DED Dubai: Trade License, Requirements, and the Cost

DED Dubai

Since its establishment in March 1992, the Department of Economy & Tourism in Dubai (DED) has been a critical driver in molding Dubai’s economic environment. The inception of the DED marked a pivotal moment for Dubai, initiating a focused journey towards enhancing economic growth, diversifying its economic base, and promoting sustainable development within the emirate.

DED’s Role in Business Licensing

DED holds the authority to issue business licenses in all areas outside Free Zones within the Emirate of Dubai. Opting for a DED license is advantageous primarily because it offers unrestricted trade opportunities. A DED license allows direct interaction with customers and other businesses throughout the UAE without needing a separate local distributor.

Furthermore, a DED license offers greater flexibility in choosing the location for your office, store, or manufacturing facility within Dubai. The DED provides six categories of licenses, each catering to different business needs. It’s essential to choose the one that aligns best with your business activities:

  • Professional License: This license is tailored for service-oriented businesses. Foreign nationals can hold full ownership under this license. However, employing a UAE national as a service agent is often needed.
  • Commercial License: Ideal for trading activities, this license is necessary for businesses trading within the UAE or import and export activities globally. Companies can maintain complete ownership with this license, making it suitable for general and specialized trading.
  • Industrial License: Targeted towards manufacturing and industrial activities, this license is required for businesses involved in transforming products or manufacturing processes, whether on a small or large scale. A UAE national shareholder is usually unnecessary unless the company operates in a sector deemed crucial for the national interest.
  • Tourism License: This license allows companies to engage in various tourism-related activities in Dubai. Commonly established tourism businesses in Dubai under this category include outbound tour operators, inbound tour operators, and travel agencies.
  • Agricultural License: This license is granted to individuals or entities that own cultivable land, manage livestock farms, or operate fisheries.
  • Craftsmanship License: This license is designated for independent artisans and skilled craftsmen who provide specialized services.

How Do You Apply for a DED License in Dubai?

Before applying, verifying if your chosen business activity allows for full foreign ownership is essential. Our team can help you determine the rules for your chosen business activity and help you obtain a local partner, if applicable.

Below are the key steps to acquire a DED license in Dubai:

  1. Identify Your Business Activity: Ensure your chosen business activity is among the 2,500 activities approved by DED.
  2. Select the Appropriate License Type: Choose a license type from DED that encompasses your desired economic activities.
  3. Trade Name Selection: Pick a company name adhering to UAE naming conventions and trade activities. You’ll receive a trade name certificate necessary for the DED license application.
  4. Legal Structure Determination: Decide on your company’s legal structure from the various available options provided by DED, which include:
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership Company
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch of an existing company
  • Representative Office
  • Simple Limited Partnership
  • Civil Company
  • Intelaq – A business operated from home (available for UAE Nationals only)
  1. Obtain Preliminary Approval from DED: Submit necessary information and documents to DED for initial approval. This step is relatively quick and helps procure other required documents for the business license.
  2. Secure Commercial Space: Lease or buy a commercial space in Dubai. You’ll receive tenancy documents, including EJARI.
  3. Final Documentation Submission: Submit the below documents required by DED for business license issuance, including:
  • Trade name certificate
  • Initial Approval Certificate
  • Tenancy contract approved by Dubai Municipality (EJARI)
  • Memorandum of Association (for specific legal structures)
  • Local Service Agent Agreement (if applicable)
  • Governmental approvals (for particular business types)

Cost for a DED Business License

The cost of obtaining a DED license in Dubai varies based on individual business needs and choices. Since each entrepreneur has unique financial considerations, providing a precise cost estimate without understanding specific details is challenging.

Factors influencing the total cost include the expenses for initial approval, attestation fees for legal documents, and the rental cost of the commercial premises. Given these variables, the price for a Dubai DED license typically ranges from AED 12,500 to AED 100,000, fluctuating based on the decisions made during the incorporation process and any additional incurred costs.

Securing a DED license in Dubai in the most economical way largely depends on your proficiency with the process. If you’re adept at navigating Dubai’s company formation regulations, making informed decisions, and completing the paperwork accurately, then managing the application process online could be the least expensive option. However, collaborating with seasoned business setup consultants in Dubai like ours is advisable for speed, ease, and simplicity. Our experts can streamline the process, saving you time and avoiding costly mistakes that delay the process.

You might be interested to read about the difference between a Mainland License and a Free Zone License.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Also, you can use our Cost Calculator to get an estimate for your business registration in the UAE (it takes less than a minute)

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