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What are the Differences Between a Trade License and an Immigration Card in Business

differences between a trade license and an immigration card

When establishing a business in the UAE, two crucial documents that entrepreneurs commonly encounter are the trade license and the immigration card, each serving distinct legal and operational purposes.

What is a Trade License?

In the UAE, a trade license is a mandatory document required for a company to legally perform specific business activities indicated at the time of registration. This license confirms the legality of the business’s operations within the designated region. For example, if you operate a retail store, a trade license allows you to sell goods to consumers in that area. The trade license is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) or similar local government bodies that regulate business activities.

What is an Immigration Card?

On the other hand, an immigration card, often referred to as an establishment card, acts as the company’s identification with the UAE immigration authorities. This card is crucial for businesses intending to hire employees from abroad. It enables the company to sponsor visas and permits for these foreign workers, including processing their residence visas and labor cards, as well as handling other immigration-related procedures. The immigration card affirms that the company is recognized as a legitimate business capable of employing foreign nationals within the UAE.

Key Differences

The primary difference lies in their functions:

  • Trade License: This is about what the business can do within the jurisdiction. It involves permissions related to the nature of the business activities.
  • Immigration Card: This relates to who the business can employ from outside the country, dealing with visas and residency issues for foreign employees.

Both the trade license and the immigration card are indispensable for running a compliant business, especially in regions that are hubs of international trade and employment like the UAE. Each serves a unique role in establishing and operating a business effectively within legal frameworks, ensuring that a business not only operates legally but also thrives by attracting talent from around the globe.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for anyone planning to start or manage a business in a foreign country, as they affect both the scope of business operations and the potential to hire international staff.



How Can Choose UAE Help

At Choose UAE, we simplify obtaining your trade license and immigration card. Our experts handle all the paperwork and coordination with local authorities, ensuring you meet all business and employee sponsorship requirements. With our support, you can quickly start your business and manage your team in the UAE, letting us take care of the legal details.

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