E-commerce License in Dubai: How to Apply, Cost & More

Get all the details you need to start an online business in Dubai

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If you have interested in opening an online business in Dubai, then you must obtain your e-commerce license in Dubai first.

An e-commerce trade license is a permit to conduct business via online or social media. There are three e-commerce license types: traders, virtual spacers, and people outside Dubai who want to conduct business. You can get this license for around AED 8750.

This guide covers everything from getting an e-commerce license cost in Dubai to the required documents, and benefits of having an e-commerce business license in the UAE.

How to get an E-commerce license in Dubai?

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The steps to get an E-commerce license are pretty simple, just like a regular trade license. To get an e-commerce license in Dubai, you must have a predetermined business structure, have a business name, rent office space, submit proper documents, pay necessary fees, and open a bank account.

Now let’s take a look at these steps in far more detail.

Step 1. Select business structure

When establishing an e-commerce business in Dubai, one of the first things you need to do is decide on your business structure. Dubai has two main business options: free zones and the mainland.

Each option has its own set of rules and regulations, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your business needs.

Mainland businesses in Dubai are subject to UAE commercial law, which can be complex and challenging for businesses to navigate.

On the other hand, free zone businesses are subject to their laws and regulations. These can be more straightforward than UAE commercial law, but free zone businesses often have restricted customer access.

Step 2. Name your business

Another step in applying for an e-commerce license in Dubai is to name your business or organization. You must know that the UAE government strictly rules the company’s naming.

The government forbids the company name to mention Allah or any kind of information that insults Islam or any other religion.

Once you reserve your name or name for your business, you have to publish it in the local newspaper, which gives local people the to claim or protest for the name for two days.

Once the two days pass, you can use the name of your business.

Step 3. Approval from DED

Now that you have determined the name of your business, you have to get initial approval from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.

You have to fill up the form in DED and submit it for the department to check for the first time. In the form, you have to showcase your business’s name and business plan.

If the department considers your business legit, you will get initial approval; otherwise, you may have to start from scratch.

Step4. Get your business place

If you’re considering starting an e-commerce business in Dubai, you’ll need to decide whether to look for a physical or virtual business location.

Virtual office space will allow you to participate in e-commerce, but if you have physical space, you can also convert your business to other types.

Both options have pros and cons, so deciding what is crucial to your needs is essential. If you opt for virtual office space, you’ll save on rent and other overhead costs, but you’ll miss out on the benefits of having a physical presence, such as showcasing your products in person.

Step5. Pay necessary fees

The final step to applying for an e-commerce license in Dubai UAE is to submit all the necessary documents and also pay all the needed fees to get your e-commerce trade license in Dubai.

When all the fees and documents are in order, DED will issue your new e-commerce license. After that, you will be eligible to start your e-commerce license in Dubai.

Documents required to get an e-commerce license in Dubai

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To get an E-commerce license in Dubai, you will need some documents. These documents are needed to submit to the DED department to comply with their regulations. Submitting these documents is mandatory even to get initial approval and your desired e-commerce license.

  • Local service agreement or civil works agreement,
  • Passports and visas copies of all the shareholders,
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC),
  • Sponsors’ Emirate IDs copies, and
  • MOA (Memorandum of Association) draft.

If DED needs more transparency, they will ask for even more documents you must compulsorily provide to the department.

What are the costs of getting an E-commerce license in Dubai?

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The e-commerce license cost in Dubai starts from AED 8050; however, based on the location of your business, these costs might increase even more.

Similarly, the cost to get a license may depend on whether your business is either in the Dubai mainland area or Dubai free zone.

So let’s get into the e-commerce cost in Dubai based on the location of the business.

Free zone e-commerce license cost in Dubai

In the free zone location of Dubai, you can start your business for the minimal cost of around AED 8050, and the best part is that you won’t incur any additional costs. Similarly, in Dubai, you can find a free zone location in Dubai Commercity DCC. [1]UAE Government Portal, “DCC free zone, … Continue reading

Moreover, you will get many advantages in the Dubai free zone, such as a Free P.O Box, complete ownership of your place and business, and a free Dubai office address with a company stamp.

In addition, you will get a free e-commerce license that will grant you to start a business apart from a specific particular condition and complete business documentation to make your business legal.

Freezone e-commerce license cost in Dubai’s mainland

Another location to start a business in Dubai is the mainland. Generally, in the Dubai mainland location, you may have to incur some extra costs, so you may have to incur from AED 8050 to AED 15,000.

Similarly, you can only get big government or foreign contracts if you have business in the Dubai mainland area, so naturally, you have to comply with all the regulations of the UAE government to establish a business there.

When you establish your business in Dubai’s mainland area, you’ll also be eligible for several benefits, including an E-Commerce License, a Local Services Agent, a Free Virtual Dubai Office, and more.

Benefits of having an E-commerce business in the UAE

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E-commerce businesses have been on the rise in the UAE in recent years, and there are several reasons for this. For one, the UAE has a population that is increasingly connected to the internet and comfortable making online purchases. In addition, the UAE has a business-friendly environment, with several initiatives supporting e-commerce businesses.

