For a foreign investor to start a trading company in UAE, they must obtain a Trading License from any of the business jurisdictions in the region. This blog will provide the answer to the question “How to get a Trading License in UAE?”

It is a perfect time to start a trading company by obtaining a trading license in UAE. The trade and commerce sector in the region is showing positive growth. The growth is driven by a series of government-led initiatives to boost the economy of the UAE.

Getting a Trading License in UAE helps the investors to conduct specialized trade in the local and international markets. The foreign investor can start operating a trading company in the UAE mainland or any of the Free Zones in the Country.

There is a huge growth opportunity for specialized trading in UAE. There is a steady demand for trading in building materials, engineering equipment, etc., due to the construction boom in the region.


Additionally, a specialized Trading License in UAE helps investors to conduct business in sectors such as garments, foodstuff, electronics, chemical trading, and more. Investors require a General Trading License in UAE to trade multiple items under a single license.

Trading License in UAE is the most in-demand business license category among investors due to the enormous business opportunities available in the middle-east and international markets.

Steps in Getting a Trading License in UAE

Investors must follow certain steps for getting a trading license in UAE. The steps have to be followed the right way to get the Trading License at the earliest. Entrepreneurs can seek the assistance of experienced Business Consultants such as PATELS Documents Clearing Services

  • Select the company name – shortlist three company names and get the name approval
  • Choose the business jurisdiction – Free Zone or Mainland depending on the scope of the business, office space requirements, office rent, visa quota, etc.
  • Choose the right business activity for the company from the list of business activities available
  • Prepare the application form and submit the list of documents as specified by the business jurisdiction.
  • Get special approvals if necessary. There will be special approvals for selected business activities such as Food Stuff Trading Chemical Trading, etc.
  • Choose the office space depending on the business requirement and prepare the tenancy contract
  • Make the required Fee Payment and submit all the supporting documents – Investor photograph, Passport Copy, Special Approvals (if any), tenancy contract, etc., for review
  • The specific business jurisdiction in UAE will issue the Trading License to the entrepreneurs for a specific period that is subject to renewal ( Minimum 1 year and there are multi-year trading licenses in UAE depending on the business jurisdiction)

Above are the general steps involved in getting a Trading License in UAE. There are two major business jurisdictions in UAE, i.e., Mainland and Free Zone. The general process of obtaining a Trading License is almost similar across business jurisdictions with few differences.  

Taking the assistance of Business Consultants will help to avoid any errors while applying as well as proceed the right way while choosing the business activity, business jurisdiction, office space, and more.

Also, the Business Consultants will be aware of the regulations and specific requirements in each business jurisdiction and guide investors accordingly to speed up the process of obtaining the Trading License in UAE.

How to form a Trading Company in UAE?

Trading Company in UAE can be formed in any of the two business jurisdictions – The Mainland and Free Zones. The process of setting up a Trading Company is similar, however, there are certain specific steps to be followed by an entrepreneur when applying for a Trading License in UAE.

Forming a Trading Company in UAE is becoming easier as the business jurisdictions are processing the requests at a faster pace. Also, the steps in the formation of a Trading Company in UAE are much simplified with minimal documentation to speed up the process.

  1. Forming a UAE Mainland Trading Company

In the case of forming a UAE Mainland Trading Company, the Department of Economic Development of the respective Emirate issues the Trading License. The entrepreneur can form a Limited Liability Company with 2 or more shareholders and start operating their company without any hassle.

As per the latest Commercial Companies Law, there is no requirement for having a UAE National Sponsor for opening a Mainland Trading Company. The foreign investor can obtain the Trading License from DED for their selected business activity, and start running the business in no time.

  1. Forming a UAE Free Zone Trading Company

Similarly, in the case of forming  the respective Free Zone is the governing and licensing authority. Entrepreneurs can choose from a wide range of company packages, business activities, and more.


Depending on the specific trading activity, the global investor can choose a company package with ample visa quotas for hiring staff, a well-equipped office, and other facilities. The offer various business activities for trading companies to conduct business.

Expert Business Consultants will guide investors through the right company package after precisely studying the business requirement. There are multiple advantages for investors in forming a Free Zone Trading Company.

Advantages of Forming a Free Zone Trading Company

  • 100 % foreign ownership and full profit transfer to home country
  • Favorable Tax incentives and exemptions
  • No Import Duty for goods imported to the Free Zone
  • Easy Access to Seaports and Airports in UAE
  • In-house Customs Clearance in designated Free Zones
  • Strategic Location that connects easily with international markets – Air, Sea, Land
  • Easy Company Setup with minimal documentation
  • Access to World-Class Facilities – Warehouses, Office Space, and other Infrastructure

Thus, forming a Trading Company in any UAE Free Zones is highly beneficial for global investors. There is great flexibility in business operations – Customs Clearance, Free Zone approvals, logistics support, etc., while conducting business from a Free Zone jurisdiction.

Cost of a Trading Company in UAE

The Cost of a Trading Company in the UAE varies depending on the business jurisdiction. In the mainland of UAE, the cost of a Trading Company License is about AED 25,000 inclusive of the license fee, virtual office fee, initial approvals, etc.

The Trading License fee in UAE will vary depending on the office space location, rent, and visa processing for employees. In the UAE mainland, the trading company cost can be kept low by taking office space in a cheaper location.

Hence, multiple factors contribute to the cost of a Trading Company in UAE, i.e., the number of visas required, office space requirement, visa cost for employees/investors, and more.


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