As the UAE residents are shifting more to online shopping every year, many entrepreneurs and businessmen are also considering setting up e-commerce businesses in the UAE. Acquiring an e-commerce license in the UAE requires taking the following steps:

  1. Defining the legal structure,
  2. Determining the business location,
  3. Registering the name of the firm,
  4. Submitting the e-commerce license application,
  5. Submitting the initial approval certificate application,
  6. Drifting the local service agent agreement/MOA
  7. Renting office space,
  8. If applicable, registering with ports and customs authorities,
  9. Collecting the issued license,
  10.  Opening a corporate bank account.

License in UAE - Smart Zone

Depending on the activities that fall under the requested e-commerce license, the license costs can vary. However, the most common costs that applicants can expect are:

  1. Registration fees,
  2. Office rent,
  3. Sponsorship costs,
  4. Local partnership costs, if applicable,
  5. Visa costs (also for partners if applicable),
  6. Immigration card costs,
  7. Company stamp,
  8. Foreign name charges,
  9. Medical insurance fees,
  10. Government fees.

An e-commerce license can range from AED 8,000 to 40,000 depending on the the business activities and business jurisdiction.

As mentioned above, based on the business activities falling under a license and the nationality of the entrepreneurs, there are various types of e-commerce licenses issued in the UAE. However, the three most common licenses that cover most of the business activities in the UAE are as follows:

  1. E-trader license: this license is suitable for those who would like to offer their services online or sell their products online. Recently, foreigners have also become eligible to acquire this license, as well as the UAE nationals. This license can only be obtained under single ownership, and under this license, one cannot open shops or rent physical space for running a business.
  2. Portal license: foreign entrepreneurs can also request a portal license. This license allows successful applicants to run an online business and link buyers and sellers. Such a license is ideal for providing listings and subscriptions to products, services, and reservations. 
  3. Virtual company license: this license is relatively recent and allows overseas investors and foreign businessmen to carry out commercial activities in the UAE. It is worth mentioning that this license is limited to three sectors: computer programming and related activities, designing activities, advertising and printing, and pertaining activities.


For more details on E-commerce license setup in Dubai mainland or UAE Free Zone, call +971 55 233 0077  or email us to schedule a free consultation with one of Smart Zone‘s Business Setup Advisors.