So let’s get into all the benefits in detail.

1. 100% ownership

100% ownership is a significant perk of setting up an e-commerce business in the UAE. As the sole owner, you’ll have complete control over your company’s operations and future. There’s no need for local or foreign sponsors, and you won’t have to share your profits. This autonomy gives you the power to make all the decisions about your business, from what products to sell to how to run your day-to-day operations. 

2. Open a bank account easily

Dubai is a central hub for e-commerce, and setting up a bank account is easy if you have an e-commerce license. Several banks offer e-commerce accounts, which can be opened online or in person. Likewise, the process is straightforward, and you will only need to provide your passport and proof of address.

Once your account is open, you can start processing transactions and receiving customer payments. Dubai has a very business-friendly environment, and there are several benefits to setting up a bank account here.

3. Easy import and export of goods

An e-commerce trade license in Dubai is key to unlocking the city’s many transportation and import/export benefits. As a hub of international business, Dubai is exceptionally well-connected, making it easy to bring goods into and out of the city.

This is excellent news for businesses that rely on importing and exporting products, as it gives them access to a broader range of goods and services.

And with the help of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, businesses can register their company and start taking advantage of all the city has to offer. 

5. Register the business name of your choosing

When starting an e-commerce business in Dubai, you can choose any name you like for your company. This flexibility allows you to pick a name representing your brand identity and values.

Once you have chosen an appropriate name, you can register your business with the help of an e-commerce trade license. This will give you legal permission to operate as an online retailer in Dubai.

Types of E-commerce licenses in Dubai

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Dubai is a leading e-commerce hub in the Middle East, with a growing number of businesses looking to set up shop in the city. There are three main types of e-commerce licenses available in Dubai: e-trader licenses, virtual company licenses, and portal licenses.

Now let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.

E-trader license

The e-trader license is the e-commerce license that GCC nationals can hold. With this license, Dubai residents can now conduct online business with foreign countries.

Getting an e-trader license begins with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) reviewing the proposed business to ensure its legality. Once the DED has accepted the business, the applicant can apply for the e-trader license.

Moreover, this license allows businesses to engage in various activities, such as buying and selling goods and services, marketing and advertising, and processing payments. It is a crucial tool for businesses looking to enter the online marketplace.

Virtual company license

The Dubai Economy has recently established a new commercial license called the virtual company license.

This license permits non-residents of the UAE to invest and begin businesses in computer programming, graphic design, printing, or advertising.

The virtual company license allows for complete ownership of the business by the non-resident, and there are no physical office space requirements.

This is a significant development as it opens up opportunities for entrepreneurship and investment in Dubai by individuals who may not have considered it before.

Portal license

Another e-commerce license available in Dubai is the portal. Non-UAE residents can use this type of license to connect buyers and sellers who are residents of the UAE. A portal license can also be used for listing products, services, or registration websites.

Depending on the business requirements, a specific cost may be associated with acquiring a portal license. However, this license type can be beneficial for businesses that want to operate in the e-commerce space in Dubai.

Hence these are some of the types of e-commerce licenses in Dubai. You can choose either of the e-commerce licenses to determine which type of business you want to open in the first place.

Related Info

  • If you are wondering about the process and prices of getting a trade license, check our guide on trade license in Dubai.

FAQs on E-commerce license in Dubai

Does a trade license include e-commerce in Dubai?

Yes, a trade license includes e-commerce in Dubai. If you want to do business online in Dubai, you can apply for e-trade, portal, and virtual trading license. You can only conduct e-commerce in Dubai if you have a particular trade license.

How much is an e-commerce license in free zones in Dubai?

The cost of an e-commerce license in the free zone part of Dubai costs between AED 5750 and 8050. [2]UAE Government Portal, “DCC free zone, … Continue reading

How can I get an e-commerce business license in Dubai?

You can easily get an e-commerce business license in Dubai by applying for it in DED and submitting the necessary documents after paying specific fees.

How much is an e-commerce license in Dubai?

E-commerce license cost in Dubai depends upon the location and types of business. However, the range of costs begins from AED 8050 to AED 15,000.

Do you need a license for e-commerce in UAE?

Yes, you need to obtain a license for e-commerce in UAE, whether it is an e-trader license, portal license, or virtual license.

How can I get an e-trade license in Dubai?

You can get an e-trade license in Dubai by applying via DED. You must submit all the documents, and your business must be legal for DED to approve your business. Once you pay the complete fees, they will generate your e-trade license.

Final thoughts

Overall, an e-commerce license in Dubai is the final permit needed to open any online business. These licenses can easily be applied via the website of DED.

We hope our guide above answers all your question on the types, benefits, and e-commerce license cost in Dubai.

So, did you apply for your license? If not, you can bookmark this page for your future reference.

About the author

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Arijit Negi
Senior Contributor | + posts

Arijit Negi is a Senior Contributor at DbdPost. He has been living in Dubai for the last 18 years. He completed his degree in Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Mumbai. Arijit's writing focuses on providing helpful guides and information for ex-pats living in UAE, as well as visitors to the UAE.

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