Professional licenses in Dubai [2024 Guide for Entrepreneurs]

Are you looking to combine your professional skills and business savvy to become an entrepreneur in Dubai? The United Arab Emirates (UAE) provides the perfect playground to build a successful business. Professional services are in high demand in the UAE.

This article provides an overview of the professional license application process, covering the following subjects:

  • What is a professional license in Dubai?
  • Benefits of a professional license
  • Who needs a professional license in Dubai?
  • How to obtain a professional license in Dubai
  • What is the cost of a professional license in Dubai?
  • What documents are required to obtain a professional license?
  • How Trade License Zone can help

What is a professional license in Dubai?

A professional license in Dubai is a permit issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) that authorises individuals or companies to provide specific professional services within the UAE. Unlike commercial or industrial licenses, which focus on trade and manufacturing, the professional license is tailored for those offering professional services. This could range from medical services and IT services to consultancies and artisans offering handcrafted products.

If you’re an individual or a company aiming to provide professional services in Dubai, this license is for you. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur offering IT consultancy, a group of doctors seeking to set up a clinic, or an artist planning to establish a studio, the professional license ensures that you operate within the legal frameworks set by the DED.

To be eligible for a professional license, you must hold a professional degree, with proof of your education, and have experience in the relevant industry. For example, a lawyer looking to operate in the UAE will require a law degree and experience working in a law firm or other legal field.

Benefits of a professional license

1. 100% ownership for foreign investors

One of the significant attractions of the professional license in Dubai is that it allows 100% foreign ownership. This means foreign nationals do not require a local partner to own a majority stake in the business, unlike other licenses. With lower taxes for professional license holders and sole proprietorships for business owners, you’ll gain 100% of the profits.

2. No need for a local sponsor or local service agent (LSA)

Another advantage of a professional license in Dubai is the elimination of the requirement for a local sponsor or Local Service Agent (LSA). This pivotal shift in the business framework for professional license holders is a game-changer. It makes the license application process simpler and faster, with less paperwork and fewer parties involved.

3. Lower administrative and operational costs

The absence of the need for a local sponsor or LSA requirement means businesses are exempt from the related fees or profit shares. This represents a considerable annual saving, especially for companies that previously had to allocate a portion of their profits to their local sponsor. Without a local sponsor or LSA’s involvement, the financial transactions and profit distributions become straightforward and transparent. Entrepreneurs have clear visibility of all financial inflows and outflows. Additionally, by removing this requirement, businesses can reduce operational costs.

Who needs a professional license in Dubai?

The professional license in Dubai is created for individuals or entities that provide specific services based on talent, expertise, skills, and qualifications. Here is a list of professions and activities that require a professional license:

  • Architecture and engineering
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Consultancy services
  • Educational services
  • Environmental services
  • Financial services
  • IT and technology
  • Legal services
  • Media and publishing
  • Medical and health services
  • Real estate
  • Research and development
  • Travel and tourism

How to obtain a Professional License in Dubai – Six steps

Step 1: Partner with Trade License Zone

If you’re starting the process of securing a professional license in Dubai, partner with Trade License Zone. Our specialists will handle every facet of your professional license application and company registration. We’ll guide you through every part of the process, from the first step to the day you can start trading.

Step 2: Selecting business activities

Selecting business activities is vital for your professional license. You may only conduct the business activities you chose for your professional license – and failure to list all your business activities on your license application may result in penalties. There are over 2,000 business activities to choose from, and it’s best to partner with a business setup expert to ensure your license application and business activities are aligned.

Step 3: Choosing a legal structure

There are a number of different legal structures you can choose for your professional business in Dubai. These include Sole Proprietorships and Limited Liability Company (LLC) forms.

Step 4: Reserving a business name

All businesses in the UAE must reserve a business name with the Registry Office. The government has strict regulations regarding this. You can use your name in the company’s trade name, but you must use it in full instead of just your surname or initials. The business name must not include any offensive or profane language, nor any references to Allah or Islam. You need to submit three names in order of preference, and the Registry Office will check availability and compliance before granting you a reserved trade name certificate.Trade License Zone will help you choose and register your company name with minimal fuss.

Step 5: Application for initial approval

The last step before filing your professional license application is to apply for initial approval from the DED. Initial approval means that the DED has no objections to your business and that it meets the requirements of various government departments and agencies. However, this isn’t an authorisation to begin trading.

Step 6: Applying for your professional license

Once the DED has granted your initial approval, you may submit your professional license application to the DED along with your supporting documentation. After the government has reviewed your professional license application and issued your license, you’ll be required to pay for your professional license. You can then begin trading your services!

What is the cost of a professional license in Dubai?

The cost of a professional license in Dubai starts from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000. The amount depends on several factors, such as specific professional license fees, administration and government fees, tenancy contracts, and more.

For an accurate quote, reach out to Trade License Zone’s expert team.

What documents are required to obtain a professional license?

Acquiring a professional license in Dubai necessitates the submission of specific documents to the relevant authorities, ensuring that all legal and regulatory requirements are met. The list of documents most commonly required by the authorities includes the following:

  • Passport copies and passport photos of the shareholders and directors of the company
  • Completed license application form
  • Initial approval certificate
  • Business name reservation certificate
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Education and professional qualifications
  • Approvals from relevant industry authorities

How Trade License Zone can help

Establishing a professional business in Dubai comes with its set of intricacies, but with the proper guidance and expertise, it can be a seamless experience. Trade License Zone is your strategic partner in this journey, ensuring that the path to obtaining your professional license in Dubai is clear and hassle-free.

Trade License Zone provides insights into the significance and benefits of a professional license, ensuring you leverage its advantages. We help determine whether your profession requires a license, saving you precious time. Our expert team of specialists will guide you through every step, from partnering with us to finalising your business name and completing your professional license application – and offer a transparent cost structure so you have an accurate quote tailored to your needs.

Our business formation team also ensures your paperwork is accurate, from passport details to professional qualifications. Our support doesn’t end once you have your license. We assist in all communications with local departments, ensuring you’re trade-ready!

Trade License Zone is your reliable guide, helping you get the most from Dubai’s thriving professional service sector.

Contact us to get a personalized quotation based on your business activity