How to get your e-commerce license in Dubai

get your ecommerce license in Dubai and the UAE

How to get your e commerce license in Dubai

There are many great reasons to start a business in Dubai – zero tax, a global location at the centre of the business world and an encouraging business landscape to name just a few.

When it comes to setting up an e-commerce business, there’s even more advantages to be had. Dubai is home to a fast-growing e-commerce market with around one in three residents making an online purchase at least once a month.

What’s more, the Emirates’ company incorporation process is so straightforward, with the right guidance, that you could be trading within just a few days of making your license application. In most cases, you are also free to set up your e-commerce business in the Dubai but trade from anywhere else in the world.

So, if you are wondering – how can I get ecommerce license in Dubai? – wonder no more. Here’s your easy guide to getting a UAE e-commerce market.

Free zone or mainland?

 Before making your e-commerce license application, there are a few tasks that you’ll need to check off. The first is on the setup type that best suits your needs.

There are two common options in the UAE – free zone or mainland. Should you decide to set up in the mainland, you are free to trade directly with the local UAE market without working with a local agent, and you are permitted to take on often lucrative government contracts.

Alternatively, if you opt for UAE free zone, as well as benefiting from the UAE’s zero percent tax rate, you can also take advantage of full customs tax exemption, no currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate 100% of your capital and profit. You will, however, require the services of a local agent or distributor if you wish to trade directly with the local UAE market.

There are two common options in the UAE – free zone or mainland. Should you decide to set up in the mainland, you are free to trade directly with the local UAE market without working with a local agent, and you are permitted to take on often lucrative government contracts. Alternatively, if you opt for UAE free zone, as well as benefiting from the UAE’s zero percent tax rate, you can also take advantage of full customs tax exemption, no currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate 100% of your capital and profit. You will, however, require the services of a local agent or distributor if you wish to trade directly with the local UAE market.

Choosing your company name?

You’ll also need to decide on a company name before making your license application. It might seem peculiar to include this as a standalone step, however it takes on extra prominence here in the UAE.

The Emirates has a strict set of naming conventions that will not be familiar to anyone outside of the region.  

When choosing a name for your Dubai business, you must keep in mind that it cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language, nor any references to Allah or Islam. If you wish to include your name in your company name, you must use it in full rather than just your surname or initials.

Finally, you must check that your chosen name is available to be registered. Again, a company formation expert can help you with this step, making suggestions and checking that your chosen name is free.  

Making your e-commerce license application. The process of making your e-commerce application will differ depending on whether you opt for a free zone or mainland setup.

If you wish to establish your business in a free zone you can apply directly to the free zone in question. If you prefer to set up in the mainland, you should apply to the municipality or Department of Economic Development in the emirate you wish to set up in. In both cases, you will be required to submit some basic documentation, including passport copies, along with your completed application form.

As the application process is very particular – and inaccuracies and omissions can lead to delays and rejection – it is a good idea to work with a company formation expert such as Trade License Zone at this stage. We can handle every aspect of your application for you, liaising with all authorities on your behalf and advising on the type of setup that best suits your needs.

Applying for your visas.ith your license application complete, you can now apply for your UAE residence visa, as well as those of your employees.

The number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your business and where you choose to set up. When it comes to applying for visas for dependants – such as domestic staff or your spouse or children – the process is equally straightforward providing you meet the eligibility criteria.

Opening your corporate bank account. The final step before you can start trading in the UAE is to open a corporate bank account. This is not always easy for foreign business owners in the UAE. While there are many local and international banks to choose from in Dubai, all have different application and acceptance criteria and navigating them can be a minefield.

Working with an expert can help here too. As well as advising on the most suitable bank for your business, we can also organise meetings for you with financial institutions.

Dubai e-commerce license cost

The exact e-commerce license cost in Dubai will depend on many factors. These include the size of your business, the number of visas you apply for, whether you require office space as part of your package and your choice regarding the free zone or mainland.

However, to give an idea of cost, you can expect to pay somewhere between AED 15,000 and AED 50,000 depending on your requirements.

If you are looking to keep start-up costs low, setting up in a free zone is often the best approach.

e-commerce business setup in Dubai

Are you ready to apply for your e-commerce license in Dubai?


Provided you have the right support and are armed with the correct information, applying for an e-commerce business license in Dubai can be both easy and affordable.

However, while the application process isn’t difficult, it does require an expert eye. Any errors in your application could lead it to being delayed or rejected. That’s why it’s often a good idea to work with a company setup specialist to help you establish your business.

When you work with a company setup expert, all you need to provide is some basic documentation and a little information about the nature of your business. Then, sit back and let the experts take care of the rest – managing your license and visa applications, communicating with all relevant departments and authorities, and reporting back when you’re ready to start trading. It really is that simple.