Business License in Dubai

Which Business License is Right for You?

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey in Dubai is both exciting and daunting. As the glittering skyline beckons with promise, one of the first hurdles every aspiring business owner encounter is the intricacies of business licensing and which suits their business.


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With several types to choose from, gaining a comprehensive understanding of each type and following certain steps to determine the best fit for your business will guide your choice.

Types of Business Licenses

There are four main different types of business licenses in Dubai:

· Commercial License

The commercial license is specifically designed for companies involved in trade-related activities. Whether you’re considering venturing into car rentals, logistics, or even real estate brokerage, this license covers it all.

However, it’s worth noting that you can only have up to ten tertiary activities related to the primary business activity under one license. Before applying, you must ascertain and specify the activities you plan to undertake.

· Industrial License

If you are inclined towards the manufacturing or industrial sector, the industrial license is what you need. This license permits companies to manufacture, process, and assemble goods using either locally sourced or imported raw materials.

The spectrum of businesses under this category ranges from textile manufacturing, food production, and metal processing to more niche sectors like petroleum product manufacturing and paper production.

· Professional License

The professional license offers a broad scope for professionals with specific skills and qualifications, such as:

  • A consultant
  • A medical practitioner
  • Someone offering services in beauty
  • A graphic designer
  • A security services provider
  • A printer or publisher

· Tourism License

The ever-bustling tourism sector in Dubai mandates businesses in this domain to have a tourism license. So, if your business revolves around hotel rentals, tourist camps, cruise boat rentals, restaurants, or even travel agencies, this license is indispensable.

It ensures that your tourism venture meets the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing standards.

Examples of Businesses That Require Each License Type

  • Commercial: Real estate agencies, retail stores, logistics firms
  • Industrial: Food processing units, textile factories, metal workshops
  • Professional: Medical clinics, IT consultancy firms, beauty salons
  • Tourism: Boutique hotels, desert safari camps, cruise operators.

Steps to Decide Which License You Need

  1. Identify your primary business activity and any secondary or tertiary activities you may engage in
  2. Determine the nature of your business – service-based, commercial trade, manufacturing, or tourism.
  3. Refer to the examples and guidelines provided by the licensing authority.
  4. Consider seeking advice from consultancy firms or legal experts familiar with Dubai’s business regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that business owners ask when they are setting up their business in Dubai:

1. Can I operate multiple businesses under one license?

Yes, but the number of tertiary activities should not exceed ten for a commercial license.

2. What if my business spans across different sectors?

It’s best to consult with licensing authorities or legal experts to determine the optimal solution.

3. Are there any additional approvals needed?

Additional approvals from relevant governmental bodies might be required depending on the business type and activities.

4. How long does it take to get a business license in Dubai?

The duration can vary depending on the license type, business activity, and the completion of the required documents.

On average, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Consulting directly with the licensing authority or a business setup service can provide a more accurate timeline.

5. What documents should I submit to get a business license?

While the required documents can vary based on the license type, standard documents include the following:

  • Passport copy
  • Passport-size photograph
  • Proof of entry to UAE or a Visit Visa
  • The application form
  • Business plan
  • Trade registration certificate
  • Shareholder valid ID proofs
  • Signatures
  • Financial audit reports
  • NOC (No Objection Certificate)
  • A title deed
  • Letter of intent
  • RIC (Legal Representative Name)

6. How to renew a business license in Dubai?

Business license renewal typically requires submitting updated business details, settling any outstanding fees or fines, and presenting a renewed tenancy contract.

It is crucial to renew the license before its expiry to avoid penalties. Depending on their business activity, some businesses may also need to present audit reports or other certifications.

How to Get Your Business License?

Navigating the world of business licensing in Dubai can initially seem intricate, but it becomes a straightforward process with the proper guidance and understanding.

IFZA’s global network of Professional Partners can streamline the process for you, offering expert advice and support every step of the way. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established business mogul, choosing the proper licensing is crucial to your success in Dubai.

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