E-commerce licence UAE: Costs & Requirements

E-commerce is growing exponentially across the globe, including in the UAE. Compounded by the pandemic, which drove populations online and altered consumer behaviour forever, the e-commerce market in the UAE has never been stronger. According to the International Trade Administration, e-commerce sales in the UAE jumped by 53% in 2020. Almost 100% of the UAE population is now online too.

So, it’s little wonder that savvy business owners like you are looking to the UAE to open a thriving e-commerce business. But before you launch your e-commerce business, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct licence – an e-commerce licence, to be precise. This licence enables business owners to sell their own goods through their own websites or a portal such as Amazon.

In this article, we will explore the UAE’s e-commerce licence. We will take a deep dive into everything you need to know about the application process, including the costs and benefits. We will cover the following topics:

  • Advantages of starting an e-commerce business in the UAE
  • E-commerce licence UAE cost
  • Steps to getting an e-commerce licence in the UAE
  • The cheapest e-commerce licence in the UAE
  • Online e-commerce sites in the UAE
  • Do you need a licence for e-commerce in the UAE?
  • What licence do I need to sell online in the UAE?
  • Why get an e-commerce licence from SPC Free Zone?

Advantages of starting an e-commerce business in the UAE

As one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the Middle East and North Africa, it’s easy to see why so many entrepreneurs are choosing the UAE to establish their e-commerce business.

Firstly, while many countries impose restrictions on foreign businesses, the UAE offers a string of tax incentives and tax holidays that make opening a business in the region easier and more profitable, including:

  • No personal income tax
  • No capital gains tax
  • No withholding tax
  • 0% VAT rate also applies to product and services exports.

The UAE also boasts an unrivalled location, conveniently situated between Africa, Asia and Europe. It’s a gateway to growth markets that can transcend geographical barriers, offering access to two-thirds of the population within an eight-hour flight.  Businesses have easy access to the sea, as well as one of the world’s largest airports – Dubai International Airport. According to the World Bank Logistics Performance, the UAE ranks as number one in the MENA index too. 

The region is widely regarded as one of the world’s largest destinations for infrastructure investments, too. This means that business owners can tap into a wealth of benefits, such as:

  • High-standard manufacturing units and warehouses
  • Centre for maritime activity and transportation
  • Wide variety of office spaces
  • Extensive road network connecting the UAE with neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia
  • Global aviation hub, with seven international airports and two major international airlines
  • Highest speed broadband in the world, supporting more than 93% of homes.

E-commerce business owners can also benefit from fast, easy and secure banking. The UAE’s banks have proven reliable during global crises and there’s a wide range of payment providers available for any size of business, such as Stripe, PayTabs and HyperPay.

E-commerce licence UAE cost

The cost of an e-commerce licence in the UAE starts at AED 5,750.

However, there are additional costs to take into account when applying for your e-commerce licence, such as resident visa eligibility, office spaces and facilities, and the registering authority.

Get in touch with our team at SPC Free Zone for an accurate and personalised quote tailored to your specific business requirements.

Steps to get an e-commerce licence in the UAE

The steps to getting an e-commerce licence in the UAE are straightforward, though you’ll need to jump through a few hoops along the way. There’s no need to do it alone though, as at SPC Free Zone our business advisors can help you navigate the entire process.

Step 1: Document submission

First, you’ll need to make sure your papers are in order and submit your documents to the authorities. Once approved, you will receive your e-commerce licence in under two hours.

Step 2: E-channel application

You’ll need to apply for e-channel applications to receive your entry permit, a temporary visa valid for 60 days.

Step 3: Status change

Once you’ve received your permit, the authorities will activate your status change.

Step 4: Emirates ID

You’ll need an Emirates ID to apply for things like a bank account, property rentals and mobile phone contracts. To acquire this, you will need to undergo a medical test.

Cheapest e-commerce licence in the UAE

SPC Free Zone offers one of the cheapest e-commerce licences in the UAE. Our business advisors offer benefits including:

  • Choice of over 1,500 business activities
  • Up to 20 visas under one e-commerce licence
  • 100% foreign ownership with zero paid-up capital
  • Convenient location in the heart of Sharjah
  • Immigration services onsite
  • Licence issue in under two hours

Online e-commerce sites in the UAE

One of the easiest and most popular ways of building an e-commerce business in the UAE involves an online shopping site, where business owners can list and sell their products. The UAE boasts a range of user-friendly, advanced online platforms for sellers. Some of the best-known online e-commerce sites in the UAE include:

  • Amazon.com
  • Noon.com
  • SplashFashions.com
  • LetsTango.com
  • Souq.com
  • DubaiStore.com
  • TheLuxuryCloset.com
  • FirstCry.ae
  • Ubay.ae

Do you need a licence for e-commerce in the UAE?

Yes, in order to open an e-commerce business in the UAE, you will need to obtain an e-commerce licence.

What licence do I need to sell online in the UAE?

If you’re looking to set up an online e-commerce business in the UAE, you will need to obtain an e-commerce licence. For more information, you can get in touch with the team at SPC Free Zone for the latest rules, regulations and a bespoke quote.

Why get an e-commerce licence from SPC?

Wondering where to find the best e-commerce licence in the UAE? SPC Free Zone offers a fast and flexible business setup in the UAE. Conveniently located in the heart of Sharjah, business owners and entrepreneurs can receive their e-commerce licence in less than two hours. Our business advisors are experts in the market and can help advise on the next steps for you and your business.

SPC Free Zone also offers 1,500 business activities and up to 20 visas under one consultancy trading licence, as well as competitive benefits such as 100% foreign ownership with zero paid-up capital and a dual-licence option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same licence.

Interested in starting and expanding your e-commerce business in the UAE? Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable business advisors at SPC Free Zone to find out more.

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