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What is a DED License in Dubai

Foreigners Business Guide to Dubai Mainland Company 100 Ownership

What is a DED License in Dubai? Becoming familiar with the rules and regulations set by the Dubai Department of Economic Development or DED Dubai is one of the most important steps before considering starting a business in Dubai. The goal of the DED is to provide foreign entrepreneurs and investors with the most efficient and cost-effective business strategies, in line with improving and accelerating the sustainable growth of Dubai’s economy through strategic plans and policies. 

DED Dubai’s ultimate vision is to make ​Dubai a pivotal hub in the global economy. To fulfill this significant aim of DED, the organization has introduced six strategic pillars, each aimed at creating the right infrastructure, technology, and regulatory framework. These pillars are in line with encouraging locals, foreign investors, businesses, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to conduct business in Dubai. 

DED’s Six Strategic Pillars
  1. Economic Growth 
  2. Economic competitiveness
  3. Business community happiness
  4. Economic foresight and planning
  5. Advance DED
  6. Financial sustainability
Divisions of DED in Dubai

The DED is mainly divided into four different divisions, each aiming at supporting various sectors of Dubai’s economy. 

  • Dubai Exports 
  • Dubai FDI 
  • Dubai SME 
  • Dubai Economy 
Choose UAE’s Dubai DED Services 

Currently, there are 2,100 business activities​ in Dubai for which DED Dubai can issue a trade license. These business activities mainly fall under four distinct categories:

  • industrial, 
  • commercial, 
  • professional,
  • tourism activities.

Other services offered by Dubai DED can be listed in the following categories:

Legal Contract Related Services
  • Issue Legal Contract for License
  • Approve Legal Contract
  • Print Legal Contract


  • Partner Licenses 
  • Transaction Status/Payments
  • Search Business Activities
  • Search License Information
  • Search Trade Names
  • Search Sales and Promotions
Public E-Forms
  • Commercial Permit eForm
  • Fill out the Registration and Licensing Application Form

How to Obtain a Dubai DED (Dubai Mainland) License?

The process of applying for a DED license in Dubai is relatively straightforward and can be accomplished by following a few steps: 

1. Determining the business jurisdiction: Dubai has mainly two jurisdictions to choose from for conducting a business, e.g., mainland and free zone. Conducting a business in these two jurisdictions has its advantages and disadvantages. To run a business cost-effectively and to optimize the business performance, it is vital to investigate the cons and pros of each of these jurisdictions before applying for the DED license in Dubai. 

2. Determining the company’s legal structure: Another essential aspect is defining its legal form or the legal entity it will take on. The type of business activity, the number and nationality of owners, and the ownership options will affect the legal form a company can take up. There are 16 legal forms for conducting business activities in Dubai:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • One Person Company (LLC)
  • Civil Company
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Private Share Holding Company
  • Public Share Holding Company
  • Simple Limited Partnership
  • Partnership Company
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Representative Office
  • Branch of a Dubai-based Company
  • Branch of a UAE-based Company
  • Branch of a GCC-based Company
  • Branch of a Free zone Company
  • Intelaq (Home-based business for UAE Nationals)
  • SME Licence

3. Preparing the documents required for obtaining the DED license: after determining the jurisdiction, the documents necessary to acquire the DED license should be prepared:

  • Valid trade name certificate
  • Valid Initial Approval Certificate
  • Tenancy contract approved by Dubai Municipality and attested by RERA (Ejari)
  • Memorandum of Association (Applicable for LLCs, One Person Company, Private Shareholding Company (Private Joint Stock Co), Public Shareholding Company, Simple Limited Partnership, Partnership Company and Civil Company)
  • Local Service Agent Agreement (Applicable when a UAE national represents the business regarding licensing and compliance.)
  • Approvals from Government bodies (Applicable to specific business types)

Businesses can issue the Trade Name Certificate and Initial Approval Certificate from the e-services platform on the DED website. However, the Memorandum of Association (MoA) must be drafted through a law form such as the DED Legal Affairs or Notary Public. The tenancy contract has to be registered with Ejari for attestation. The additional approvals can be issued from the relevant federal and local government

How Can Choose UAE Help

Our team of Company Formation Specialists can assist and guide you in obtaining a DED License in Dubai for your business and help you decide on the right legal structure according to your requirements. With our A-Z documentation and value-added services, we make a good partner in your business setup in the UAE. 

We also make sure that you benefit from our partnership with the Government authorities, providing end-to-end license processing and straightforward prices that are the lowest in the market. Talk to one of our experts today.

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