Company Formation in Dubai – Business License Types and Activities

The company formation and allied services in Dubai are gaining high traction over the years with more and more new company registrations initiated every year.

The government of the UAE is constantly introducing entrepreneur-friendly policies like Long Term Residence Visa, reducing certain business setup fees, etc.

UAE aims to drive its economy to greater heights by inviting more investors to the UAE market and provide world-class infrastructure for business setups.

Free Zones, Mainland and Offshore Companies in the UAE

The Free Zones, Mainland, and Offshore provide the investors with a whole lot of options to choose for the company formation in UAE.

Based on the nature of your business, business activities selected, and the target audience. You can choose which business jurisdiction in the UAE you want to set up your dream company in.

There are a host of business activities to choose from, whether you set up your business in any of the three business jurisdictions.

The rationale behind choosing the right business jurisdiction mainly depends on whether you are targeting only at international markets or are you also considering UAE and the rest of GCC markets for your business.

Also, when it comes to Mainland Company registration, there is a requirement of a local sponsor (51% of shares) and foreign individuals (49% of shares) to start the company and its business operations in the UAE.

There are a host of benefits like operating in the local market, apply for government contracts, set up your business anywhere in the UAE, no limit on employee visa quotas, limited liability company formation, etc.

Whereas in the case of Free Zones, you get benefits such as 100% foreign ownership, 100% profit repatriation, customs duty exemption, world-class infrastructure, easy company formation, etc.

To know more read: Company Formation in Free Zone & Company Registration in the Mainland of Dubai

Types of Business Licenses in the UAE

Choosing the right business license is of utmost importance and one of the first steps in the company formation process in the UAE. Business activities are classified into majorly four business licenses in the UAE.

The most popular Business License types available in the UAE are the following.

Commercial License in Dubai

Commercial License in UAE is issued for companies involved in buying and selling of goods. The Commercial License in Dubai allows companies to conduct trade in the UAE or even outside of UAE.

There are various Commercial License types in UAE for specific business activities.

For example, if you are only focused on trading in the local market, you can apply for a general trading license in the UAE.

 Similarly, for any sort of imports/exports, there is an import-export license that you will have to register from the concerned Business License issuing Authority.

For the trade of specific items like Computers, Automobiles, equipment, building materials, there are specific business license types and business activity list in the UAE.

The investor has to choose a specific Business License in Dubai while registering the company with the respective free zones, mainland or offshore.

Here is a list of Commercial Trade Licenses available for your specific business activities.

  • Publications and media materials trading
  • Used Furniture trading
  • Oil & gas trading
  • Spare parts trading
  • Gold & precious metals trading
  • Trading in chemicals
  • Trading in Automobile
  • Safety equipment trading
  • And many more

Professional License in Dubai

Any individual or company related to the utilization of the intellectual abilities of the individuals is mandatory to have a Professional License for operating their services in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

If the owner is more than one person, the business entity can be registered as a Civil Works Company.

Consulting, audit, legal services are covered under the Professional License in Dubai. Also, IT service providers, professionals, artisans, and craftsmen, etc., could also apply for the Professional License in UAE.

List of Business Activities that fall under specific Professional License category in the UAE.

  • Consultancy & Services
  • Insurance Consultancies
  • Computer Consultancies
  • Information technology Consultancies
  • IT Infrastructure Consultancy
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Tax Consultancy
  • Marketing Consultancies
  • Management Consultancies
  • And many more

Industrial License in Dubai

For business involved in the industrial and manufacturing activities in Dubai and UAE are awarded Industrial License. It is mandatory for the company to have a physical office in the UAE to issue an Industrial License.

Type of specific Industrial License types available

  • Garments Manufacturing License
  • Meat products Manufacturing
  • Dairy Products Manufacturing
  • Animal & Birds Feed Manufacturing
  • Carpet Manufacturing
  • And many more

Freelance Permit

Freelancing has already gained popularity in the UAE. The Free zones of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah are offering Freelance Permits for individuals.

These permits are focused on specialized individuals in the media, technology, art and entertainment sector to offer their services on a consultancy basis, apart from their full-time jobs.

Currently, the Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Internet City, Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone Authority, Fujairah Creative zone, Twofou54, etc., offer Freelance Permit to the individuals.

Freelancer Licenses are issued to the following creative and media professionals.

  • Actor
  • Animator
  • Audio/Sound Engineer
  • Cameraman
  • Content provider
  • Copywriter
  • Media Specialist
  • And many more

Business License Issuing Authorities in Dubai /UAE

In Dubai, the Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government agency that issues Business Licenses for Mainland companies.

When it comes to Free Zones, it is the respective Free Zone Authority that issues the business license. Same goes with the Offshore Business types too.

When starting a new business, entrepreneurs are faced with a number of important decisions. The first one is, which business activity you are going to trade under.

It depends on the industry you are going to trade in and the types of business activities you wish to undertake.

Choosing the business activity can be quite confusing as there are over 3000 permitted activities to choose from in the UAE as per DED and the free zone authorities of the UAE.

Dubai keeps attracting more and more foreign investors due to the excellent facilities and infrastructure offered.

When you are looking at a start to enter the UAE and the world market by opening your business in Dubai, the Free zone business licenses are the most sought after one.

Free Zones Company Licenses are popular due to its ease of company formation, a wide range of business activities and a host of business benefits for the investors.

To know further on Business License types and Company Formation in the UAE, talk to our experts right away!

Contact: Aurion Business Consultants

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About the author

Marketing Consultant working with Aurion Business Consultants. Likes to write on business support services, current market trends, and the latest business updates in the UAE.
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