Business Space


Understanding the different types of Business licenses in UAE

Gbemisola Anifowoshe | Marketing Manager

September 6, 2021

When it comes to conducting a business in UAE, having a business license is a must as it allows you to carry out business activities in your chosen sector. Choosing the right business license is a very crucial aspect and one of the steps involved in company formation in the UAE.

The UAE economic department, popularly known as the Department of Economy Development (DED) is responsible for issuing business licenses. Each Emirate has its own Department of Economic Development with a series of procedures and approvals required to acquire a business license. 

There are six different types of licenses in the UAE, a license may include more than one business activity. Commercial, Industrial, Professional, Agricultural, Tourism, and Craftsmanship licenses.


Types of licenses

   1.  Commercial Licenses


These types of licenses are issued to companies that are involved in commercial trade activities related to buying and selling of goods. The commercial license covers all trading and commercial activities performed with an intention of making profit, and it allows you to conduct business for your chosen activity. 

Some of the activities that come under commercial licenses are;

  • General trading
  • Contracting
  • Real Estate
  • Healthcare
  • Transporting
  • and many more

   2.  Industrial Licenses


Industrial license covers all industrial and manufacturing activities in the UAE. For this type of license, it is mandatory to have a physical office before the licence can be granted. 

Owners of this license are allowed to conduct activities within it’s recommended jurisdiction as listed below.

  • Manufacturing of products
  • Importing of raw materials
  • Exporting of finished products
  • And many more

   3.  Professional Licenses


These licenses are issued to individuals whose work depends on their mental skills, intellectual abilities, academic achievement and scientific talents. For this license foreign investors can attain 100% ownership of their business.

Some of the activities that comes under professional license are;

  • Consultants
  • Lawyers
  • Auditors
  • IT services providers
  • Artisans

   4.  Agricultural License


These types of licenses are issued to owners of arable and livestock farms, fisheries, cultivation and harvesting crops. Individuals who provide agricultural consultancy can also acquire an agricultural license.


   5.  Craftsmanship Licenses


The craftsmanship licenses are issued to any person who independently practices a craft for profit, and it’s dependent on their physical effort, or use of tools and equipment. 

However, if a company employs such a person to work on their behalf, the company needs to acquire the license. Activities that fall under the craftsmanship license include;

  • Carpentry
  • Blacksmithing
  • Plumbing
  • Printing
  • Electrical works
  • and more

   6.  Tourism Licenses

Dubai is popularly known for its amazing tourist attractions and if you are looking to set up a company that embarks on tourism-related activities, the tourism license is the right option for you. It is issued to owners of facilities that specialize in tourist activities, such as;
  • Hotels
  • Travel agents
  • Restaurants
  • Cruise boat rental
  • Tourist camps
  • Floating restaurants
  • and more

Be aware that it is illegal to conduct a business with the intention of making profit in the UAE without a license.

Business license procedures and documents vary according to the legal status of the enterprise and the economic activity it intends to carry out.

Licenses need to be renewed every year. Due to our excellent relationship with our clients, business space provides ongoing support and we provide assistance with license renewal at due time.

Are you looking to start to be your own boss or are you conflicted on which license to get for your business activities? Speak to an expert today, contact us!

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