Different types of business licenses in the UAE

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Many entrepreneurs aspire to open a business in the United Arab Emirates regardless of their experience in the commercial sector and current competitive position in the market. This is due to the need to relocate the company due to economic or political sanctions, as well as the favorable conditions for development in this country. However, to start operations, one needs to study the various types of business licenses in the UAE and choose the appropriate format for the entrepreneur's goals.

Types of Licenses in the UAE: Main Groups and Types

The first step in opening a business in the United Arab Emirates is choosing the relevant type of company, which depends on the commercial objectives and plans for scaling. In the UAE, there are three options based on geographical principles. Mainland companies allow conducting activities throughout the country, free zones restrict work to free trade zones, and offshore companies involve physical business operations outside the country. Each group allows for its own types of licenses – commercial, industrial, service, and tourism.

Types of Commercial Licenses

This type is suitable for the classic variant of commercial activities in the UAE regardless of the company's format – retail outlets, food service establishments, service providers, etc. A trading license can be either general or specialized. The latter limits the sale of goods and services specified in the activities, the total number of which should not exceed ten items.

Industrial Licenses in the UAE

These are necessary for registering companies engaged in manufacturing, processing, and related services in the mainland or free zones of the United Arab Emirates. Specific licensing requirements for this type are set based on the nature of the activity and the volume of foreign investments in the enterprise. Obtaining industrial licenses involves conditions regarding production safety, labor protection, and environmental standards.

Types of Professional Licenses

A professional or service license is necessary for providing services to the population or businesses in the UAE. This type of licensing covers activities in the economic, legal, entertainment, and agricultural sectors. The procedure for obtaining depends on the local requirements of the relevant regulatory authorities. Such a license is relevant for both individual entrepreneurs and civil companies (LLC) in organizational and legal form.

UAE License for Tourism Business

To conduct activities in the tourism sector, permission from the UAE Department of Tourism is required, which is particularly relevant in Dubai. This option is permissible for both mainland or free zone companies and offshore companies. However, it is necessary to consider the conditions for ensuring service safety, insurance, labor protection, and qualified management. For example, a mainland tourism license allows conducting tourism business without restrictions, while additional approvals from regulatory authorities are required for free zone operations.

Stages of Business Licensing in the United Arab Emirates

Obtaining a business license in the UAE is mandatory and consists of several stages. Along with general requirements, each emirate sets its own conditions for obtaining various types of licenses. Therefore, after choosing the organizational and legal form and the place of registration, it is necessary to obtain the necessary permits from regulatory authorities, as well as pay the registration fee and the cost of the license. The amount and duration of obtaining depend on the specific type of business.

Licensing activity is one of the mandatory conditions for opening an enterprise in the United Arab Emirates. The Level Consulting company helps to choose the most suitable company format, taking into account the specifics of the business and plans for territorial and commodity scaling in the UAE. Our experienced business consultants accompany the registration of the organization from scratch and facilitate the relocation of the company to the United Arab Emirates through comprehensive support for the entrepreneur at every stage.

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