General Trading License in Dubai


A General Trading License in Dubai enables businesses to engage in a wide spectrum of trading activities, including the import, export, distribution, and sale of various goods and products. This type of license is highly versatile and suitable for businesses involved in diverse trading sectors. Basically, it allows business owners to engage in multiple activities at the same time and trade any goods, except for governmentally prohibited ones, under a single license. This is very beneficial as opposed to a regular Trading License, which enables you to trade a specific commodity directly tied to the license.

Here are some of the key advantages of obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai:

1. Diverse business scale. Dubai offers diverse business opportunities, and having a General Trading License enables businesses to explore various industries, sectors, activities, and products, adapting to varying market conditions instead of running the risk of having all eggs in one basket.

2. Potential for expansion. A General Trading License has a built-in potential for expanding your company, as it allows for adding numerous shareholders and an almost unlimited workforce along with visa eligibility, which is a crucial factor for those seeking to expand their operation locally and internationally.

3. No duties or currency restrictions. Under a General Trading License, your company can enjoy zero import duties and can conduct transactions in any currency, providing flexibility for international trade and financial transactions. To top it off, the UAE provides foreign companies with full repatriation of capital and profits.

4. Logistical freedom. The UAE and especially Dubai sit at the crossroads of the global supply chains and shipping routes with all the necessary infrastructure to facilitate local and international trade. Whether you choose to settle in one of the numerous free zones or in Dubai mainland, you will have direct access to the country’s major seaports, airports, and transport system, along with a variety of warehouses and offices, providing you with the utmost logistical capabilities.


The cost of a General Trading License in the UAE is a combination of several factors, including the emirate in which you wish to establish your business, the specific business activities you intend to engage in, the type of business structure you choose, as well as using a free zone or the mainland as your company’s grounds.

It should be noted that the General Trading License comes with additional expenses you must be aware of before applying for one, as they may increase the overall company setup costs significantly when combined. Here are some cost considerations for obtaining a General Trading License in the UAE:

License application fees. When applying for a General Trading License, you will typically need to pay a non-refundable application fee to the relevant government authority. The application fee can vary based on the emirate and the licensing authority.

Trade name registration. You may incur fees for registering your trade name, also known as a trade or business name, with the relevant authorities. This registration is essential for legalizing your business activities.

Office and warehouse rent. To obtain and maintain a General Trading License, you are required to have a physical office or commercial space in the UAE. The cost of renting office space or a warehouse can vary heavily based on the location, size, and facilities.

Government and regulatory fees. There may be additional government and regulatory fees associated with the licensing process. These fees can be different depending on factors such as the type of business, the number of partners or shareholders, and the intended business activities.

Local sponsorship or partner fees. If you are a foreign investor and do not hold 100% ownership of your business, you may need a local sponsor or partner. The cost of local sponsorship can vary, as it is typically negotiated between the parties involved.

Legal and consultation fees. Many businesses choose to work with legal advisors or business consultants to navigate the licensing process and ensure compliance with UAE regulations. These professional services may involve fees.

Visa and immigration fees. If you plan to obtain residency visas for yourself and your employees or partners, there will be associated costs for visa processing, medical examinations, Emirates ID cards, and other immigration-related expenses.

Renewal fees. General Trading Licenses typically need to be renewed annually, and there will be renewal fees associated with this process.

Value-Added Tax (VAT) registration. Depending on your business activities and revenue, you may need to register for VAT, which could involve administrative costs.

It is advisable to consult with a business advisor or legal expert with experience in the UAE to get a clear understanding of the costs involved and to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements for your business setup. Additionally, keep in mind that regulations and fees may change, so it’s essential to stay updated with the latest information from relevant government authorities.


A General Trading License enables the trading of various products, from electronics and textiles to food items and machinery. Be aware of import and export regulations and customs procedures if you plan to be involved in international trade.

Here are some of the common activities that can be conducted under a General Trading License in Dubai:

  • Import and Export. Businesses with a General Trading License can import goods into Dubai from other countries and export goods from Dubai to international markets. This includes a wide variety of products such as electronics, textiles, machinery, consumer goods, and more.
  • Wholesale Trading. You can engage in wholesale trading, buying products in bulk and selling them to retailers, other wholesalers, or even directly to consumers.
  • Retail Sales. While the primary focus of a General Trading License is on wholesale trading, it may also allow for retail sales, depending on the specific terms and conditions of the license. Retail activities may include opening stores or selling products online.
  • Trading in Food and Beverages. This license allows trading in food products, including both non-perishable and perishable items. It can cover activities related to food import, distribution, and sale.
  • Trading in Electronics and Appliances. Companies can engage in the trading of electronic devices, appliances, gadgets, and related accessories.
  • Trading in Building Materials. Businesses can trade in construction and building materials, which are in high demand due to the construction and development projects in Dubai.
  • Trading in Industrial Machinery and Equipment. The license covers trading in industrial machinery, equipment, and tools used in various industries.
  • Automotive Trading. It allows trading in vehicles, automotive parts, and accessories.
  • Health and Beauty Products Trading: Businesses can engage in trading health and beauty products, cosmetics, skincare, and personal care items.
  • Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Trading. While certain medical activities may require specific healthcare licenses, a General Trading License can cover trading in pharmaceutical products, medical equipment, and supplies.
  • Textiles and Apparel Trading. Companies can trade in textiles, clothing, fashion accessories, and related products.
  • Toys and Games Trading. Trading in toys, games, and recreational products for children and adults is another possible activity.
  • Office Supplies and Stationery Trading. This license can cover the trading of office supplies, stationery, and related items.
  • General Commodities Trading. It allows businesses to trade in a broad range of commodities, including agricultural products, raw materials, and more.

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