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General trade license

General trade license

The Dubai general trading license permits businesses to trade different services and products. This makes the general trade license a versatile license. Dubai has a strategic location, favourable business environment and world-class infrastructure that attracts entrepreneurs and investors from various destinations looking to expand their businesses.

The city provides several opportunities for general trading, including access to a large customer base and a highly skilled workforce. The Dubai government has also implemented several initiatives to promote and support general trading activities, which makes it easier for businesses to thrive in the region.

The Dubai general trading license, also called an instant license allows start-ups to readily set up in the mainland to conduct their trading activities with one license. Getting a general trading license in Dubai opens up many opportunities for businesses that want to expand their market and explore a new market.

What is a general trade license in Dubai?

A Dubai general trade license is a legal permit that lets companies conduct trading activities such as retail and wholesale trading of products or goods, import and export in different industries without restrictions on the number of services or products offered.

The general trade license is one of the popular types of licenses in Dubai and is suitable for businesses that want to carry out several trading activities.

  • Companies that want to engage in activities like exporting, importing, or retail or wholesale trading of products and goods, such as furniture, clothes, electronics, accessories, and others can get a general trade license.
  • If your business involves more than one trading activity across different industries, a general trade license can cover these.
  • Some products, such as vehicles, chemicals, medical supplies, guns and alcoholic beverages aren't eligible for trading with a general trade license because they need clearances from UAE municipalities or approval from higher authorities.

Activities under general trading license

These are activities conducted with the general trading license

  • Wholesale of goods
  • Retail activities
  • Distribution of goods
  • Sales of services
  • Storage of goods
  • Trading of multiple products
  • Import and export goods

The general trade license also allows the sale, export, import and purchase of mixed goods. With this license, you can trade electronics and toys at the same time.

Process for general trade license in Dubai

You can follow these steps to get a general trade license in Dubai.

  • Choose your jurisdiction

    Decide if you want to set up the business in a freezone or on the mainland. Freezones offer attractive benefits for traders, including low tax rates, simplified regulations and 100% ownership.

  • Select a company name

    Choose a trade name for your business that adheres to the naming guidelines in Dubai. The name must be unique and not contain any restricted or offensive words.

The following are important rules to consider when choosing a name for your business in Dubai.

Transliteration –

The name should be transliterated into English and Arabic and not contain special icons or characters

Prohibited names –

Brand names, blasphemous or offensive names are not allowed, including words related to regions, countries or religions.

Restricted words –

You cannot use some words like International and Universal as starting words for the company name.

Duplicate name check –

The name must not have a duplicate in both languages

Premium categories –

Trade names are under two categories, A and B, which have varying fees and requirements

Obscenity and decency –

The name must not contain words that offend public decency or obscene words.

Names of Government or countries –

Using names of governments or countries requires approval from the respective embassy

Validity and renewal –

The trade name is valid for six months and requires a renewal to maintain its legality

Trademark registration –

You must register the trademarks associated with the trade name with the Ministry of Economy.

Franchise Names –

If operating as a franchise, you can use the trade name if you submit the franchise contract to the Department of Economic Development.

License requirement –

Failing to secure a trade name will lead to trade name cancellation

Name change or cancellation –

The Department of Economic Development has the authority to change or cancel a trade name if it violates terms and conditions

Timely payment –

Payment of trade name registration fees must be within 72 hours of payment authorisation issuance

Complying with these rules and guidelines will ensure a smooth general trade business registration.

  • Apply for initial approval

    Submit the chosen company name for initial approval. After approval, proceed with the license application.

  • Secure office space

    Depending on the type of trading business, you may need to rent a suitable office space for operations and storage.

  • Get customs clearance

    If you import goods, you will register with the customs authority to get a customs clearance and an import code. This ensures payment of the applicable fees and customs regulations.

Each step may need additional procedures and requirements, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Ensure you consult us, as we understand the specific requirements to get a general trade license.

How much is a general trade license in Dubai?

The cost of a general trace license in Dubai may vary, depending on different factors, such as location, type of company and additional services. However, generally, the cost of this license ranges from AED 25000 to AED 35000.

Ensure you consult a professional business setup consultant to guide you with the specific procedures and their costs.

Documents for a general trading license in Dubai

You need the following documents to set up a company in Dubai with individual shareholders.

