Everything You Need to Get a General Trading License in Dubai, UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) presents a highly attractive business environment, especially for trade operations. The strategic geographical positioning, flexible legislative norms, and the presence of Free Zones and Mainlands contribute to the UAE’s recognition as a global trading hub. One such opportunity is the General Trading License, which is a popular choice among investors for establishing trading companies. This article presents a comprehensive guide to obtaining and leveraging a General Trading License in the UAE.

Understanding the Scope of General Trading License in UAE

A General Trading License in the UAE serves as a crucial instrument for investors, allowing them to conduct international and local trade operations seamlessly. Whether you’re trading in essential goods, clothes, foodstuffs, machinery, or electronics, a General Trading License has you covered. All permitted commodities can be traded under this license, providing greater flexibility compared to specific license categories.

It enables the selling of a wide range of items, including packed food, home essentials, clothes, personal care products, etc. Additionally, to import and export commodities, the general trading company must secure an import-export code.

The Cost of General Trading License in Dubai

The cost for acquiring a General Trading License in Dubai typically ranges between AED 30,000 and AED 40,000. This fee incorporates trade name approval, initial submission cost, and virtual office contract charges. The license is considered a profitable investment, particularly for investors seeking to trade in multiple goods using a single trade license.


How to Obtain a General Trading License in Dubai

Getting a General Trading License involves a methodical process, beginning with choosing the right jurisdiction: Freezone or Mainland. The following steps outline the procedure:

Choosing the Right Jurisdiction and Business Activities

The first step involves deciding the jurisdiction under which your business will operate and defining the range of business activities you will engage in under the General Trading License.

Selecting a Trade Name and Legal Structure

The next step is to choose a unique name for your company and determine the legal structure it will adhere to.

Filling up the Initial Approval Form

You'll need to fill out an initial approval form and submit it to the relevant authorities for review.

Obtaining Required Approvals

If required, you'll need to secure additional approvals for your business.

Preparing the Necessary Documents

Prepare essential documents such as the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and any other documents approved by the relevant government authorities.

Securing a Business Location and Tenancy Contract

Choose an ideal business location and secure a Tenancy Contract & Ejari.

Acquiring the Trade License

Obtain the Trade License by submitting all necessary documents and fees.

Applying for Residence Visa and Business Bank Account

Finally, apply for a residence visa and a business bank account.

Documents Required

  • A duly filled General Trading License application signed by the investor/manager.
  • Memorandum of Association, Shareholder Agreement, and other relevant documents.
  • An Attested Trade Name Approval Letter from the Dubai Economy or the respective Free zone authority.
  • Passport copy of the Shareholders.

Two Ways of Acquiring a General Trading License in Dubai

A General Trading License can be acquired either from the Dubai Economy or Dubai Free Zones. Each business jurisdiction offers various facilities and cost ranges for investors.


For investors interested in inaugurating a wholesale and retail business in Dubai’s mainland, acquiring a General Trade License from the Dubai Mainland is the most suitable course. The investor can procure the General Trading License in Dubai from the Dubai Mainland following certain steps.

An Instant License is offered by the Department of Economic Development (DED), valid for one year, and doesn’t necessitate office space. However, after a year, the investor needs to renew the license by obtaining physical office space to conduct trade within and beyond the UAE.

The cost of acquiring a General Trading License in the mainland of Dubai ranges from AED 30,000 to AED 40,000. The overall cost for setting up a general trading company in the mainland, which includes the trade license fee, virtual office rent with Ejari for one year, and pre-approvals, will amount to around AED 41,683.


The General Trading License from the Dubai Mainland is a top choice among investors due to its versatility and capacity for business expansion. This licensing option enables entrepreneurs to participate actively in local trading within the UAE market and establish a storefront and office anywhere in the UAE.

For a UAE Mainland General Trading License, there is no limit on the number of visas and employment visas. As an investor, you can recruit staff based on the office space secured.

Foreign investors in the UAE can fully own a mainland company and obtain a General Trading License. The shareholder agreement, along with other supportive documents, must be submitted to the Dubai Mainland to procure the General Trading License in Dubai.


UAE imposes only a 5% VAT on all trade transactions within the country, providing a significant tax advantage compared to European & Asian regions. A General Trading License from DED allows you to establish an office anywhere in the UAE and actively participate in the local market.

The process of company formation in UAE Mainland is streamlined.

The LLC Company Structure is the most popular choice among investors.

Assistance from Business Consultants simplifies finding a local sponsor for LLC companies.

Easy availability of visas for employees.

Visa quota is granted based on the office size secured by the investor.

Hassle-free bank account opening and multi-currency transactions.

Full profit and capital repatriation.


UAE Free Zones present a perfect platform for establishing a General Trading Company. A General Trading License in Dubai offers investors the ability to engage in selling, distributing, storing, importing/exporting a vast range of business activities from retail & wholesale of goods; to the selling of accessories, clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. If your company trades in multiple goods instead of a single item, securing a general trading license in UAE is an excellent choice.

With around 40+ Free Zones in the UAE, general trading is one of the most popular license types among investors. A General Trading License Package from a Free Zone has numerous advantages such as 100% foreign ownership, no import duty for imports to the Free Zone, access to world-class office, logistics, and warehouse facilities, and more.


Tailored Plans, Unbeatable Value

General Trading License

AED 499 / Monthly
Tailored business setup services with dedicated account manager, PRO services, and flexible options for trade activities. Choose Private Wolf for streamlined growth.

General Trading License

AED 30,000 to AED 40,000 / Yearly
Tailored business setup services with dedicated account manager, PRO services, and flexible options for trade activities. Choose Private Wolf for streamlined growth.
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