Capital International Group

Professional Trade License


Securing a professional trade license in the UAE is essential for establishing service-based businesses. This permits legal operation of services like consulting and medical practice. The process involves activity selection, documentation submission, and acquiring a physical office. While local sponsorship might be needed, certain zones allow 100% foreign ownership. This license lends credibility and access to UAE’s thriving market and infrastructure.

Frequently Asked Question

Learn how to choose the right business activity, navigate legal requirements, secure a unique trade name, and more. Unlock opportunities in the UAE market with a legitimate and credible business presence. Explore now!

To obtain a professional trade license in the UAE, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Business Activity: Determine the specific business activity you wish to engage in. This is crucial as the trade license type depends on your chosen activity.

  2. Select Company Structure: Decide on your company structure. You can opt for a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC), among others.

  3. Choose a Trade Name: Select a unique trade name that complies with UAE regulations. The name should not violate any religious, cultural, or political sentiments.

  4. Apply to Relevant Authority: Submit your trade license application to the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the emirate where you plan to operate your business.

  5. Legal Documentation: Prepare the necessary documents, which may include passport copies, visa copies, NOC from sponsor (if applicable), and tenancy agreement for your business premises.

  6. Approval and Payment: Await approval from the DED. Upon approval, pay the required fees and obtain the trade license.

  7. Commercial Space: You’ll need a physical office space for a professional trade license. This could be a commercial office or a rented desk in a business center.

  8. Local Sponsorship: If you’re not a UAE national, you’ll require a local sponsor (UAE national) for the trade license. They will typically hold 51% ownership in the business unless structured differently through legal agreements.

Having a professional trade license in the UAE offers several benefits:

  1. Business Legitimacy: A trade license enhances your business’s credibility and legal status, building trust with customers and partners.

  2. Access to Markets: You can access UAE and international markets, expanding your business’s reach and potential for growth.

  3. Tax Incentives: Many UAE free zones offer tax incentives, allowing you to enjoy tax exemptions on corporate and personal income, import/export duties, and more.

  4. 100% Repatriation: You can repatriate 100% of your profits and capital back to your home country.

  5. Infrastructure: The UAE’s advanced infrastructure and strategic location facilitate efficient business operations.

For a professional trade license, having a physical office space is generally mandatory. However, certain free zones in the UAE allow businesses to opt for “flexi-desk” or “virtual office” arrangements, which provide a cost-effective way to meet the office space requirement.

A professional trade license and a commercial trade license differ primarily in the types of activities they cover:

  1. Professional Trade License: This license is for individuals providing professional services such as consultancy, accounting, legal services, medical services, etc. It does not involve trading in physical goods.

  2. Commercial Trade License: This license is required for businesses engaged in trading physical goods, such as import/export, wholesale, and retail.

In most cases, non-UAE nationals are required to have a local sponsor (UAE national) holding at least 51% ownership in the business. However, there are specific free zones in the UAE that allow 100% foreign ownership for certain professional activities. It’s important to research and select the appropriate jurisdiction that aligns with your ownership preferences.

Get UAE Professional Trade License!

Establish your business legally, gain market access, and enjoy the benefits of UAE’s business-friendly environment. Start your journey today!

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