Combining a high level of economic stability and security with easy access to markets in Africa, Asia and Europe, it’s little wonder why investors like you are choosing to start and scale their businesses in the UAE. But before you get going, you need to ensure that you have a valid general trading licence. This legal permit allows you to conduct specific business activities in the UAE and, without it, you could face heavy penalties. It also boosts credibility and raises awareness of your company in the market in which you are operating.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the general trading licence to explore what it offers, the types of businesses it applies to and the application process.
We will cover the following topics:
- What is a general trading licence in the UAE?
- Steps to getting a UAE general trading licence
- Cost of a UAE general trading licence
- Why choose SPC Free Zone?
What is a general trading licence in the UAE?
A general trading licence in the UAE is a licence that allows you to export, re-export, import and trade any number of unrelated goods under one licence. Unlike the specific licence category, it allows you to trade in a wide range of commodities, except those that are prohibited, such as oil, tobacco and goods that do not comply with health and safety standards. So, in theory, you could trade in everything from furniture and food to electronics and pet supplies.
A general trading licence is one of the most sought-after licences in the UAE. It offers a number of benefits that enable investors to trade easily across local regions and internationally. These include:
- Opportunity to trade in almost any industry, excluding restricted industries
- Add multiple shareholders over time
- No restrictions on the number of people you employ
- No import duties and 100% repatriation of profits
- Access to advanced logistics and warehouse support
- Increased employee visa applications for larger premises
Steps to getting a UAE general trading licence
The steps to getting a general trading licence in the UAE are:
- Step 1: Register the company. First, you will need to pick your business activity or list multiple activities if relevant. Choose your company trade name and ensure that it adheres to the UAE’s naming conventions. For instance, you should make sure your company name does not include any offensive language and that it is available to be registered. You can then submit the initial approval form. If this is approved, the authorities will issue the trade licence within two hours
- Step 2: E-channel services and entry permit. Next, you will need to register for e-channel services. This online system removes unnecessary paperwork and speeds up the application process. Once you have registered, you will be able to apply for your entry permit. This is a temporary visa, valid for up to 60 days.
- Step 3: Status change. Once you receive your entry permit, you can activate your status change. It is easiest to do this in-country, but it is also possible to activate this by exiting and re-entering the UAE, depending on your nationality.
- Step 4: Emirates ID registration. You will need to take a medical test to apply for your Emirates ID card. This involves a blood test, x-rays and other relevant check-ups. Once you receive the results, you can apply for your Emirates ID card. You will need this identity card to open a bank account, rent a property and take out mobile phone contracts in the UAE.
While the process for applying for a general trading licence is relatively straightforward, you’ll need to be prepared with the right documents and information to jump through the right hoops. There’s no need to do it alone, though. SPC Free Zone’s business setup advisors will guide you through every step of the journey to ensure that you can acquire your general trading licence as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Cost of UAE general trading licence
The cost of a UAE general trading licence starts at AED 6,500. However, there are additional costs to consider. The total price of your general trading licence will vary depending on factors including:
- Type of business activity
- Business structure
- Visa quota
- Number of business partners
- Office and warehouse premises
Ready to find out how much your general trading licence will cost? Get in touch with our team at SPC Free Zone for an accurate quote tailored to your specific situation and requirements.
Why choose SPC Free Zone?
At SPC Free Zone, we can help you navigate every stage of your general trading licence application. Quick, convenient and flexible, you can get your licence issued in just two hours, thanks to our location in the heart of Sharjah with immigration services onsite.
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.
We can also help you to expand your business with a dual-licence option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same licence.
Ready for fast and easy business setup in the UAE? Get in touch – we’re here to help.
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