A Step-by-Step Handbook for Obtaining a General Trading License in the UAE

The trade licenses in the UAE offer remarkable flexibility, enabling individuals to engage in a wide array of trade involving various goods and services. Opting for a general trade license is an excellent starting point if you’ve identified an opportunity in the market. 

However, what precisely constitutes a UAE trade license, and what is the process for obtaining one? This step-by-step handbook will provide useful insights into acquiring a trade license in the UAE. 

An Overview: General Trading License in the UAE 

A General Trading License in the UAE is a permit that grants businesses the authority to export, re-export, import, and trade a diverse range of unrelated goods under a single license. 

In contrast to specific license categories, it allows trading across a broad spectrum of commodities, except prohibited items like oil, tobacco, and goods failing to meet health and safety standards. Essentially, this license opens the door for trading in various sectors, spanning from furniture and food to electronics and pet supplies. 

It offers numerous advantages, facilitating smooth trade both locally and internationally. Some key benefits include: 

  • Ability to engage in almost any industry, excluding restricted sectors. 
  • Flexibility to incorporate multiple shareholders over time.  
  • Access to advanced logistics and warehouse support. 
  • Enhanced opportunities for employee visa applications, particularly for larger premises. 

Simplified Steps for a General Trading License in the UAE  

Here are the simplified steps for obtaining a general trading license in the UAE: 

Step 1: Company Registration

Initiate the process by registering your company. Choose your business activity, and list multiple activities relevant to your UAE business if applicable. Select a trade name adhering to the UAE’s naming conventions, ensuring it is free for registration and devoid of offensive language. 

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Step 2: E-Channel Services and Entry Permit 

Register for e-channel services to streamline the application process. This online system eliminates unnecessary paperwork. After registration, apply for your entry permit, a temporary visa valid for up to 60 days. 

Step 3: Status Change 

Upon receiving the entry permit, activate your status change. This generally was done in-country, although depending on your nationality, you may now activate it by exiting and re-entering the UAE. 

Step 4: Emirates ID Registration 

Undergo a medical test for your Emirates ID card application, involving blood tests, x-rays, and other relevant check-ups. Once results are obtained, apply for your Emirates ID card, which is essential for tasks like opening a bank account, renting a property, and securing mobile phone contracts in the UAE. 

While the general trading license application process is relatively straightforward, proper documentation and information are crucial for navigating the necessary steps successfully towards your company formation. 

UAE General Trading License Cost 

The initial cost of a UAE general trading license starts at AED 5750, with additional considerations impacting the total amount. Your total license expenditure depends on the following: 

  • Type of business activity 
  • Business structure 
  • Visa quota 
  • Number of business partners 
  • Office and warehouse premises 

Engage with Trusted Business Setup Advisors 

As entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of obtaining a General Trading License, the role of business setup advisors becomes increasingly significant, particularly in Sharjah Freezones.  

Navigating the process of acquiring a general trading license in the UAE can be complex, involving paperwork and regulatory hurdles. Doing it solo may be overwhelming. The solution lies in taking assistance from trusted business setup advisors like Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone. These experienced professionals simplify the journey, guiding you through each step and ensuring a swift, hassle-free process to help you set up a company in Sharjah Freezones. 

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With their assistance, the complexities of acquiring a general trading license become manageable, allowing entrepreneurs to thrive in the vibrant UAE market. From choosing the right business structure to ensuring compliance with legal requirements, business setup advisors also provide invaluable support services. 

Additionally, you can select from over 1,500 business activities, get up to 20 visas under one trade license, and enjoy benefits such as 100% foreign ownership with zero paid-up capital. 


In the dynamic UAE market, exploring opportunities in Sharjah Freezones and obtaining a General Trading License for business setup in Sharjah positions entrepreneurs for success in the diverse and thriving business landscape. Act now to navigate the dynamic UAE market successfully. Consult with business setup experts and explore opportunities in Sharjah Freezones to position yourself for success.