How to Get a General Trading License in Dubai, UAE (2023)
General trading license in Dubai is one of the most in-demand and, hence, widely issued trade license in Dubai and across the UAE. This is because Dubai is steadily cementing itself as one of the foremost business hubs, not only in the Middle East but also in the rest of the world. Its enviable geographic location has gained it immense popularity among global entrepreneurs, particularly with commodity traders.
What is general trading?
General Trading is the activity of trading in a broad array of commodities and across multiple industries.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government agency responsible for issuing trade licenses in Dubai. It describes general trading as follows:
General Trading includes commercial firms that engage in the activity of importing, trading, and re-exporting goods, legally allowed by the UAE government. Some trading activities require no approvals while some others need specific approvals. The trading activities that do require special approvals are eligible to apply for a general trading license, provided they obtain the necessary NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the relevant departments.
A general trading company is not restricted to any singular trade activity. It can operate across business activities as diverse as machinery and chemicals to real estate and foodstuff trading, all under one license.
Difference between general trading license vs trade license
Commodity trading in the UAE requires commercial trade license and is of two kinds:
- general trading
- trading specific goods
To start a general trading company in Dubai or in any other emirate of the UAE, you must apply for a General Trading License, which is a Commercial License, with the DED in Dubai.
For trading an individual commodity, you require a trading license specific to that commodity. For instance, to start a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, you must apply for a Foodstuff Trading License.
Cost of General Trading License in Dubai
General trading license cost in Dubai is also slightly higher. This is because it allows you to trade in several products under one license and also provides greater scope for business growth and diversification. This, in turn, makes it a more cost-effective solution when compared to a single-activity license.
Difference between general trading license and regular trade license.
|GENERAL TRADING LICENSE||REGULAR TRADING LICENSE|
|Allows trading a wide range of products||Allows trading only one group of products|
|Allows trade across multiple industries||Limits trade to only one industry|
|Cost of license is comparatively higher||Cost of license is comparatively lower|
|Wide scope of business diversification||No scope of business diversification|
Activities Under General Trading License
While general trading covers a broad spectrum of activities, some of the most common business activities under general trading license in Dubai include the following:
- Import & Export
- Retail store
- Online selling
- Trading multiple products
- Medical products (Dubai Health Authority approval required)
How to Get General Trading License in Dubai
Previously, a foreign entrepreneur was required to partner with an Emirati, known as Local Sponsor, to start a general trading company. The shareholding structure for this arrangement used to be 51-49, with 51% shares signed to the local sponsor and 49% shares remained with the expat owner.
But with the recent amendments to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL), implemented by the UAE government, you can now retain 100% ownership as well as 100% profits of your general trading company as a foreign entrepreneur.
Documents required to apply for general trading license:
If you are a resident of the UAE
- Passport copy
- UAE residence visa copy
- Emirates ID copy
If you are a non-resident of the UAE
- Passport copy
- UAE visit visa copy
Applying for a general trading license is a straightforward process involving the following steps:
- Submit all your documents to the DED
- Receive government payment voucher
- Pay the necessary fees
- Receive your general trading license
Benefits of general trading license in the UAE
- 100% ownership of your business
- Trade license issued in just one hour
- Office is not a mandatory requirement to get the license
- 100% repatriation of profits and capital
- Can become a vendor with e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Noon
- No restriction on the number of activities or products undertaken under one license
- Wide scope of business without restriction on distribution
- Get the license from your country of residence, without travelling to the UAE
General trading is one of the most popular business licenses in the country, and for good reason. Finding a deal offering the best cost for general trading license in Dubai is not easy. Therefore, it is important that you reach out to the right people to get the right advice and support for your company formation in a new country.
For over 20 years, Shuraa Business Setup has been helping foreign investors and entrepreneurs set up and maintain their business ventures in Dubai and across the UAE. We have helped 35,000 entrepreneurs, local as well as international, with their UAE company registration requirements.
Our team of experienced corporate advisors will offer you end-to-end business setup services. Whether you have queries regarding general trading license in Dubai or want to know how to open a bank account in Dubai, you can rest assured of receiving the most transparent and reliable assistance.