8 Special Business Licenses for Mainland Company Formation in Dubai

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The Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai is the business licensing and governing authority for all the company formation related activities in the mainland of Dubai. To promote trade and entrepreneurship, DED has various business license categories for investors to conduct various business activities in Dubai and UAE.

Here is a glance at the special Business License categories issued by the DED to the foreign investors for setting up their business establishments and successfully operate in the UAE.

Types of Special Business License Types in the Mainland of Dubai

1. Instant License from DED

The business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED) has issued 1882 instant licenses until the end of 2018. Out of the total licenses issued (87%) are for commercial and 13% for the professional category.

Instant License Issuance in Dubai

The instant license is issued within 5 min in one step. There is no requirement of a lease contract or physical office location for the first year. The instant license also offers the option of an electronic contract as an addition to the physical license and entry into the DED’s commercial registry.

Also, the licensee is given membership in the Dubai Chamber instantly as well as establishment cards of the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization and the General Directorate of Residency & Foreign Affairs. Four legal forms of businesses can be set up: Limited Liability Company, One person LLC, Sole Proprietorship, and Civil Company.

Instant License from DED – Characteristics

Investors have to note the following characteristics of the Instant License issued from DED. The Instant License has to be renewed every year & after the first year, the owner has to ensure the company follows the general requirements of a mainland company.

Instant License Characteristics for the first year of Business  

  • No Memorandum of Association (MOA) in the first year
  • No Trade name reservation – Automatic name will be generated.
  • NOC from the current sponsor and a copy of UAE Residency is required.
  • No signed lease contract is required for the first year

All types of companies except the Public and Private Joint-Stock Company can be formed using the DED Instant License.

Documents required

  • Copy of passport of the shareholders
  • Copy of residence visa and letter of no objection from the sponsor to the foreign parties

The instant license is aimed at promoting sustainable economic development in Dubai by making it easier for investors to start a business in the region.

2. Consultancy Licenses from DED

The Consultancy License is issued by the DED for various business activities as follows. However, there are some prerequisites for obtaining the Consultancy License in Dubai.

Type of Company Structure for Consultancy License

Business activities under the Consultancy License cannot take a Limited Liability Company as a legal form. They can either be incorporated as a Sole Proprietorship or as a Civil Work Company. The Business owner/director must join a training program from the American University of Dubai for qualifying as directors in the consultancy domain.

3. Dubai Municipality-related Engineering Activities

Only engineering related activities can be incorporated under this license. The company cannot form an LLC Company but a sole proprietor or as a Civil Works Company. The shareholders, owners, & partners must be having a university degree or equivalent experience in the respective consultation field.

4. Legal Consultation Activities

For Legal Consultancy, the owner has to get an approval from the Legal Affairs Department before obtaining the initial approval and the trade name from the DED. There is no requirement of appointing a corporate agent for opening branches.

5. Freelance Permit from DED

There are more than 100 activities under the freelance license offered by the Dubai Economic Department. A wide range of activities from mobile repairing, marketing services, document storage, social media, Website Design, Data entry, etc., can be chosen by the individual for applying for the freelance permit.

6. E-Trader License from Dubai Economy (DED)

It allows UAE Nationals and GCC nationals residing in Dubai to conduct social media business activities through available social media platforms. The E-Trader is registered under the single owner name and not a company. They cannot open a shop, issue visas or hire any staff.

7. E-Commerce License

Companies involved in selling & buying goods online have to apply for an E-Commerce License from the DED before they initiate any service delivery. Getting an eCommerce License from the DED is an easy and simple process.

Advantages of E-Commerce License In Dubai

The main advantage of an eCommerce license is that there is no mandatory requirement of having a physical office space in Dubai for the issuance of the license.

Also, there is no paid-up share capital required for an eCommerce venture. The requirement of a physical office comes into the picture once you wish to hire staff and grow your venture.

The digital and technology infrastructure in Dubai and the wide variety of audience demographics make it a perfect place to start an eCommerce business and scale up easily.

8. Social Media License

Social media as a platform for promoting business and trading is becoming popular.

Based on the data from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED), more than 3000 licenses have been issued since 2017 for trading in social media.

Scope of Social Media License in Dubai

The DED has an e-Trader license for UAE Nationals and GCC Nationals, for ex-pats and Foreign investors they can apply for a social media license.

Also, if you are a social media influencer, apply for a social media license from DED and then get a permit from the National Media Council.

The Social Media trading Space in the UAE is regulated for entrepreneurs. Only those who have the right business Licenses are legally entrusted to do special media trading and promotional activities, else heavy fines will be levied.

To know more about any specific license types and how to apply for a business license in UAE the most comfortable way, talk to our experts right away!


A Marketing Consultant working @Aurion Business Consultants specialized in writing about Business Setup in UAE tips, License Packages, Free Zones, LLC Company Formation, Startups, etc in the UAE.


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