventions. For example, they should confirm that the company name is available for registration and that it does not contain any inappropriate words. After that, they can turn in the initial approval form. If this is accepted, the authorities will issue the trade license for the UAE-based company within two hours.

Entrance permit and e-channel services

The applicant must then sign up for e-channel services. This online solution simplifies the application process and eliminates unnecessary paperwork. After registering, they can submit an application for an entry permit. This is a short-term visa that is only good for 60 days.

Change of status

The applicant can start the process of changing the status after they have received their entry permit. It is easy to activate this inside the UAE, however depending on the nationality, they can also do so by leaving and entering again.

Registering for an Emirates ID

To apply for the Emirates ID card, the applicant will need to undergo a medical examination. This entails a blood test, x-rays, and further pertinent examinations. They can submit an application for the Emirates ID card after they have the results. This identity card is required in the UAE in order to create a bank account, rent a home, and sign up for cell phone contracts.

Refer to Dubai corporate bank account opening for more information. 

Obtaining General Trading License from Dubai mainland

A General Trade License from the Dubai Economy is the best option for investors wishing to start a wholesale and retail business on the mainland of Dubai. 

The offers an Instant License that is good for one year and does not inquire for office space. But after a year, the investor must renew the license by finding an actual office location for the company to conduct business both inside and outside of the United Arab Emirates.

The cost of a general trading license in Dubai is between 30,000 and 40,000 AED on the mainland. AED 41,683 will be required to start a general trading company on the mainland, which includes the trade license price, virtual office space with Ejari for a year, and pre-approvals.

Entrepreneurs can participate actively in regional trade in the Dubai market by obtaining a General trading License from the Dubai Mainland. They can also open a store and office anywhere in Dubai.

The number of visas and work visas is unlimited for a Dubai Mainland General Trading License. One can hire employees in accordance with the office space you’ve acquired.

In Dubai, a foreign investor can obtain a General Trading License and own 100% of the mainland company. To receive the General Trading License in Dubai, the shareholder agreement and other supporting documents must be filed to Dubai Economy.

Benefits of obtaining a General trading license from Dubai Mainland

  • When compared to other European and Asian regions, Dubai has a considerable tax advantage because all trade transactions within Dubai are subject to a flat 5% VAT.
  •  One can set up a business anywhere in Dubai and participate actively in the local market due to a General Trading License from DED.
  •  It is easy to form a company in Dubai mainland. The most popular company structure among investors is an LLC.
  •  Using the help of Business Consultants such as  Relin Consultants can make it simple to get a local sponsor for an LLC firm.
  • Employees can easily obtain visas. A visa quota is given based on the investor’s chosen office size.
  • Simple multi-currency banking transactions and account opening.
  • 100% return on capital and profits

Obtaining General Trading License from Dubai free zones

The UAE Free Zones are excellent locations to establish a General Trading Company. In UAe, there are more than 40 Free Zones. Benefits of purchasing a General Trading License Package from a Free Zone include access to top-notch office, logistical, and warehouse facilities, 100% foreign ownership, no import duties for imports into the Free Zone, and more.

Approximately 15,700 AED provides a general trading license package in the free zone with one visa quota. Depending on the location of the Free Zone, business activity, the number of available visas, and other variables, the cost of a general trading license can reach AED 50,000 and higher.

Advantages of obtaining a General trading license from Dubai free zones

The UAE’s Free Zones provide a simple and smooth incorporation process. They provide customized general trading license packages at affordable prices to meet the needs of all investors. For employing staff, UAE Free Zones offer Multi-Year General Trading License Packages with a variety of Residence Visa Quotas. The three-year residency visas that are provided by the majority of free zones are an added benefit for investors who want to hire workers for their offices.

Other benefits include:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • complete business control
  • fixed fee for the entire year
  • No yearly audit is necessary
  • No link to the Labor Department
  • Repatriation of profits
  • Obtaining a Tax Residency Certificate 
  • exempt from paying customs duties
  • Dedicated customs inspection on the premises
Aspect Trade License General Trading License
Nature of Activities Limited to specific trade activities or services Wide range of trading activities allowed
Scope Restricted to a specific industry or category Covers multiple industries and trading activities
Flexibility Limited flexibility in expanding business activities Greater flexibility in diversifying business scope
Market Reach Limited to the specific activities mentioned Allows trading within the local and international markets
License Restrictions May have certain limitations on the types of goods or services traded Allows trading of a broad range of goods and services
Required Approvals May require additional approvals or clearances for specific activities Similar approvals and clearances may be required, but with a wider scope
Business Setup Options Can be established in free zones or mainland Can be established in free zones or mainland
Ownership Can be 100% owned by foreign investors in free zones Ownership restrictions may apply in the mainland
Tax Benefits Free zone trade licenses often offer tax advantages Tax benefits may vary depending on the jurisdiction
Legal Entity Structure Can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC Can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC

Advantages of opening a general trading license company in Dubai 

High-quality infrastructure

Companies may conduct their activities in the most effective way possible due to the availability of office spaces with flexible rent or lease options and the best infrastructural features.

Minimum capital requirements

No bank guarantee or share capital deposit is necessary to meet the minimum capital requirements. Furthermore, UAE businesses are allowed to repatriate 100% of their capital.

Easy Business Setup 

Establishing a corporation in the UAE is a simple process. The full process might be finished in 3–4 working days if all of the paperwork is prepared and in order.

No Trade Barriers 

In Dubai, starting a business requires very little money and time. Additionally, companies with mainland trade licenses are excluded from any requirements for paid-up share capital or regular audits. The company’s profitability and affordability go above and beyond as a result. There are therefore no trade restrictions when running a business in the UAE.

No Taxation Policy

There is no corporate or individual tax in the United Arab Emirates for conducting business. An investor in the UAE who has a license is exempt from paying taxes on their income.

Reach out to us at Relin Consultants – Leading Global Business Set Up Partners for further assistance with your General Trading License in Dubai.


What is a general trading license in Dubai?

A general trading license in Dubai allows businesses to engage in a wide range of trading activities, including buying, selling, and distributing various goods and products. It enables companies to trade locally within the UAE as well as internationally.

How much does a general trading license in Dubai cost?

The price of general trade licenses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, can range from AED 9,000 to AED 40,000, depending on where you decide to establish your business.

What types of businesses can operate in Dubai with a general trading license?

The investor’s ability to engage in selling, distribution, storage, import/export, etc. is made possible by the General Trading License. A general trading license can be used for a variety of commercial activities, including selling electronics, accessories, clothing, furniture, and other commodities at retail and wholesale prices. Obtaining a general trading license is the best option for a business that deals in the trading of multiple products rather than just one.

How long is a Dubai general trade license valid?

The General Trading license is good for one year after the date of issuance.

How long does it take in Dubai to get a trading license?

The procedures for obtaining a license are simple. After the paperwork submission is finished, the processes for issuing the license can be completed in 10 days.

Can a foreigner obtain a general trading license in Dubai?

Yes, a general trading license can be obtained by foreigners in Dubai. Foreign investors have the choice of starting a business in a free zone where full ownership is permitted or establishing a mainland business with an Emirati partner or sponsor.

Can I trade internationally with a general trading license?

Yes, a general trading license in Dubai permits companies to conduct worldwide trade, including the export of goods to other nations and the import of items from a variety of foreign markets.

What is the difference between a general trading license in a free zone and the mainland?

The ownership structure is the main difference between a general trading license in a free zone and the mainland. In contrast to the mainland, where a local Emirati partner or sponsor is often necessary, free zones permit 100% foreign ownership. Free zones also provide particular tax advantages and simplified business setup procedures.


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