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Procedures for Obtaining a Commercial License in Dubai

Obtaining a Commercial License in Dubai

The Department of Economic Development in Dubai has implemented an effective strategy to reduce the time and effort taken to establish and register companies in the UAE. 

There are three categories of commercial licenses, namely:

  • Commercial license.
  • Industrial license.
  • Professional license.

The Establishment of a Company in Dubai

The Department of Economic Development is the only authority authorized to grant commercial licenses and register companies in Dubai. 

Initial Approval

Initial Approval must be obtained prior to conducting business in Dubai. This service is provided by the Department of Economic Development for the benefit of the business community, whereby the investor is granted the initial approval to proceed with and finalize all the procedures in the relevant government departments to establish the company. In order to obtain the initial approval, the investor may approach one of the Department’s service centers or log onto the website or smart application. 

Requirements for Initial Approval

  • Confirmation of the commercial activity which the company will be performing.
  • Completion of the commercial registration and licensing form.
  • ID number / passport number.
  • A copy of the residence/visit visa.
  • A letter of no objection from the sponsor for residents who are not citizens of the GCC countries.
  • The decision of the parent company’s board of directors to open a branch in Dubai.
  • Payment of service fees.

Final Approval

Requirements for Final Approval 

  1. Confirmation of the Initial Approval and all previously submitted documents.
  2. A copy of the rental contract authentication certificate issued by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency in Dubai.
  3. The Articles of Association, duly certified.
  4. Approval of other government agencies for the activity, where required.
  5. Service agent appointment contract.

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Dubai Instant License Initiative

In conjunction with the licensing and commercial registration sector of the Department of Economic Development, the instant license initiative has been launched to provide a further avenue for investors and businessmen to obtain commercial licenses quickly and easily. 

The initiative is a service whereby businesses can secure their commercial license in one-step within five minutes without having a company’s lease or location for the first year only.

All commercial companies affiliated with the Department of Economic Development can benefit from this initiative, except for public and private shareholding companies.


  • The presence of all partners or one partner is required when applying through service centers or customer happiness centers.
  • Copies of the passports for all parties to the license.
  • Copies of residency visas.
  • A letter of no objection from the sponsor to foreign parties.
  • Copies of visit visas for foreign parties.

Commercial License Statistics for 2020

The Department of Economic Development issued a report indicating that license renewal transactions accounted for 74% of total transactions, followed by 7% in respect of license amendment transactions.

Renewal of Commercial Licenses

Automatic renewal services for commercial licenses can be obtained on the Department’s website, the smart application or by visiting a service center. 

A business license can also be renewed by sending a text message with the license number to 6969.