News & Articles

Trade Licenses in the UAE: A Comparative Study

trade license uae

Embarking on a business venture in the UAE, known for its dynamic economy and robust business ecosystem, involves strategic planning and understanding the licensing landscape. One of the foundational steps towards starting or expanding a business in this region is obtaining a trade license. In this blog post, Choose UAE will delve into the distinct aspects of acquiring trade license in Dubai Mainland and UAE Free Zones.

Grasping Trade License in Dubai Mainland UAE

Administered by the Department of Economic Development (DED), trade licenses in Dubai Mainland are categorized based on the type of commercial activity: Commercial (for trade-oriented activities), Professional (for services or professions), and Industrial (for manufacturing or industrial undertakings). Depending on your business’s nature, you can apply for the corresponding category of license.

A distinguishing feature of Mainland trade licenses is the unrestricted scope it offers for conducting business across the UAE and even internationally. Such versatility proves beneficial for businesses with plans to permeate the expansive UAE market.

In light of recent regulatory changes, foreign entrepreneurs can now hold 100% ownership of their business in the Mainland, eliminating the need for a UAE national shareholder who formerly had to own a minimum of 51% of the company’s shares. This transformative regulation applies to over 1,000 commercial and industrial activities, making Dubai Mainland an even more appealing choice for foreign investors.

Understanding Trade License in UAE Free Zone

Alternatively, you could contemplate establishing your enterprise in one of the various Free Zones throughout the UAE. Every Free Zone operates as a separate jurisdiction with a designated Free Zone Authority that issues trade licenses and supervises business operations within its precincts.

Free Zones offer the remarkable benefit of 100% foreign ownership, removing the necessity for a local partner. This provision, along with perks like full capital and profit repatriation, zero import and export duties, and absolution from personal and corporate taxes, make Free Zones a highly favored choice for foreign businesspersons.

The license you need to apply for within a Free Zone depends on your intended business activity and usually falls into the following categories: Commercial, Service, or Industrial licenses.

How Can Choose UAE Help

Deciding between a Dubai Mainland trade license and a Free Zone trade license essentially boils down to your business’s unique needs, operational activities, and long-term objectives. Both licensing avenues have their specific merits and constraints, making it essential to decide based on well-informed insights.

Navigating the realm of trade licenses in the UAE may seem complicated, but with expert guidance, the journey becomes significantly more manageable. The team at Choose UAE is ready to offer comprehensive advice and support throughout your business setup process, from helping you comprehend the complexities of trade licenses to walking you through each step of your business establishment. Trust us to streamline your entrepreneurial journey in the UAE and set you on the path to success.



What Makes Us Stand Out?

Start Your Business Journey with Us

We are Rated 5

on Google

Knowledge Center

Can't find the answer you're looking for? Don't worry we're here to help!