Types of Licenses in the UAE

A trade license is a must when it comes to conducting businesses in the UAE. The UAE economic department issues the licenses and the procedures of license issuance varies from one emirate to another. The three major types of licenses in the UAE are commercial, industrial and professional. But the government also issues various other licenses as well that are specific to certain activities.

1. Commercial licenses

Commercial licenses are granted to companies that involve in any sort of commercial trade activity, related to goods, commodities and services. One need to decide upon the activities they plan to conduct before applying for a commercial license.

Some of the activities that come under commercial activity are logistics, car rental and real estate brokerage. The tertiary activities along with the main activity should be limited to 10 per license.

2. Industrial License

Industrial licenses are required for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity in the UAE.  With the industrial license, businessmen can assemble and process goods using raw materials that are local or imported. One need to obtain an industrial license for the manufacturing of;

  • Food
  • Textile
  • Metals
  • Equipment and engines
  • Petroleum products
  • Paper

3. Professional license

Professional licenses give permission to individuals and companies to engage in a profession they are talented in, based on their educational qualification. Some of the activities that come under this license are artisan ship, carpentry, consultancy services, printing and publishing, medical services, beauty salons, computer graphic design service, repair services, security services, and document clearing etc. With a professional license, foreign investors can attain 100% ownership of their business.

4. Tourism License

Businesses that provide tourism activities such as hotel renting, tourist camps, cruise boat rental, restaurants, guest houses, travel agencies etc must acquire a trade license.

5. Agriculture license

People who are involved in activities such as cultivation and harvesting of crops, trading of pesticides, crops etc, installation of greenhouses and those who provide agricultural consultancy, should possess an agriculture license.

6. Craftsmanship license

This license is required for individuals who are involved in plumbing, carpentry, electrical work etc. If a company employs a craftsman to work for them, then they need to apply for the license.

It is illegal to conduct business in the UAE without a license; a hefty fine and even a ban on the activity will be the result. In addition, the license needs to be renewed every year in order to avoid penalties.


From navigating the intricacies of legal requirements and documentation to providing strategic advice on optimal business structures, Jumeira Consultants is dedicated to ensuring a seamless and efficient business setup experience.

For any related assistance or queries, contact us at +971 52 809 8408 or email info@jumeiraconsultants.com for the expert advice!


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