About General Trading License:

You’ll need to obtain a General Trading License to set up a trading business in the UAE. A general trading license allows businesses to conduct all of their trading activities under one license.

With a general trading license, there is no requirement that the goods have to be related to one another, giving you the liberty to trade in as many diverse products as you like.

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Key steps to get your UAE general trading license:

Choose Jurisdiction

A UAE Mainland General Trading License allows you to freely trade goods in the UAE and internationally. It is always recommended to opt for a mainland license for general trading over a free zone to avoid restrictions on the movement of goods.

Choose Business Activities

You may choose upto 10 activities for your general trading business involving activities which are regulated goods, ones that comply with the health and safety standards and not the ones that require external approvals i.e. guns, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Select Company Name

Choose a name for your General Trading Business after reading the do’s and don’ts of naming a company here for initial approval.

Secure Office Space and Warehouse

Since general trading is the trading of physical goods, leasing an office space and a warehouse are mandatory. A mainland license allows you to get a warehouse without any limitations compared to a free zone license, where you will have certain limitations in the area of operation and storage. Some free zones allow you to operate with a virtual office.

Customs Clearance

Getting customs clearance is a primary obligation to import goods into the country and you must obtain an import code from the customs authority by paying the applicable amount. You can register with any customs authority in the UAE.

Cost for general trading license

Get an estimate for your desired business in your desired currency in under a minute with this cost calculator


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Why choose Decisive Zone as your UAE business setup specialists?

  • We suggest different ways you can start your general trading business as per your requirements.
  • We help you choose activities in accordance with your trading license.
  • We help you with the approvals required for your chosen activities.
  • We help you choose the right jurisdiction for you i.e. mainland or free zone.
  • We take care of the paperwork and customs clearances.

General requirements

  • Sponsor’s passport with residence visa and Emirates ID
  • Dependents’ passport copies
  • Dependents’ passport-size photo
  • Attested marriage certificate (MOFA, country attestation, Arabic translation)

Minimum salary requirements:

  • For male expatriates: AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 plus accommodation.
  • For female expatriates: AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 plus accommodation.
  • The minimum monthly salary to sponsor parents and parents-in-law is AED 20,000.

Proof of relationship and dependency:

  • Marriage certificate (attested & translated copy).
  • Birth certificate for children (attested & translated copy).
  • With a non-objection certificate from the biological parent for stepchildren.
  • With legal adoption papers for adopted children.
  • Sponsor’s birth certificate for parents.
  • Additional documents to show proof of parents’ dependency may be required.

A sponsor may also apply for dependent visas for parents-in-law by submitting a marriage certificate and the spouse’s birth certificate. In this way, a connection between the sponsor and the parents-in-law can be established.

Proof of domicile:

The sponsor must be able to show that the dependent will have a decent place to stay while residing in the UAE, that the domicile will have enough rooms for the number of dependents, and that the domicile actually has active utilities.

  • Tenancy contract or title deed.
  • At least 1 bedroom for immediate family – spouse and children.
  • At least 2 bedrooms for extended family – parents or parents-in-law.
  • Recent utility bills (DEWA, SEWA, ADDC, etc.)

In addition to this, family members over 18 years of age have to pass the medical fitness test from a health centre approved by the UAE government.