About General Trading License

A General Trading license is a comprehensive trading license that authorizes individuals and businesses to participate in a range of activities such as import, export, distribution, and storage across diverse product categories, providing unparalleled flexibility and opportunity for growth. It also allows companies to establish local offices in the UAE and designate authorized representatives.

With the UAE’s strategic geographical location serving as a gateway between East and West, possessing a General Trading license opens doors to a vast array of global markets. The UAE’s favorable tax environment further enhances the appeal of this license, offering businesses a competitive edge in international trade.

The country ranks among the world’s top trading nations, with non-oil trade reaching over $354.4 billion, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy.  Obtaining a General Trading license is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s a strategic investment. By leveraging the benefits of this license, companies can establish a strong presence in the UAE, capitalize on global trade opportunities, and position themselves for long-term success.

A Closer Look:

Activities Trading license

Activities you can do under a General Trading license

A General Trading license in Dubai allows a company to engage in a wide range of trading activities. These activities may include:

  • Import and export of goods: A General Trading license allows a company to import and export a wide variety of goods.
  • Trading of goods: Companies with a General Trading license can trade in electronic and electrical equipment, construction materials, textiles, and garments; medical and healthcare products; and food and beverages
  • Wholesale and retail trading: Companies with a General Trading license can also engage in wholesale and retail trading activities.
Benefits General Trading

Benefits of General Trading

Setting up a General Trading company gives businesses access to a host of benefits:

  • Flexibility: A General Trading license allows you to engage in a wide number of activities. It also offers the flexibility to change the product mix at any time without having to amend your commercial business license Companies holding a General Trading license can import and export, distribute, and trade goods and services across multiple industries. This provides them with various business opportunities.
  • Trading & Logistics Infrastructure: Getting a General Trading license allows businesses to leverage Dubai’s world-class trading infrastructure, including warehouses, logistics businesses, excellent seaports and airports, not to mention a smooth customs process. Dubai also has a very well-connected transportation network that aids in the movement of goods and services.
  • Local And Global Trade: Traders who obtain a General Trading license are free to import all goods listed under that license. Dubai’s geographical position also makes it a thriving hub for world trade. This means businesses have the option of operating globally.
  • Favorable Tax Environment: Businesses that set up their General Trading companies within Free Zones can avail low taxes and obtain 100% foreign ownership. There are several tax benefits available for companies operating in the Free Zones.
  • Business Friendly and High Demand: Dubai is a business hub and thus fosters an environment that is extremely conducive to doing business. It has a booming economy that supports and attracts entrepreneurship and foreign investments, which means that goods and services listed under the General Trading license will always find a market. The UAE also harbors a diverse multicultural environment, has political stability, and offers a wide number of Free Zones, acting as an additional investment for companies.

How to get a General Trading License:

Here are some steps to obtaining a General Trading business license.

Trading License
  • Choose a legal structure for your business. You can set up your business as sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), a Free Zone company (FZCO) or a branch of a foreign company.
  • Choosing the right freezone for your business activity is very important. It is crucial to determine the specific trading activities to define the business scope and then select the right freezone.
  • Select a trade name. It is important to ensure that your business name should not be offensive or violate any trademarks or intellectual property rights and must comply with the guidelines set by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). An initial approval will be required from DET, after which you can reserve your trade name.
  • Prepare and sign the Memorandum of Association (MOA). If you are setting up an LLC, you will need to prepare and sign the MOA.
  • Obtain necessary approvals and licenses. Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain additional approvals and licenses from various government authorities.
  • Obtain the General Trading license. Once you have completed all the above steps, you can apply for the General Trading license from the DET.
Trading license in Dubai

What are the documents needed for a General Trading license?

Here are some documents that one might need:

  • Application form: A completed application form from the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
  • Passport copies: Passport copies of all shareholders, managers, and directors of the company.
  • UAE residence visa copies: Copies of UAE residence visas of all shareholders, managers, and directors of the company.
  • Emirates ID copies: Copies of Emirates IDs of all shareholders, managers, and directors of the company.
  • No-Objection Certificate (NOC): A No-Objection Certificate from the sponsor or current employer of the UAE resident shareholders, managers, and directors (depending on the jurisdiction).
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA): The MOA is a legal document that outlines the company’s objectives and the responsibilities of its shareholders. It must be signed by all shareholders and notarized by a public notary in Dubai.
  • Trade name reservation certificate: A certificate proving that the trade name of the company has been approved and reserved by the DET.
  • Lease agreement: A copy of the lease agreement for the office space where the company will operate from.
  • Bank reference letter: A reference letter from the bank stating the shareholders’ financial standing.
  • Business plan: A detailed business plan outlining the nature of the company’s activities and how it plans to generate revenue.

How can IFZA help?

IFZA creates easy access for companies to establish their business and enables Dubai as a global hub to drive future growth of the economy as well as attract investment.

IFZA Dubai provides fast and easy Free Zone company establishment with world class access to global markets.

IFZA provide numerous Free Zone company establishment benefits such as:

  • 100% ownership of commercial enterprises
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profit
  • Low taxes
  • No physical presence of the business owners is required during the company set up(incorporation) process
  • No mandatory office requirement under 4 visa allocation
  • All processes executed remotely (except medical test and Emirates ID biometrics)
  • IFZA offers a multicultural and multilingual team who can advise on business activities
  • It offers transparent and competitive pricing
  • Professional and Commercial activities can be combined under one IFZA license
  • IFZA offers a competitive General Trading License
  • IFZA does not publicly disclose shareholders of licensed companies
Speak to an expert call to action

Speak to an expert
to learn more

Frequently asked questions

01. Can foreigners own a 100% of the business in Dubai?

Yes, foreigners can own 100% of a business in Dubai if it is set up in a Free Zone. Mainland companies require a local sponsor who holds 51% of the shares.

02. What are the different types of General Trading Licenses in Dubai?

The most common types of General Trading licenses in Dubai are Mainland licenses, Free Zone licenses, and Offshore Licenses.

03. Are there any restrictions on the type of goods and services that can be traded with a General Trading license?

There are no restrictions as long as these items are legally allowed to be distributed in the UAE. However some goods and services may require additional permits.

04. Can General Trading licenses be obtained online?

Yes, many licensing authorities offer online application services where businesses can submit their documents electronically.

05. Can I apply for multiple General Trading licenses?

Yes, it is possible to apply for and obtain multiple General Trading licenses for different businesses.

06. Can a General Trading license be renewed or cancelled?

Yes, it is possible to renew or cancel a General Trading license.

07. Can a General Trading license obtained in Dubai be used to operate in all the Emirates of UAE?

A General Trading license issued in Dubai is only valid within it. Companies that wish to operate in other Emirates require additional licenses.
Download guide

Download now

Kindly fill out the form below with the requested details, then check your email to receive a copy of the Guide.


    Chat with us

    Visit us Today