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Start, Add or Change Business Activity in Dubai, UAE

Add or Change Business Activity in Dubai

In order to start a business in the UAE, a trade license is required from the Department of Economic Development. In order to proceed further, you’re in need to hire a sponsor.

The requirement for starting a new business venture

  • Sponsor Requirement: Nationals other than GCC nationals are not permitted to have majority shares outside of free zones. A system developed by DED that GCC nationalists will own 51% of the business foreign investor will have 49%, apart from this other necessary details related to profit and loss will be set in a separate contract. Local sponsor’s job is only to assist a company to meet the requirement set by the government such as trade licenses in Dubai, permissions, visas and labor-related paperwork. He will be signing authority on most official documents.
  • Investment Limits: Department of Economic Development has set minimum investment limits in order to obtain a business license.
  • Approvals Required: Certain businesses setup requires split approvals from different authorities or ministries before the completion of trade application. While applying for a trade name one should inquire about the approvals required to conduct a business activity. Investors must have a valid address and a genuine site or office.
  • Guide Lines: Investors must conduct preface research as much as possible using different means and sources like participating in trade shows, exhibitions or should hire a consultancy firm before applying for the trade license.


Testimonials required for Initial Approval

  • Proof of reserved Business setup name with Registration and licensing application.
  • For Non-GCC Nationals Photocopy of applicant’s passport along with residence permit/visa particulars
  • For UAE nationals photocopy of applicant’s naturalization identification
  • For Non-GCC Sponsors should provide No-objection certificate for the applicants.
  • No objection certificate from the sponsor of Director & passport copy of the director
  • Permit of the court to conduct business in case if applicants below 21 years.
  • Other relevant Approval.

Testimonials required after getting the Initial Approval

  • Receipt of Initial Approval.
  • Documents submitted while applying for Initial Approval.
  • Photocopy of office site selected for lease with plot number.
  • Attestation of Contract for Professional Business Company by the Notary Public in the UAE & Contract of Civil Works business setup. For Non-GCC Appointment contract of Local Services Agent duly signed by the Notary Public in the Emirate for professional licenses of non-GCC national


  1. Confirm the category whether it is commercial, industrial and/or professional and the kind of business activity/activities to be conducted. Other related business activities that can be considered within every trade license, can only be maximum of ten activities per trade license in Dubai.
  2. Confirm the number and nationalities of the business owners.
  3. Determine all the legal requirements of the license.
  4. Ensure the trade name of the business setup.
  5. In order to get initial approval from the Department to register a trade name, can be done by visiting concerned Departmental Offices or related branches via web services.
  6. After getting the Initial Approval you can fulfill requirements regarding leasing an official site, in order to verify the suitability of the premises one should contact the relevant authority of the Department of Dubai Municipality.
  7. Required fees with application to obtain final license and signboard to display trade name as per regulations set by authorities.

Requirements for Add/Change Business Activity in Dubai

Testimonials required for Initial Approval

  • Proof of reserved trademark along with name Registration and licensing application.
  • Original Certificate of Registration and Original trade licenses in Dubai.
  • Approval from the Ministry of Economy for foreign companies registered with the Ministry and for public shareholding companies.
  • Resolution of Company’s Board of Directors to change the activity (only for franchises of foreign companies not registered with the Ministry of Economy).
  • Approval issued by Government authorities as per the type of activity.
  • Photocopy of site lease with the plot number.

Testimonials required after getting the Initial Approval

  • All documents submitted at the time of applying for Initial Approval.
  • Revision to the Memorandum of Association regarding modification of trade name or addition of Business activity.
  • Changing the Contract of the Service Agent (if any).