Commercial Licence UAE: Costs & Requirements

By Afreen Razak Razak AccessTimeIcon

Boasting one of the world’s most diverse and fastest-growing economies, the UAE has been welcoming business and trade for hundreds of years. And today, with the rise of business-friendly incentives, government legislation and an easier business setup process than in most countries, the region is becoming a number one destination for entrepreneurs from across the globe on the hunt for the most lucrative opportunities.

But before you can legally open your business in the UAE, you need to ensure that you have the correct licence. In this article, we will focus on the commercial licence in the UAE, one of the most popular licences for expat business owners. We will cover the following topics:

  • What is a commercial licence in the UAE?
  • Commercial licence activities in the UAE
  • Steps to get a commercial licence in the UAE from SPC Free Zone
  • Costs of a commercial licence in the UAE
  • Why choose SPC Free Zone?

What is a commercial licence in the UAE?

A commercial licence in the UAE allows entrepreneurs and businesses to engage in the trade, import and export of goods within and beyond the UAE. With this licence, businesses can legally trade in a wide range of commodities, except prohibited items such as tobacco, oil and goods that are not compliant with health and safety requirements.

This is the most popular and widely applied-for type of licence in the UAE, for good reason. There are a whole host of benefits to obtaining a commercial licence in the UAE, including:

  • Strategic location

One of the biggest advantages of establishing a trading business in the UAE is its unrivalled location, conveniently situated between Africa, Asia and Europe. As well as offering easy access to the sea, it’s home to one of the world’s largest and busiest airports.

  • Easy business setup

With help from our knowledgeable business experts at SPC Free Zone, you can get your business up and running in the UAE in no time.

  • Trade in more than one product

Entrepreneurs can choose to trade in up to ten unrelated commercial and trade activities under one licence.

  • Tax-friendly incentives

Business owners can maximise profits with zero import duties and 100% repatriation of profits, as well as zero income tax.

  • Advanced logistics and warehouse support

Sharjah is highly connected and home to the only natural deep-water port in the region. The UAE has 12 commercial trading ports, and is also home to two of the world’s top 50 container ports, with over 61% of cargo destined for GCC arriving in the UAE’s seaports.

  • Wide variety of business activities

SPC Free Zone offers a choice of over 1,500 business activities.

  • Easier reporting

Businesses with commercial licences are subjected to easier financial transactions, turnover, profit and losses reporting requirements than other UAE licences

In order to obtain a commercial licence, you will need to ensure that you have the correct documentation in order. For instance, your business must be registered with the Companies Registry to receive a licence. You will then need to provide a completed application form, owner (or owners’) passport copies and two passport-size colour photographs.

Commercial licence activities in the UAE

A commercial licence encompasses a wide range of trading activities approved by the Department of Economics (DED), including:

  • Import and export
  • Travel and tourism
  • Logistics
  • Product-focused sales, such as electronics, fashion or pet supplies
  • Rental businesses
  • Brokerage

Within these categories, you might choose to trade, import and export in any number of goods, including aircraft and spare parts, plants, foodstuff supply, cleaning services, handbags, beauty, baby care products, and more. Generally speaking, businesses working in construction, real estate and retail will also need to obtain a commercial trade licence.

For more information about the wide-ranging activities covered by a commercial licence, reach out to SPC Free Zone. Our market-leading experts have helped hundreds of other entrepreneurs obtain their commercial licences, ensuring that they can operate and expand their businesses in the UAE legally and successfully.

Steps to getting a commercial licence in the UAE from SPC Free Zone

The steps to getting a commercial licence are fairly simple, though you’ll need to make sure you have all of your documents in order before you get going. There’s no need to undergo the whole process alone though. Our business advisors have helped hundreds of individuals to sail through the process of applying for a commercial licence in the UAE. To help give you an idea of what to expect, we’ve broken the process down into three straightforward steps:

Step 1: Register your company

First, you’ll need to choose your company name. Make sure it aligns with the UAE’s naming conventions and do not choose anything that might be considered blasphemous or offensive. Then, choose one or multiple business activities from a list of over 1,500 and submit your initial approval form. Providing you have submitted this correctly, you can get your commercial licence in as little as two hours in SPC Free Zone.

Step 2: Apply for e-channel services

To help speed up the application process, the UAE introduced a new e-channel service that eliminates all unnecessary paperwork. It’s easy to register for this service and once you have access you’ll be able to apply for your entry permit. This temporary visa is valid for up to 60 days.

Step 3: Status change and Emirates ID registration

Once you receive your entry permit, you can activate your status change. You can do this in-country, or by exiting and re-entering the UAE, depending on your nationality. It is also mandatory for expats residing in the UAE to have an Emirates ID card. To apply for this, you will need to undergo medical checks, submit your biometrics and apply online or at a typing centre.

Costs of a commercial licence in the UAE

The cost of a commercial licence in the UAE starts at AED 5,750 if you choose to set up in SPC Free Zone. However, you will need to take additional costs into account too. For entrepreneurs and businesses that require dedicated office space or warehouse facilities, you will need to pay additional fees. You will also need to factor in costs depending on your required visa quota, the number of business partners, the structure of your business, and other factors.

For a bespoke quote tailored to your specific business needs, get in touch with our friendly advisors at SPC Free Zone.

Why choose SPC Free Zone?

SPC Free Zone offsets quick, convenient and flexible business setup in the UAE. Boasting a central location in the heart of Sharjah with immigration services on-site, you can receive your commercial licence UAE in just two hours. What’s more, you can choose from over 1,500 business activities, get up to 20 visas under one trade licence and enjoy competitive benefits such as 100% foreign ownership with zero paid-up capital. You’ll have the opportunity to expand your business with a dual-licence option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same licence too.

Ready to grasp hold of the opportunities the UAE has to offer? Get in touch with SPC Free Zone to learn more about obtaining a commercial licence today.

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The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content in this website without seeking independent legal or other appropriate advice. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. SPC Free Zone disclaims any and all liability for actions which you take or fail to take based on any of the content contained in this website.

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