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How to set up a general trading company formation in Dubai?

Dubai has been continuously topping as one of the major business locations in the world. Over the last few decades, there has been a huge growth in the business and financial sectors in Dubai. Sectors such as trade, logistics have also shown remarkable growth. So, starting a general trading company in Dubai is a beneficial investment. 


If you are planning to start a general trading company in Dubai and wondering how to start, we have made life easier for you. Below is a step-by-step guide in getting a general trading license in Dubai. 


Steps to Start a General Trading Company in Dubai


Develop a business plan 

The first step of starting a general trading business is to develop a business plan. A good business plan will consider almost all factors such as market condition, competitions, products and activities, the total number of employees, office space requirement, Initial investment, Marketing tactics, Investors, and financing. These factors determine the workings of the business. Study these factors thoroughly and create a wise business plan. 


Choose the Jurisdiction 

Dubai market is classified into three jurisdictions, namely free zones, offshore, and the mainland. There are currently 48 free zones in Dubai. The free zone offers 100% exemption on corporate and personal income and 100% ownership to the investors. In the mainland, the business investors need to find a sponsor for setting up a company that holds 51% shares of the business. The Offshore company is the company that is set up in a country different from the country of residence of the investor.  Choose the jurisdiction according to the requirements of your company. It is better to start your company in Dubai mainland because there is more exposure to the customers, you can trade with other companies in Dubai, there is no limitation on issuance of work visas, and open multiple branches. 


Find a Sponsor 

If you wish to set up your company in Dubai mainland, you need to find a sponsor for your business. The sponsor will hold 51% shares in your company. You cannot start a company on the mainland without getting your business sponsored by UAE nationals.  There are two types of sponsorship; local sponsorship and corporate sponsorship.  While a local sponsor will hold 51% shares in your business, the corporate sponsor will give you 100% ownership through the investor’s right protection contract. 


Legal Formalities 

Getting a license for your business is very important as it makes your business legal. The General Trading License allows a company to sellstoragedistributionimport and export, etc. General Trading License covers a wide range of business activities like retail & wholesale of goodsto the selling of clothesaccessoriespieces of equipmentfurniture and fixtures, and electronic appliances.


Steps to get a general trading license in Dubai are as follows:

·         Choose a trading name for the company 

·         Plan your business activities 

·         Apply for initial approval from DED. 

·         Getting external approvals if required 

·         Prepare Memorandum of Association (MOA)and get it signed by your partners 

·         Choose a business location and get a tenancy contract properly attested by Ejari. 

·         Submit the application to the Department of Economic Development (DED) 

·         Pay the fee for the issuance of the license


If you are applying for a license in a free zone or offshore, you are required to submit the original documents to the Commercial Registry at the trade license and commercial registration department. DED will issue the general trading license after getting approval from the trade license and commercial registration department.


Documents required for application of general trading license in Dubai: 

A license application signed by managers or legal representatives. 

Memorandum of Association 

Attested company name approval letter from DED 

Copy of passport and visas of partners

Once you submit these documents, the company officials will check and verify and add your trade name to the commercial registry. The DED will forward your documents to the Federal Ministry of Economy for its publication. The ministry will issue the approval letter on successful publication. 



For starting a general trading business, you first need to derive a business plan. A business plan will give direction to your business. Once you have a business plan, choose the jurisdiction of your company. The next step is to find a sponsor for your company. At this stage, you will need to complete all the legal formalities to set up your business. You’ll get the general trading company license once you finish all the formalities. 


If you would like to set up a general trading company in Dubai, contact Bizgate today. For more information, speak with our business setup experts on +971 56 220 1709.



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