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If you are a passionate entrepreneur looking to start a business on the mainland, it is important to understand that it is mandatory to obtain a trade license for your business. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an excellent place to start your business as a business leader or an entrepreneur and also serves as an ideal location to establish a company due to numerous advantages like a

favorable tax system and 100% ownership of the business.

What is a professional license?

A professional license is given to an individual entrepreneur or a corporation to practice professional activities or services of any kind. For example, artisans, service providers, craftsmen, designers, and any career that relies on intellectual ability and talent. Keep in mind that the owner of such an enterprise should be owned by a single person and if it is owned by more than one individual then it is referred to as a civil corporation.

As a professional license holder, you are permitted to work legally or provide your services to employers, clients, and customers in the UAE and engage in activities that are compatible with your skills, areas of expertise, and qualifications. Foreign nationals are granted 100% ownership of business giving them the privilege of a sole proprietorship but there is one condition. You need to have a local or Emirati citizen as a service agent also known as Wakeel e Khidamt. The agent will not have direct interference in your business but will offer assistance in obtaining a license and other legal activities. They will not be responsible for the organization’s liabilities and have no equity.

Professional license activities-

The following is a list of individuals who can apply for a professional license in Dubai-

  • Business Consulting
  • Auditing, accounting, and financial advisors
  • Printing and Publishing
  • Teachers and educational professors
  • Technical services
  • Artisanship and Carpentry activities
  • Consultancy services
  • Medical services and health
  • Beauty salons
  • Lawyers and legal advisors
  • Web design services and internet
  • Information technology services
  • Architectural consultants
  • Entertainment artists and advertising consultancy
  • Management consultancy

Please note: this is not the complete list of professional activities. To view the full list, please check the Department of Economic Development (DED) website or business set up a consultancy for more information to decide which business activity will best suit your nature of business.

Professional license business activities-

  • Document clearing
  • Printing and Publishing
  • Medical services
  • Artisanship
  • Computer graphic design service
  • Security services
  • Repair services
  • Beauty salons
  • Services in Information Technology (for example- Tech support, Information security, networking, application development, web designing, cybersecurity, data storage, and so on).
  • Services in Inventive engineering (for example- HVAC, manufacturing, electrical, mechanical, chemical, architecture designing, and so on).

Advantages of a professional license-

  • 100% ownership for foreign nationals with the agreement of a local service agent
  • Flexible markets
  • License is at affordable costs
  • Wide range of activities to choose from
  • No additional corporate or income tax

Obtaining a professional license-

To obtain a professional license, you can coordinate with a business consultancy that works directly with the Department of Economic Development (DED-responsible for all license-related activities in Dubai).

  • The first step is to provide an overview of the activities you wish to carry out in your company.
  • Our business consultants will then help you with a local service agent and will handle all the legal paperwork needed to obtain this license.
  • Obtain initial approval from the DED and also a trading name and send all the documents for approval.
  • We will help get the local service agreement form notarized by a public notary.
  • Our Arabic translators will also draft an agreement with the sponsor called the Memorandum of Association (MOA).
  • If it is for a civil company license, you will need to get another registration form attested.
  • In the court, all investors or partners of business must appear before the registrar.
  • Next, get the consent for your tenancy contract.
  • All the necessary documents will be submitted to the DED branch for approval.
  • Make the payment and collect your license
  • A payment voucher which is like a bill or receipt will be given at the same time.

It is recommended to seek professional help to coordinate with DED and other government officials to speed up the process and get your license at the earliest.

What are the documents required?

  • Application form 
  • Passports of owners or partners (copies)
  • Visit, tourist, or transit visa copies of the foreign owners and partners
  • Local partner’s naturalization book or Jinsiya (copy)
  • A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from sponsors if the foreign nationals are under an employment visa. If they are on a visit visa, then only a UID number is required.
  • Initial approval from the authorities depending on the nature of activity-DED, RTA, Dubai Municipality, National Media Council, and more.
  • The documents needed for a tenancy contract submission to the Dubai Municipality include ejari registration, a rental contract, name reservation certificate, a prescribed application form (BR1 form), and initial approval from the DED.

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