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Business Licenses in UAE

There is a wide range of Business Licenses in UAE that caters to specific investor requirements. Over the years new company incorporations are on a rise due to the demand from foreign investors for setting up a company in the region. A business license in UAE is a permit from the licensing authority to the registered company for running their business in the country.

So, the company license in UAE allows the business owner to conduct business on the selected business activity. To attract a diverse category of business owners, UAE has a wide range of trade licenses available across 3000+ business activities.

The availability of numerous types of business licenses in UAE helps entrepreneurs to effectively establish a company utilizing the specific business license type. The government of the UAE is constantly introducing entrepreneur-friendly policies like Long Term Residence Visa, reducing certain business setup fees, etc., to promote new company incorporation in the country.

UAE aims to drive its economy to greater heights by inviting more investors to the UAE market and providing world-class infrastructure for establishing companies in the country.

The company License in UAE is the legal document from the licensing authority, which is either the respective Free Zone authority or the Department of Economy of the respective Emirate. The Company License in UAE, Sharjah starts at AED 5,500 for zero visa quota. Also, the investor gets a virtual office license with up to 5 business activities as part of the package.

Free Zones, Mainland, and Offshore Business License in UAE

The Free Zones, Mainland, and Offshore provide investors with a lot of options to choose for setting up their company in UAE. 

There are various parameters to consider while choosing the right business jurisdiction for establishing a company in UAE. Few of them are nature of your business, the activities required, office space specifications, visa quota requirements, etc.

Business Licenses in UAE

There are three main business jurisdictions – The Free Zone, Mainland, and Offshore. Depending on the investor’s business requirement they can choose. For foreign investors, the Free Zone is most preferred due to the complete ownership, favorable taxation policy, and more.

How to get a Free Zone Business License in UAE?

Obtaining a Free Zone business License in UAE enables investors to start a company in the Free Zone. Investors can choose from a list of business activities, and business license types, and set up their dream company.

Depending on the office space, visa quota, and other business requirements, they can choose the business packages across the UAE Free Zones. In Dubai, the Free Zone Company License is AED 14,900 for a Zero Visa quota.

Steps in Obtaining a Free Zone Business License in UAE

Obtaining a business license from the Free Zone is one of the most streamlined processes. However, there are certain documentation and process to follow to obtain the business license from the Free Zone the most hassle-free way.

Following are the broad steps in obtaining the Free Zone Business License in UAE.

  1. Choose the tradename for the company and get the name approval from the respective Free Zone authority
  2. Select the right business activity as well as the business license type
  3. Submit the investor passport copy, photograph, and application form to the Free Zone
  4. Make the required fee payment for obtaining the business license
  5. The Free Zone authorities will review the application and issue the business license for the investors
  6. The investor must next apply for a UAE residence visa and bank account with the trade license received

There are Trade Licenses in UAE available for really diverse business sectors. From online shopping to trading in aircraft parts, there are a variety of trade licenses that get issued in the UAE daily.

Business Owners can obtain the Trade License in UAE within 2 Working Days in most of the Free Zones. However, the documentation must be submitted in the right format, and all required information must be provided by the business owner.

AURION will assist investors to obtain the business license at the fastest possible time at the lowest cost.

How to get a Mainland Business License in UAE?

Mainland companies prefer investors who aim at expanding their business to the local UAE market. Also, Mainland companies have a provision to add more branches and hire more staff easily.

Mainland Business Licenses

The latest amendment of 100% expatriate ownership in mainland companies is a major factor in the popularity of mainland companies in the UAE. Global investors can open a fully-owned mainland company in a wide range of business activities.

Steps in Obtaining a Mainland Business License in UAE

The most common company type in the mainland is the limited liability company and here is how you can obtain a mainland business license and start operating an LLC Company.

  1. Reserve the company trade name and get approval from the respective Department of Economic Development (DED) of the Emirates
  2. Select the trade activities and business license type depending on the business requirements
  3. Submit the application form, the investor passport copy, and photograph to DED
  4. Pay the required fee for obtaining the business license from the mainland of UAE.
  5. The business license will be issued after the approval from the DED
  6. With the business license, the investor can apply for a corporate bank account as well as take a UAE Residence visa under the company.

