When setting up your business in one of Dubai’s free zones, one of the crucial steps is to apply for your business licence. Obtaining a business licence in Dubai validates your business as a legal body and permits you to conduct business legally in the region. Without one, your business cannot operate legitimately.
Our blog will run through everything you need to know about applying and renewing your business licences.
Why Choose Dubai?
Over the years, Dubai has become one of the most attractive places for doing business. Given its strategic location and economic diversity, Dubai is one of the leading countries for foreign direct investment in the MENA region (Middle-East North Africa).
In our recent blog on top business opportunities in Dubai for 2021, you will discover insights on which industries have proven to be most successful in this market. The commodity trading business for diamonds, gold and base metals topped the list. Followed by huge growth in the healthcare, real estate, eCommerce and IT sectors.
Depending on which industry you choose to venture into, you will need to apply for the right licence to carry out business legally.
Who Are the Issuing Authorities in Dubai?
Business licence issuing authorities in Dubai differ depending on whether you choose to set up in a free zone or mainland.
The business licence issuing authority in the mainland of Dubai is the Department of Economic Development (DED). However, if you choose to set up in one of Dubai’s free zones, it is the respective free zone authority that issues the business licence.
In the next sections, we elaborate on the types of licences issued DMCC free zone only.
3 Types of Business Licences in DMCC
There are 3 common licence types available in DMCC: trading licence, industrial licence and service licence. The type of licence that’s right for your business will depend on your business’s nature and activities. To view a complete list of the approved activities in DMCC, download our list of approved activities.
Each of the licences has its own characteristics and uses:
1. Trading Licence
To set up a business in Dubai that involves the buying and selling of goods, you need to obtain a trading licence. This licence can cover companies in import and export, sales, general stores, etc.
2. Industrial Licence
This licence type is issued to businesses engaged in manufacturing activities that transform natural materials and resources into final products. This licence covers industries such as gold and precious metals manufacturing.
3. Service Licence
This licence type is issued to businesses that are service providers, artisans or craftsmen. Examples of companies that apply for this type of licence include medical services, beauty salons and repair services.
Top Considerations to Keep in Mind When Obtaining a Business Licence in Dubai
You can obtain your business licence in Dubai by following our step-by-step guide.
1. Categorise Your Business
Before submitting your business licence application, you must first outline your business activities. Depending on the licence you choose, it may be possible to list more than one activity on your application.
2. Choose a Company Name
Choosing a company name in Dubai may require some extra thought, considering the government’s strict naming conventions. Business names that contradict your company's activity, perceived as offensive to religion, or refers to political groups are strictly forbidden. To view the full list of rules and restrictions when it comes to naming your Dubai business, click here.
3. How Much you Need to Invest
Depending on the type of your business, you must have an idea of your investment. The cost to obtain your business licence will depend on your business's nature, its size and the free zone you choose to set up in. Licence fees are a recurring cost and cost around AED 10,000 to AED 50,000 per year.
For a detailed overview of the cost of each licence type, click here.
Documents Required to Obtain Your Business Licence in Dubai
Along with your application, you may need to submit additional documents to obtain your business licence in DMCC:
- Upload Third Party NOC - Third-party approval may be required for certain regulated business activities. If this is the case, please reach out to the relevant third-party authority to receive a No Objection Certificate. Upload the NOCs once received.
- Upload Bank Letter – If your share capital is more than AED 500,000, please reach out to your preferred bank with the introduction letter provided by DMCC to receive the bank deposit letter.
- Upload Property Documents – In case your selected property type is not a Flexi Desk, please arrange for the property documents and schedule a meeting with your assigned Business Setup Executive.
Please note that these additional documents may not be required if the property type selected is Flexi Desk and the Share Capital is less than AED 500,000. We recommend that you consult with one of our business consultants to understand what documentation will be required for your business licence.For more information on documentation requirements, please refer to templates and sample letters here.
Save on Your Business Licence with DMCC’s Exclusive Packages
If you are looking to open your company, in one of Dubai’s free zones, DMCC offers two business setup package subscription types that can help you save on your business licence and essential business tools.
Jump Start Package: Save up to 24% on your business licence and essential business tools. Ideal for start-ups, SME’s and entrepreneurs.
Prime Plus Package: Suitable for medium and large companies, this package offers quick company set up at a lower price. Our team of experts will guide you through every step in setting up your company, including any queries you may have about choosing and applying for the right business licence in DMCC.
*The material provided in this blog is for general information purposes only and is subject to change based on government policy and regulations.