Secure your business’s legal operations with a trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the UAE. The trade licence is a crucial document that grants your business permission to carry out commercial activities within the country legally.

From importing and exporting goods to opening bank accounts and obtaining employee visas, having a trade license is essential for accessing the full range of government resources. Simplify the process of company registration in the UAE by applying for the appropriate trade license simultaneously. Businesses must apply for a suitable trading licence at the time of company registration in the UAE.


Get started with your business venture in the UAE by obtaining a trade licence. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process.

Choose your business activity and trade name: The UAE offers a range of business activities to choose from, including trading, manufacturing, consulting, and many others. It’s important to select a trade name that accurately reflects the services your company will offer and to avoid any terms that could be considered offensive.

Determine your business location: You can establish your business in either mainland or free zone areas, depending on the type of business and regulations that apply to your chosen activity.

Submit the application and fees: Fill out the trade licence UAE application form and pay the required fees, which may vary depending on the type and location of your business. You will also need to submit the necessary documents to the Department of Economic Development.

Receive the licence: Upon successful review of your application, you should receive your trade licence within a few days. Once you have your licence, you can open a business bank account and start conducting business.

Take the first step towards starting your business in the UAE with a trade licence. Refer to corporate bank account opening UAE for more information on setting up your business finances.


Industrial licences

For the establishment of an industrial or manufacturing activity in the UAE, an industrial license is necessary. Businessmen can assemble and process goods using domestic or foreign raw materials with the industrial license. One must have an industrial license to manufacture; textiles, food, metals, engines, machinery, petroleum-based goods, and Paper.

UAE commercial licence

Businesses that deal in goods and commodities, such as import and export companies, as well as some related services like car rental or real estate, are given commercial licence in UAE.

Professional licences

Professional licences allow people and businesses to practise a profession they are skilled in based on their educational background. Consultancy services, printing and publishing, medical services, beauty parlours, computer graphic design services, repair services, security services, document clearing, etc. are some of the activities covered by this licence.

Tourism licence

This business licence in UAE is necessary for any company planning to operate hotels, tours, cruise ships, and other travel and tourism-related activities.

Craftsmanship licence

Anyone engaged in plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, etc., must have this license.

A business must apply for a license if they hire a craftsman to work for them.

Agricultural licence

An agriculture licence is required for those who engage in activities including planting and harvesting crops, trading pesticides and other agricultural products, installing greenhouses, and offering agricultural consulting.


The trade licence fees in UAE can vary greatly depending on the type of business activity you are engaged in and the specific requirements of your business.

The licence fee is the main cost associated with obtaining a trade licence in UAE. The licence fee starts from AED 12,000, but it can be higher or lower depending on the type of business activity.  

In addition to the licence fee, there may also be activity fees starting from AED 150 to AED 500. There are a few more requirements, such as activity class guide fees, licence replacement, licence translation fees, etc.


Access to a larger market

By obtaining a trade licence, a business gains access to the wider market in the UAE, opening up new opportunities and helping the company grow.

Attractive business environment

The UAE offers a highly attractive business environment with modern infrastructure, favourable tax policies, and a pro-business government.

Boost in confidence

A trade licence gives business owners and investors confidence in the stability and future of the business. It shows that the business is committed to operating legally and ethically, which can help attract new investors and customers.


  • A completely filled-out application describing the nature of the business and the products and services the applicant is planning to offer
  • Passport copies and passport-size photos
  • A copy of the applicant’s residence permit (if applicable)
  • Copy of Emirates ID (if applicable)


The Trade License obtained for conducting business in UAE must be renewed annually to guarantee that the business can sell the goods and services without difficulty in the UAE and the rest of the world without breaking any laws.

In the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Economic Development oversees the renewal of trade licences. The correct renewal process for Dubai trade licence assures that business won’t face sanctions, legal action, or a business ban.

The best course of action is to begin the renewal procedure a few days before the trade licence expires by becoming familiar with the application requirements and renewal costs. By doing this, the business will maintain its legal status and be able to conduct business as usual without encountering any difficulties.


Relin Consultants helps companies in the UAE to obtain business licences by providing consultation, document preparation, liaison with government agencies, follow-up, and post-licensing support. 

Our team of experts will assist you throughout the process to ensure a smooth and efficient licence application and issuance.

Reach out to us at Relin Consultants to know more about our services.


How to apply for a UAE trade licence?

To apply for a UAE trade licence, follow these steps:

  • Choose a suitable legal structure for the company.
  • Select a location for the business and secure a lease for office space.
  • Determine the type of licence needed and select a business activity.
  • Obtain approval from relevant government departments for the business activity and location.
  • Submit all required documents.
  • Pay relevant fees and obtain the trade licence.

How much does a business license cost in the UAE?

The cost of a business licence in the UAE varies, but a mainland licence can cost between AED 10,000 to AED 50,000, while a free zone licence can cost between AED 7,000 to AED 100,000. The specific cost will depend on the type of licence, business activity, and jurisdiction within the UAE.

Do small businesses need a licence in the UAE?

Yes, small businesses in the UAE must obtain a licence to operate legally. The requirement applies to all types of businesses, regardless of size, and failure to obtain a licence can result in fines and other penalties.

How can I get a business licence online in the UAE?

Here are the steps to follow to get a trading licence in UAE online:

  • Determine the type of licence needed and select a business activity
  • Register for an e-government account on the relevant portal, such as the Dubai Electronic Government Services (DED) or Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) portals.
  • Submit all required documents, including passport copies, trade name reservation certificates, and articles of incorporation, through the e-government portal.
  • Pay relevant fees online.
  • Obtain the trade licence, which will be delivered to the registered email address.

How many types of UAE licences are there?

There are six types of UAE licences.

  • Agricultural licence: This type of licence is issued to businesses involved in agriculture, horticulture, livestock farming, and other related activities.
  • Craftsmanship licence: This licence is issued to businesses that specialise in hand-made goods, such as pottery, jewellery, and other artisanal products.
  • Tourism licence: This licence is issued to businesses in the tourism industry, such as hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators.
  • Professional licence: This licence is issued to individuals who provide professional services, such as consultants, doctors, and engineers.
  • Industrial licence: This licence is issued to businesses involved in manufacturing, production, and other industrial activities.
  • Commercial licence: UAE commercial licence is issued to businesses engaged in trading, importing, and exporting goods.

Is a trade licence mandatory in the UAE?

Yes, a trade licence is mandatory for businesses operating in the UAE. The trade licence is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and acts as a certificate of registration that proves that the business is legally operating in the country. Failure to obtain a trade licence can result in fines, penalties, and other legal consequences.


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