Industrial license in Dubai and the UAE

man applying for an Industrial License in Dubai.

When starting a business in Dubai, one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make concerns your license.

The type of license you require will depend on the type of business activities you wish to carry out. Having aligned your chosen activities with the official Department of Economic Development list – which features over 2,000 options – you can then determine the most suitable license type.

If you intend to undertake manufacturing or industrial activities, then you will require an industrial license. Like most license types in the UAE, with the right guidance, obtaining an industrial license in Dubai doesn’t need to be complex.

Industrial license sectors in Dubai or in the UAE

There are several activities that fall under the industrial license, many are usually related to manufacturing. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Adhesive & paper slitting
  2. Books binding
  3. Casting of metals
  4. Cards & envelops printing
  5. Food & beverage manufacturing
  6. Helicopters repair & maintenance
  7. Lathe workshop
  8. Magnetic technology equipment trading
  9. Metal products coating
  10. Multi-dimensional images production (hologram)
  11. Pharmaceuticals packaging
  12. Saddle & animal, bird training requisites making
  13. Safety harness fabrication
  14. Sculptors
  15. Textile manufacturing

This is just a cross section of some of the activities covered. As a general rule of thumb, if you are involved in the fabrication, preparation, production or manufacturing of goods then you will likely require an industrial license in the UAE.

Requirements to get an industrial license in Dubai

To be eligible for an industrial license in Dubai, you must meet certain requirements.

For one, you must take on a physical premises – virtual offices are not permitted.

You must also ensure that, along with your trade license, you also hold a local industrial license from the area in which your business operates.

You are also usually required to pay up share capital. In the Dubai mainland, the requirement is AED 250,000. You must also employee at least 10 workers to be eligible for an industrial license in Dubai. Finally, depending on the exact nature of your business, you may be required to work with a local sponsor if you wish to set up in the mainland. A local sponsor would hold 51% stake in your business but usually has no say in decision making. If you wish to retain 100% ownership of your business, the easiest way to do so is to set up in a free zone.

How to apply for an industrial license  

The first thing to do if you’re considering applying for an industrial license in the UAE is to find a company formation specialist that you can trust to manage the entire process on your behalf. Not only does this remove the hassle of company incorporation, it also offers peace of mind that your application will be both complete and correct.


With this taken care of, the process of applying for an industrial license in the UAE should take no more than four steps.

  1. If you are opening or modifying a factory in order to run your business, you must first seek approval from the relevant authorities. If, however, you are planning to do business from an existing site such as a free zone, then this step is not necessary.

  2. The next step is to make your license application. If you are setting up on the mainland, you should apply directly to the DED. If, however, you are planning to do business from a free zone, you can make your application directly to them. Whichever setup you decide upon, a company formation specialist can make and manage your application on your behalf.

  3. You will also require some additional approvals before you can trade under an industrial license in the UAE. Several bodies must approve your license, including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Industrial Register and the Ministry of Health. A company formation specialist can obtain all of these approvals for you.

Finally, before you can start trading, you must apply for your UAE visa. You can make your visa application at the same time as applying for your company license. You can do this yourself or, once again, work with a company formation expert who can manage the application as part of the business incorporation process. It is also possible to sponsor others for their UAE visas too, such as your children, partner or parents.

Calculating the total industrial license Dubai cost

The cost of applying for your industrial license will depend largely on whether you do so on the mainland or in a free zone.

As well as the cost of the trade license, you should also account for additional approvals and registrations as well as the cost of leasing premises. On average, an industrial license costs around AED 25,000.

Setting up in a free zone is usually a more cost-effective approach and it is possible to find packages for less than this amount that include use of on-site premises and the cost of visa applications.

Starting an industrial business in Dubai and the UAE

The process of applying for an industrial license in Dubai has been designed with simplicity in mind. That said, it does need some in-depth knowledge of the UAE and its many customs and regulations.

That’s why it’s always advisable to acquire the services of a business setup company who can not only advise on the process but also seek out the most suitable setup type for your business, based on your needs and your budget.

When you use business setup services, you also gain peace of mind that your license and visa applications are free from errors and omissions – both of which can lead to delays and rejection. When you work with a company formation specialist in Dubai, 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.