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What are the Various DED License Options To Set Up a Business in Dubai?

Before applying for a DED license in Dubai, as a business owner, you must first identify where you want to conduct your business – Mainland Dubai or a Free Zone. You will need to register with DED Dubai only if you want to set up your business in Mainland Dubai. To start a business in Mainland Dubai, you need to first familiarise yourself with the policies and procedures set by DED Dubai. Currently, there are 2,100 business activities for which a trade license can be issued by DED Dubai. These business activities fall under six distinct categories, such as industrial, commercial, professional, craftsmanship (or occupational), agricultural, and tourism activities. Based on these categories, there are several DED license options to choose from. These are: 

  1. Industrial Licenses:
  • Industrial licenses are issued to those companies that are engaged in any type of industrial or manufacturing activity. These companies transform natural materials or resources into final products for selling on profit.
  • Under industrial licenses, 51% of company shares are owned by a UAE national (local partner) and 49% by the expatriate owner.
  1. Commercial Licenses:
  • Commercial licenses are issued to companies that are engaged in any sort of commercial trading activity or providing physical services, such as general trading, specialized trading, contracting, real estate, transportation, healthcare, and more.
  • A commercial license is issued to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) – the most common legal entity for businesses with foreign ownership in Dubai. When signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in an LLC business, each of the partners shall only be liable to the extent of their share capital. This acts as a safety net for business partners.
  • Even under commercial licenses, 51% of company shares are owned by a UAE national (local partner) and 49% by the foreign owner.
  1. Professional Licenses:
  • Professional licenses are acquired for non-physical services like consultancy.
  • Professional licenses are issued to individuals/consultancies who provide professional services and whose work depends on the skills and expertise of the individual(s) conducting the business,their mental and intellectual abilities, academic achievement, and scientific talents. These professionals include consultants, lawyers, auditors, etc.
  • Currently, companies with professional licenses can be 100% foreign-owned. However, it is necessary to appoint a UAE national as a ‘Local Service Agent’ or a ‘Local Sponsor’.
  1. Craftsmanship (or Occupational) Licenses:
  • Craftsmanship licenses are issued to individuals who independently create crafts and other artisanal works for profit. These craftsmen are dependent on their physical effort or use of tools and equipment.
  • The activities falling under craftsmanship licenses include carpentry, blacksmithing, printing, and more.
  1. Agricultural Licenses:
  • Agricultural licenses are issued to the owners of arable land for growing crops, livestock farms, and fisheries.
  1. Tourism Licenses:
  • Tourism licenses are issued to the owners of facilities that specialize in tourist activities, such as travel agencies, hotels and resorts, restaurants, cruise boat rental, tourist camps, and more.
  • DED provides three main types of travel agency licenses each for operators of inbound tourism, operators of outbound tourism, and travel agents.

Professional business setup consultants like Creative Zone can help you with the right DED license option for your business in Dubai. Call 800 LICENSE (5423673) to speak to one of our Business Setup Advisors today!

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