There are many advantages to obtaining a company license from the UAE mainland. The complete flexibility in taking office anywhere in the Emirate, hiring more staff without any visa quota restriction, taking warehouse space if required, adding retail outlets and branches easily, and more make UAE Mainland an attractive choice.

There is no requirement of a UAE National Sponsor anymore for opening a mainland company in UAE.

How to get an Offshore Business License?

Offshore is a business jurisdiction in the UAE that consists of Non-Resident Companies. There are no residence visas eligibility for the companies and also they cannot own or lease physical office space in UAE.

Offshore businesses are mainly virtual companies registered with the same address as their REGISTERED AGENTS and are international companies operating globally. They mostly facilitate international trade and operations remotely.

The Offshore companies will not be having a trade license instead, they have a Certificate of Incorporation. Offshore companies in UAE are formed to boost international trade among countries. They are non-resident companies that indulge in global trade operating from UAE.

Choosing the Right Business Jurisdiction – Things to Consider

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

There are a host of benefits in UAE like growing domestic demand from the ex-pat population, applying for government contracts, Low taxation, a wide range of business licenses, business activities, 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 License in Dubai

To start a company in Dubai having a business license is an essential requirement. The licensing authority with issue the specific license based on the selected business activity.  In Dubai, there are various business license types such as Commercial/Trading, Professional/Services, Industrial/Manufacturing, and Freelance Permit.

Dubai has evolved as a favorite business destination for entrepreneurs from around the world. The city offers an infrastructure that is ideal for any business to easily scale up and achieve profitability.

1. Commercial License in Dubai

Commercial License in Dubai is for companies involved in buying and selling goods. It is one of the most sought after business license in Dubai. Obtaining a Commercial License in Dubai will permit the companies to conduct trade inside of UAE and globally with out any hassle.

There are various commercial activities in Dubai ranging from trading in food stuff, trading in chemicals, electronics, garments, and more.  For example, if you are focusing on trading multiple items in the local UAE market, you can apply for a general trading license from the authorities in Dubai.

Business Licenses in Dubai

Similarly, for any sort of imports/exports, there is an import-export code that you will have to obtain from the Port and Customs Department of Dubai. The General Trading License along with the Import/Export Code enables the investor to import or export goods to and from UAE.

For the trade of specific items like Computers, Automobiles, equipment, and building materials, there are specific Commercial/Trading license with the business activity mentioned in the trade license.

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 Activities for Business License in Dubai

  • 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

2. 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. The Professional License/Services License is one of the most popular business licenses in Dubai.

Entrepreneurs in the professional field take the Services License in Dubai to start and operate their own business establishments in the country.

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

Following are the Business Activities that fall under the 0specific 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

3. Industrial License in Dubai

For businesses involved in 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.

Industrial/ Manufacturing License is an essential business license in Dubai for operating a large or small industrial unit. There are various activities that are under the Industrial License category in Dubai.

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

4. 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 Permits to individuals.

Freelancer Licenses are available for the following creative and media professionals.

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

Small Business License in UAE 

There is immense potential in UAE for small business owners due to the growing requirement and demand for various support services in the region. Large multinational companies, restaurant chains, retail units, etc., depending on small companies for several support services such as distribution, transport, logistics, and more.

The Free Trade Zones in UAE are launching special promotional packages with attractive benefits for small businesses in UAE to obtain a trade license at a lower cost. Small business License in UAE is gaining traction as new entrepreneurs and freelancers are always looking at ways to keep their operational cost low.

To cost-effectively conduct business and trade operations for new entrepreneurs, obtaining a small business license In UAE is the ideal way. The investor gets access to a wide range of business activities and access to the best business infrastructure, all at a lower cost.

License Issuing Authority

A business License in Dubai mainland is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED). When it comes to Free Zones, it is the respective Free Zone Authority that issues the business license. The same goes for the Offshore Business types too.

When starting a new business, entrepreneurs are faced with a number of important decisions. Firstly, 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.

There are over 3000 permitted activities to choose from on the activity list of DED and free zone authorities. Choosing a business activity in UAE can be quite confusing. However, AURION will assist you to select the right business activity and set up your business in Dubai.

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

When you are looking for 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 the ease of company formation, a wide range of business activities, and a host of business benefits for investors.

To know further about Business licenses in UAE and Company Formation in the UAE, talk to our experts right away!

Contact: Aurion Business Consultants

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