What is a trade license?

A trade license is a legal document issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the respective emirate in the UAE that permits a company or individual to conduct business within the UAE.

Types of trade licenses in the UAE:

There are three types of trade licenses in the UAE:

  1. Commercial License: allows companies to conduct trading activities such as importing/exporting, selling goods, etc.
  1. Industrial License: permits companies to engage in manufacturing or industrial activities.
  1. Professional License: allows individuals to offer professional services such as consultancy, accounting, legal, etc.

Requirements for obtaining a trade license:

  • Choosing a company name and activity.
  • Obtaining initial approval from the DED.
  • Obtaining a tenancy contract for a physical address.
  • Obtaining necessary approvals from other authorities if applicable.
  • Submitting required documents such as passport copies, visa copies, and No Objection Certificate (NOC) from sponsors.
  • Paying relevant fees.

Renewal of trade license:

Trade licenses must be renewed annually, and renewal fees must be paid to the DED.

Penalties for violations:

Companies found operating without a valid trade license or violating the terms and conditions of their license may face fines, license suspension, or even cancellation.

Free zones:

In addition to the DED trade license, companies can also obtain trade licenses in one of the many free zones in the UAE. Free zones offer various incentives, such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and customs duty benefits.

It’s important to note that the above information is general in nature and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. It’s advisable to consult with a professional or seek advice from the relevant authorities for more information.

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