Guide for General Trading License in the UAE

Dubai is well known as a trading hub of the Arab region. The perfect infrastructure, reasonably priced energy, as well as advanced and flawless communication systems make it the most preferred trading destination for traders and international businesses. Moreover, it is strategically located so as to maintain good connectivity with other Asian and European trading destinations. Consequently, the area has witnessed significant growth in trade and logistics because of this advantage.  However, every trader and company that is involved in such activities must acquire a general trading license in UAE to plan a smooth trade. 

The trading industry is one of the prominent and growing industries in the UAE. Because of this, the general trading license has become increasingly popular. In fact, every company that plans to settle in UAE and trade internationally prefers a general trading license for several reasons. Through this article, we will get into the features and benefits of this license as well as the general trading license cost in Dubai and other major Emirates. 

What is a general trading license in UAE?

A general trading license in UAE allows businesses to legally sell, distribute, import, export, store, and re-export goods. The owner can trade any number of unrelated goods, such as electronics, food, clothes, furniture, etc. under one license. 

The major advantage of acquiring a general trading license is that it can be used for trading a wide range of products, whereas a trade license covers only specific commodities. On the contrary, certain products are restricted from trading or may require special permission from various authorities. These products include medical drugs, ammunition, alcoholic beverages, etc. 

The entrepreneur has the choice to set up the trading company in UAE mainland, Freezone, or offshore jurisdiction. Every jurisdiction has its own benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, the business owner must thoroughly examine various jurisdictions and come to the final decision of acquiring a general trading license from the selected authorities. 

The business consultants at Shuraa can properly guide you about the laws and regulations of various mainland freezone, and offshore regions of the UAE. 

Benefits of general trading license in UAE 

For companies in UAE mainland : 

  • Less VAT on all trade transactions compared to other countries 
  • Permission of choosing office anywhere in UAE
  • Offers a reliable sponsor for the business 
  • Provision to do business in the local market 
  • Unlimited visa quotas 
  • Allows trade in foreign currencies 
  • Enables easy bank account opening 

For companies in UAE Freezones : 

  • Proximity to seaport and airport 
  • Complete ownership of the company 
  • No customs duty on imports
  • Logistics 
  • Provides warehouses and storage facilities 
  • Better trade and networking with neighbor markets 
  • Exemptions from personal as well as corporate taxes 
  • Simple and quick procedure for license registration 

Other common benefits of acquiring this license are as follows : 

  • Repatriation of assets and profits 
  • Uncomplicated legal formalities 
  • Multiple visa benefits
  • Greater possibilities for trading 
  • Exclusion from annual auditing 
  • Visa sponsorship benefits 
  • Plenty of scopes to grow and diversify the business 
  • No restrictions on the number of staff 

The process of company formation is comparatively easy in freezones than mainland. Besides, the benefits of incorporating the business in freezones are a lot more than in the UAE mainland. Therefore, foreign investors and entrepreneurs choose Freezones as their first choice of business formation in the UAE. 

Steps to obtain a general trading license in UAE 

Applying for a general trading license in the UAE is incredibly straightforward. The basic steps include – 

  • Choose the preferred jurisdiction 

The owner can choose a business location among UAE mainland, freezone, and offshore, whichever is preferable to them. 

  • Decide the legal structure of the business 

The legal structure means the type of company that the businessman wants to start. The structure of the company varies depending on the location you choose. 

  • Determine the business activities 

A general trading license in UAE covers multiple activities under one license which includes import, distribution, sale, storage, etc. Thus, the owner can choose any as per their requirement. 

  • Register the trade name of the business 

A business has no identification in the market without a trading name. Hence, the owner must finalize a trading name that matches the nature and activities of the business. Also, the owner must abide by the name convention protocols set by the UAE authorities.

Read Also: What is the Process of Company Formation in Sharjah?

  • Fill in the application form for the license 

Duly fill out the application form for the general trading license with genuine and authentic information. Submission of forged information can consequently lead to the rejection of the application. 

Further steps for general trading license registration are as follows : 

  • Submit all the important documents 
  • Pay the license fee 
  • Get necessary approvals from the authorities
  • Get the general trading license 
  • Open a corporate bank account 

Documents required for general trading license in UAE : 

  • Copy of passport of the owner and shareholders, if any
  • Duly filled application form 
  • Trade name registration certificate or approval from the respective authority 
  • UAE visa/entry permit 
  • Emirates ID 
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Business plan 
  • Memorandum of Association 

Renewal of General trade license in UAE 

The validity of a general trading license in UAE is one year, which the owner can renew accordingly. Although companies are exempted from submitting annual audit reports, there are several mandate documents that the owner must submit before the authorities, such as – 

  • Trade license 
  • License registration application form 
  • Tenancy contract/Ejari certificate 
  • Passport copies of the owners/shareholders 
  • Prior approval from the relevant authorities 

After renewal, the general trading license can be renewed for an extended term depending on the type of business. 


UAE is not just about sparkling oceans and glittering nightlife, but also booming businesses and incredible trade opportunities. That’s why traders and investors from all around the world show their keen interest in choosing UAE as their work as well as home base. They would of course want to exploit the facilities offered by the UAE government to their advantage. Nonetheless, they need to acquire a legitimate general trading license to enjoy these facilities.

A general trading license in UAE covers a wide variety of activities. From trading toys to furniture, jewelry to electronic appliances, except for a few restricted items, the owner can trade as many unrelated goods they want. Nevertheless, the owner can seek external approval from the competent authority to trade these restricted products.

Besides, a general trading license provides a stable and reliable platform to generate more revenue and supports business expansion. But before finalizing the trade activities, business license, and other relevant aspects, it is important to discuss the same with an experienced and qualified business consultant.

Shuraa Business Setup ensures that the entire process of company formation and license acquisition in the UAE runs smoothly. Besides, our experts can guide you through the regulatory requirements in different jurisdictions, explain general trading license cost in Dubai, and the entire process of attaining approvals and permissions from the authorities.

Furthermore, our team at Shuraa performs the A to Z procedures to help you establish your business and other associated tasks of business setup in the UAE. From visa applications to all the necessary admin tasks, we will take care of everything!

Get in Touch!

So, talk to us now and get a varied selection of customized services for company formation in UAE at affordable packages. Reach out to us with your queries at or directly talk to our experts at +971 44081900. For chat queries, you can connect with us via WhatsApp at +971 50 777 5554.


Sakina Burhan is a good experience writer, blogger and social media promoter by providing valuable information which helps readers to get more ideas.

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