E-commerce business is booming worldwide, and the UAE, as one of the world’s most modern business hubs that have been thriving quite fast in the last decade, is no exception to this trend. Online shopping has become a big part of almost every business today and is changing the business model as the number of e-shoppers is constantly increasing. The increasing demand for an e-commerce license in the UAE proves that online trading will grow even further in the UAE.

Process of applying for an e-commerce license

There are a few steps for registering an e-commerce license in the UAE:

  • Selecting the business jurisdiction: there are mainly two business jurisdictions in the UAE, i) free zone and ii) mainland. Before applying for the e-commerce license, this jurisdiction should be selected. The e-commerce license shall be issued by the corresponding authorities then.

Selecting the business’ legal structure: the most common legal forms in the UAE are either an LLC, company branch, representative office, or sole establishment. This step is essential for registering the e-commerce license.

Registering the trade name: there are terms and regulations for selecting a trade name. Once selected, the corresponding authorities will issue the initial approval stating that the chosen name is available and meets the set criteria.

Submitting the e-commerce application: this process depends on the selected jurisdiction. For the mainland, the Department of Economic Development (DED) will issue the license, while in free zones, the free zone authorities directly should be approached for registering the license.

Step by Step Guide on Registering an E-commerce Business in the UAE - Smart Zone

Required documents for registering the e-commerce license

The required documents for registering the license are as follows:

  1. Passport or visa copies of all shareholders
  2. Passports or Emirates ID of sponsors and local partners
  3. Local sponsor or local service agreement
  4. NOC from the relevant authority
  5. Draft of the MoA approved by all shareholders

Once the application is completed, the main applicant can apply for their UAE residence visa and a limited number of visas for their employees (this number depends on the size, location, and nature of the business). The visa application process is rather straightforward, even for the main applicant’s dependents. If the intended business also involves trading physical goods, entrepreneurs also need to rent a warehouse. This can be either opted for a third party logistics or be built independently by the entrepreneurs. The last step to take before running a business in the UAE is opening a corporate bank account. Every bank in the UAE have their own regulations and criteria for opening a bank account, and they offer various services suitable for specialized business fields. Thus, it is important to choose them carefully. For a smooth e-commerce business setup in Dubai Mainland or Free Zone, call +97155 233 0077 and talk to one of Smart Zone‘s business setup experts.