  • Copy of your passport for identification
  • A recent passport-size photo, usually with a white background
  • A copy of your residence visa if you are a Dubai resident to prove your legal residency
  • Copy of Emirate ID – The Emirates ID is a unique identification card issued to UAE residents

You need the following to set up a company with corporate shareholders

  • Certificates of incorporation – the document confirming the legal creation of the company and its registration with the appropriate authorities
  • Certificate of incumbency or equivalent – this document lists the company's current directors, shareholders and officers and provides information on the company's corporate structure
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA) – this is a legal document outlining the company’s power, objectives and internal governing rules
  • Board Resolution – this document is issued by the company’s board of directors. It authorises the company to conduct general trading activities and approve the general trading license application

Why apply for the general trade license in Dubai

A general trading company in Dubai has several opportunities and advantages that make it attractive to entrepreneurs. Some reasons to consider include:

  • Access to international and local markets

    The general trade license allows you to export, import and distribute different goods internationally and locally while benefiting from Dubai’s global trade routes and thriving market.

  • Low tax rate

    The low tax rate and no corporate or personal income tax allow maximum profit and reinvestment in business growth.

  • Diversified product range

    A general trade license allows you to trade different products, catering to different customers and expanding the business potential.

  • Efficient and simple process

    Getting a general trading license isn't complicated. The process is streamlined, and can be compiled in one week, saving you effort and time.

  • Sponsorship benefits

    The general trading license makes sponsoring dependants and employees easier, supporting visa applications for your workforce and their well-being in the UAE.

  • Strategic location

    Dubai has a strategic location that makes it a global trade centre offering access to international markets. It also creates opportunities for networking and expansion.

  • World-class infrastructure

    Dubai provides state-of-the-art infrastructure, including ports, logistics facilities, freezones and airports for efficient supply chain management and seamless trade operations.

  • Supportive business environment

    The government in Dubai actively supports businesses and offers different support services, including marketing, networking, finance and legal services, to help your trading company grow.

  • Business opportunities and high demand

    Dubai’s thriving economy, business-friendly policies and affluent population create a favourable market with a high demand for quality services and products.

General trade license in Dubai

Investors interested in establishing a retail or wholesale business in the Dubai mainland need a general trading license.

  • Instant license option

    The Dubai economy gives an instant license with one-year validity to eliminate the need for immediate office space. However, when you complete the first year, the investor must renew the license and get a physical office space for business in and outside the UAE.

  • Permits entrepreneurs to engage actively in local trade within UAE
  • No limitations on the number of employment visas, depending on the secured office space
  • Easy company formation process in the mainland – the LLC company structure is common among investors
  • Getting a local sponsor for an LLC company is easier with a business consultant’s help

General trade license in the freezone

The UAE freezones offer an easy and stress-free company formation process. Our consultants provide general trading license services to meet any investor’s needs.

The general trade license allows investors to gain access to excellent warehouse facilities and logistics in the freezones. This makes international trade operations efficient and smooth.

The main advantages of a general trade license in the freezones include:

  • 100% repatriation of profits
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Exemptions from customs duties
  • Fixed fee for the entire license validity
  • 100% control over the business operations

These benefits make many investors choose freezones to set up their general trading business in UAE.

Dubai Visa and Investment Centre assist investors who need a general trade license. Our consultants will guide you throughout the process and ensure you get your general trade license without stress. Call us today on 971 544563095 for our general trade license service.


The Dubai general trading license is for businesses interested in buying and selling different goods at once. This license is best for retail businesses in Dubai.

If you want to engage in the general trading license in Dubai, you need a general trade license from the Department of Economic Development. The following steps are necessary if you want to engage in general trading.

  • Choose a company name and legal structure
  • Finalise your business activity
  • Apply for the general trade license
  • Submit the necessary document
  • Get other approvals
  • Select the location and pay the assigned fees

A general trade license in Dubai has a one-year validity. After this period, you need to renew the license, which has a 5-year validity.

The process for a general trade license in Dubai is straightforward. You can get the general trading license within ten days after submitting the necessary documents.

A trading license allows you to trade one product category, while a general trading license allows you to trade several products across different industries.

You can get a general trading license from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai o start a general trading business. The DED in Dubai is responsible for registering new businesses. However, you need external approval from other non-government and government bodies before performing business activities.

General trading companies in the UAE can import, export, buy, sell and market products. General trading companies can legally perform business activities in the UAE with a general trading license.

You can get a general trade license from the Department of Economic Development in that economic zone. Our consultants can easily set up your general trading company in the UAE.