There are many reasons for starting a business in the UAE, from the modern facilities and infrastructures to the zero income and incorporation tax policies that the government offers to foreign investors. These unique strategies are in line with creating a more competitive business environment and a thriving economy. For carrying out any trades in the UAE, foreign entrepreneurs need to have a general trading license. As its name suggests, the general trading license’s main purpose is to enable businessmen to perform general trading, mainly covering import and export business affiliated activities. The main benefit of acquiring this license is the zero tax policies associated with the import and export goods and commodities. Of course, this is except for special merchandise that requires special approvals from different Municipalities of the UAE (such as medical products, guns, alcohol, alcoholic beverages, frozen foods, and cars). These merchandises cannot be traded even after acquiring the general trading license. Except for this limitation, the general trading license provides unique opportunities for entrepreneurs to transact trades in nationwide and global markets. 

Benefits of applying for a trading license in the UAE

There are numerous advantages to obtaining a general trading license:

  • Easy application submission: the straightforward and easy process of applying for the general trading license has made this license quite popular among foreign entrepreneurs. Most of the procedure is online, and meeting the license’s suitability standards has been facilitated significantly in recent years.
  • Cost-effective business setups operational through acquiring the general trading license: this license facilitates the business operation as the tax policies and starting application costs are quite cost-effective. This especially becomes clear if entrepreneurs compare the costs of launching free zone incorporations with starting a business through the general trading license (about only AED 9,200).
  • Freedom in selecting the business location: the general trading license does not limit entrepreneurs to a specific free zone or location in the UAE for launching their business.
  • Multiple visa application possibility: applying for an unlimited number of visas for operating a business is a significant factor for businesses that require a huge workforce but do not require a huge company or warehouse to be rented and assigned to the business during the business registration process. 
  • Possibility of sharing the business with stockholders: the general trading license enables entrepreneurs to launch their business by introducing other shareholders that bring in capital for operating their business at any point of their business operation.
  • Simple way of obtaining visas for the dependents of the main license applicant: one of the huge advantages of applying for a general trading license is facilitating relocating to the UAE completely for operating a business. As the UAE has proved to be an ideal place for expat families, many foreign entrepreneurs are searching for easy ways to obtain visas for their dependents as well before launching their business and moving to the UAE. 

Trading License in Free Zone and Dubai Mainland

If obtaining a general trading license in Dubai, the first and most important step to applying for a general trading license requires partnering with a local business partner that owns 51% of the business shares. It is noteworthy that revenues and profits are not subject to the same division of shares. Sponsors or patrons must be specialists, business possessors or government workers, and citizens of the UAE.

  • Based on the nature of the business, the general trading license costs in Dubai Mainland would be between AED 15,000 to 40,000. The whole process takes no longer than a week. 
  • Free Zone general trading license would normally cost between AED 9,200 to AED 20,000, and the whole process can take about a week.

Starting a UAE Business - Smart Zone

Smart Zone

Our team of Business Setup Experts can guide you on obtaining your general trading license from either Dubai Mainland or Free Zone. Call +97155 233 0077 to schedule a free consultation.