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A Step-by-Step Guide to Acquiring a General Trading License in the UAE

general trading license uae

Are you an entrepreneur or investor planning to set up a general trading business? The UAE is the perfect destination for you! With its amazing location, top-notch infrastructure, and business-friendly environment, the UAE is a great location to establish your trading activities. However, before you can start your trading venture, there’s an important step you must take – obtaining a General Trading License UAE. Let’s explore what this entails and how you can go about acquiring one.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Acquiring a General Trading License in the UAE

Step 1: Choose the Jurisdiction

To start the process of obtaining a General Trading License in the UAE, you need to decide where you want to set up your business. The UAE has different jurisdictions, such as free zones and mainland, each with its own rules and regulations. Free zones offer tax exemptions and 100% foreign ownership, while mainland companies require a local service agent. After selecting the jurisdiction, you need to decide on the legal structure of your business. The most common types of legal structures in the UAE are Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Free Zone Company (FZCO).

Step 2: Trade Name Options

When selecting a trade name for your business, it’s important to ensure that the name does not include any offensive or blasphemous language or make reference to well-known organizations or corporations. It’s also crucial to verify that your chosen business name is available for registration in your chosen jurisdiction. Consulting with a company formation expert can help you with this process. They can check the availability of your desired trade name and provide suggestions if it’s already taken.

Step 3: Obtain the Initial Approval

For free zones, the process of obtaining initial approval may vary depending on the free zone authority. Some free zones require a business plan, while others may require additional documents such as financial statements, shareholder details, and passport copies. It’s important to check the specific requirements of your chosen free zone and ensure that you comply with all the regulations before proceeding with the application process. For mainland companies, this involves renting an office in the chosen jurisdiction, while free zone companies may need to rent a flexi-desk or physical office space depending on the requirements of the free zone.

Step 4: Prepare the Required Documents

After obtaining the initial approval, you need to prepare the required documents for the General Trading License application. These documents typically include two passport-size photographs, a trade name certificate with three possible options for a trade name or company name, proof of residence address in the UAE or home country, and a copy of your visa or entry stamp if you are on a tourist visa. If you are a resident, you will also need to provide a copy of your Emirates ID (front and back). Additionally, you must provide proof of payment for the license application fees.


Step 5: Process the Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, the next step is to submit your application to the relevant authority. The processing time typically takes 7-14 days, and upon approval, the General Trading License will be issued. After receiving the license, you can then proceed to open a corporate bank account and start your business operations. It’s important to note that the General Trading License must be renewed annually, and failure to do so can result in penalties or even license revocation.

Step 6: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Once you have your General Trading License, it’s crucial to open a corporate bank account in the UAE. This account will help you manage your finances and conduct transactions smoothly, from paying suppliers to receiving payments from customers. It’s important to maintain accurate financial records and comply with all tax and accounting regulations in the UAE to ensure the longevity and success of your general trading business.




If you’re an entrepreneur or investor seeking a new and exciting business opportunity, look no further! Setting up a general trading business in the UAE could be just what you need. UAE offers an unbeatable location, top-notch infrastructure, and a welcoming business environment that’s perfect for trading activities. By following the necessary steps to obtain a General Trading License and opening a corporate bank account, you can set your business up for success. With careful planning and a strong work ethic, your trading business can flourish and thrive for many years to come in the UAE.

How Can Choose UAE Help

At Choose UAE, we understand the challenges that foreign investors and startups face when setting up a business in the UAE. That’s why we offer a hassle-free and efficient business setup process. Our team of experts is committed to providing exceptional customer service, and we offer a wide range of business growth services to help you succeed – from assisting you with opening a corporate bank account to providing PRO services and digital marketing support. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards your business success in the UAE.

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