business setup in dubai

If you want to have a business setup in Dubai, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is getting your commercial license. The process can seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance, it’s much easier than you might think. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to get your commercial license in Dubai, along with some tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible.


Understanding the Commercial License


A commercial license is a legal document that allows a business to operate in Dubai. It’s mandatory for all businesses that intend to conduct commercial activities within the city. The license is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai.


Types of Commercial Licenses in Dubai

There are three types of commercial licenses in Dubai:


Professional License

This license is issued to individuals who provide professional services. Some examples of businesses that require a professional license include lawyers, accountants, and doctors.


Commercial License

A commercial license is required for businesses that intend to buy or sell goods within the UAE. This includes retail businesses, trading companies, and e-commerce stores.


Industrial License

An industrial license is issued to businesses that intend to manufacture goods within the UAE.


Requirements for Getting a Commercial License in Dubai

Before you can apply for a commercial license in Dubai, you’ll need to fulfill certain requirements.


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a commercial license, you must:


  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Not be banned from entering the UAE

Legal Structure of Business

You’ll also need to decide on the legal structure of your business. There are several options available in Dubai, including


  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Partnership
  • Branch of a foreign company


Local Sponsorship

If you’re a foreign national, you’ll need to have a local sponsor to apply for a commercial license. The sponsor will own 51% of the business, while you’ll own the remaining 49%.


Activities Permitted

You’ll need to ensure that the activities you intend to carry out are permitted under your chosen license type.


Tenancy Contract

You’ll also need to have a tenancy contract for your office space. The contract must be valid for at least one year.


No Objection Certificate

Finally, you’ll need to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Dubai Municipality or the Dubai Civil Defense. The NOC certifies that your office space is compliant with local regulations.


Steps to Obtain a Commercial License in Dubai

If you are planning to start a business in Dubai, you need to obtain a commercial license. In this article, we will discuss the steps to obtain a commercial license in Dubai. We will also provide some tips for a smooth commercial license application process.


Choose a Business Activity

The first step in obtaining a commercial license in Dubai is to choose a business activity. Dubai offers various business activities such as trading, manufacturing, and service-based businesses. You need to choose the business activity that aligns with your business plan.


Decide on the Legal Structure 

Once you have decided on the business activity, the next step is to decide on the legal structure of your business. Dubai offers various legal structures such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and branch offices. You need to choose the legal structure that suits your business plan.


Choose a Trade Name

After deciding on the legal structure, you need to choose a trading name for your business. The trade name should reflect your business activity and legal structure. You need to ensure that the trade name is not already taken.


Obtain Initial Approval

Once you have chosen the business activity, legal structure, and trade name, you need to obtain initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). You need to submit the required documents such as passport copies, business plans, and trade name reservation certificates.


Rent an Office Space

After obtaining initial approval, you need to rent an office space. Dubai requires all businesses to have a physical office space. You can either rent an office space or set up a virtual office.


Get a Tenancy Contract

Once you have rented office space, you need to get a tenancy contract. You need to ensure that the tenancy contract is attested by the Dubai Municipality or Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).


Obtain Final Approval 

After getting the tenancy contract, you need to obtain final approval from the DED. You need to submit the tenancy contract, lease agreement, and other required documents to the DED.


Tips for a Smooth Commercial License Application Process 

Here are some tips for a smooth commercial license application process:

Hire a Business Setup Consultant 

Hiring a business setup consultant can make the commercial license application process smoother. A business setup consultant can help you with legal and administrative requirements.


Understand the Legal and Administrative Requirements 

You need to understand the legal and administrative requirements of obtaining a commercial license in Dubai. This can help you avoid any delays or rejections.


Be Prepared for the Cost 

Obtaining a commercial license in Dubai can be expensive. You need to be prepared for the cost and budget accordingly.


Be Patient 

Obtaining a commercial license in Dubai can take time. You need to be patient and follow up regularly.



Obtaining a commercial license in Dubai can be a lengthy and complicated process. However, by following the above steps and tips, you can make the process smoother. Dubai is a hub for businesses, and obtaining a commercial license can open doors to various opportunities.

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