Step by Step Instructions for starting a Trade Company in Dubai

September 10, 2020 Uncategorized 0 Comments

Dubai has been consistently beating all countries as one of the significant business areas on the planet.  Couple of years back there has been a huge growth in business and financial sectors in Dubai. Sectors such as trade, logistics have also shown remarkable growth. So, starting a general trading company in Dubai is a beneficial investment.

If you are planning in starting a company then Dubai has been consistently beating all countries as one of the significant business areas on the planet. Couple of years ago there has Neral trading association in Dubai and was wondering how to start, we have made life easier for you. Below is a step by step guide to get a general trading license in Dubai.

Steps to Start a General Trading Company:

1- Develop a business plan

The first step for starting a general trading business is to develop a business plan. A good business plan will consider almost all factors such as market condition, competitions, products and activities, total number of employees, office space requirement, Initial investment, Marketing tactics, Investors and financing. These factors determine workings of business. Study these factors thoroughly and create a wise business plan.

2- Choose the Jurisdiction

Dubai market is classified into three jurisdictions, namely free zones, offshore, and mainland. There are currently 48 free zones in Dubai. Free zone offers 100% exemption on corporate and personal income and 100% ownership to the investors. In mainland, the business investors need to find a sponsor for setting up a company who hold 51% shares of the business. Offshore company is the company that is setup in the country different from the country of residence of investor. Choose the jurisdiction according to the requirements of your company. It is better to start you company in Dubai mainland because there is more exposure to the customers, you can trade with other companies in Dubai, there is no limitation on issuance of work visas and open multiple branches.

3- Find a Sponsor

If you wish to setup your company in Dubai mainland, you need to find a sponsor for your business. The sponsor will hold 51% shares in your company. You cannot start a company in mainland without getting your business sponsored by UAE national. There are two types of sponsorship; local sponsorship and corporate sponsorship. While a local sponsor will hold 51% shares in your business, corporate sponsor will give you 100% ownership through investor’s right protection contract.

4- Legal Formalities

Getting a license for your business is very important as it makes your business legal. The company which is trading, importing and exporting needs a general trading license. This license includes the business of products like clothes, accessories, pieces of equipment, furniture and fixtures, and electronic appliances. Steps to get general trading license are as follows:

  • Choose a trade name for the company
  • Plan your business activities
  • Apply for initial approval from DED.
  • Getting external approvals if required
  • Prepare Memorandum of Association (MOA)and get it signed by your partners
  • Choose a business location and get a tenancy contract properly attested by Ejari.
  • Submit the application to the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • Pay the fee for the issuance of the license

If you are applying for license in free zone or offshore, you are required to submit the original documents to the Commercial Registry at the trade license and commercial registration department. DED will issue the trading license after getting approval from trade license and commercial registration department. Documents required for application of general trading license in Dubai are as follows:

  • A license application signed by managers or legal representatives.
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Attested company name approval letter from DED
  • Copy of passport and visas of partners

Once you submit these documents, the company officials will check and verify and add your trade name to commercial registry. The DED will forward your documents to the Federal Ministry of Economy for its publication. The ministry will issue the approval letter on successful publication.


For starting a general trading business, you first need to derive a business plan. A business plan will give direction to your business. Once you have a business plan, choose the jurisdiction of your company. The next step is to find a sponsor for your company. At this stage, you will need to complete all the legal formalities to set up your business. You’ll get the general trading company license once you finish all the formalities.