How to Get An Import Export Licence in Dubai?

Is Import Export Business Profitable in Dubai?

UAE is one of the easiest place to start import export business due to its great infrastructure and an ideal hub to trade from al the corners of the world. UAE is located between Asia, Europe, and the African Continents. During the past few years, Dubai import export business has been one of the most profitable businesses. It is globally well connected with all the locations which allows easy travel across the world. It also offers a great time zone to coordinate the trade with other countries east as well as west.

Dubai government has started providing e-services to the import and export companies in Dubai in order to help them function smoothly and efficiently. The UAE is rich in petrochemical and natural gas contributing to the majority of exports.

Investors choose the Mainland of Dubai due to the many business benefits. The 100% foreign ownership, low taxation, advanced logistics support, easy transport of goods, etc., are a few business benefits for the investors. Also, the flexibility in choosing the office area and warehouse location in Mainland of Dubai attracts many global investors to choose the mainland to keep the overall cost low.

Dubai import export business requires an import export license to function. The investor must follow a process to obtain the Import Export License from the Mainland of Dubai. The process to obtain a license is very simple and can be done online. However, if you are exporting or importing special or restricted goods then you need to acquire a special license from the Customs Office.

How can you You start your Import Export business in Dubai, Mainland?

The import export business licence allows you to import export products. Here are the simple steps you may follow to get your Import Export business in Dubai, Mainland.

  • Decide the trading activity and business structure: Select your business activity from the list provided by Dubai Economic Department. The legal form must match the activity undertaken by your company.  You can start your import export business either on the Dubai mainland or in a UAE free zone.
  • Select a company name:  It is very important to be aware of the regulations on selecting a company name. You must avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Of course you will also need to ensure your chosen company name is still available for you to register. You must submit at least 3 names for your business to DED.
  • Apply for your license: You can apply for your trading license either directly to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or municipality in your chosen emirate if you are planning to set up on the mainland, or to the managing authority of one of the UAE’s many free zones.
  • Appoint a local sponsor for your business if required.
  • Prepare and sign the MOA or LSA Agreements: The partner and the local sponsor must sign the Memorandum of Association and Local Service Agreements.
  • Customs Requirements: If you are planning to trade with the wider world, you will need to consider customs requirements . Register your import export company with Dubai Customs and get the import export custom code.The registration is done through unique Customs Code.
  • Establish a business location: Select the office/shop/warehouse location and get an rent agreement for it.
  • Get an additional approval: Take an additional approval in case needed as per the selected business activity.
  • Pay the fees: Pay the required fee as per the payment voucher issued
  • Collect the licence: You can collect your business licence over the DED’s service centres or through DED’s website.
  • Register your company name in immigration department and get an investor/partner visa issued for the owners of the business.
  • Apply for the bank account: to trade in the UAE as per your operations and transactions.

What are the documents required for export and import license in UAE?

  • Names chosen for your business activity
  • Business Activity
  • Company registration application form
  • Passport copies of all the shareholders
  • UAE residence visa copy of the partners
  • Copy of the entry stamp or visa page if the partner is on visit visa
  • Passport copy and Emirates ID of local sponsor

What are the customs in Dubai, UAE?

Apart from getting the import export license, you also need to register with the Customs Department. An import code from UAE customs is required to bring goods into UAE by sea or air. Commodities which pass through customs from a free zone to local market are liable for duty.

As you are planning to trade with the wider world, you will need to consider customs requirements. You can obtain your code by applying to the customs department of the emirate you wish to set up in. For this, you will need to have the below documents to complete your custom registration procedure for obtaining the import code in Dubai.

  • Trade license and Memorandum of Association of the newly formed company
  • Passport Copy of the Owner
  • Owners Visa Copy (if UAE residence visa is stamped)
  • Tenancy Agreement of the Office/Warehouse
  • Request Letter for the Import Export Code
  • Import Export Code Fee Payment

Once the required documents are submitted to Dubai Customs via an online portal and the fee payment is made, the documents will be reviewed by the Port and Customs authority and the import-export code will be issued to the company.

How can you Export from Dubai, UAE?

Export License is required when you want to trade in goods or services produced locally in some other country or among the free trade zone of UAE. If the goods are exported to any of the Free Trade Zones of the UAE, they are not subject to pay any customs duty. Although the Free Trade Zone is an integral part of UAE, it doesn’t come under the UAE Customs Territory.

The exporter needs to go through the below steps:

  • The exporter has to submit the documents required at the Customs Office.
  • Export declaration registration fee is to be paid at the Customs Office.
  • Later, Customs declaration certificate is issued.

What documents are required for Export in Dubai, UAE?

  • The licensing agency in the country should give the company an approved Export Declaration Certificate or the Instructions of the Declaration of Goods Application (IDG). This is required for airport customs point of entry.
  • If commodity exported falls in the restricted list, the exporter should have a permit from the competent agencies.
  • A Sales invoice is required from the company which should provide the description of goods, quantity, and value of each item. An invoice should be addressed to the company outside UAE.

What are the procedures of Import from Dubai, UAE?

Import License is required to purchase commodities from outside the borders of UAE or from the foreign country or form any other province of Emirates by meeting all legal procedures, documentation, permissions, and terms of licensing. Anyone can become an importer by availing this license from the UAE license authority.

The importer needs to go through the below steps:

  • Submit the original Bill of Lading and pay dues (if any) to the shipping agent as the vessel arrives. A Delivery Order will be issued by the shipping agent.
  • All cargo clearance formalities should be completed before the expiry date of Delivery order. The shipping agent will issue the Delivery order 3-4 days prior to the arrival of the vessel.
  • To proceed to the custom clearance, the Import Declaration application is to be submitted online by logging in to Dubai Trade. The importer should make payment of customs duties and other fees online. The importer should procure consent if the commodities imported are restricted or have an exempt duty before filing the Customs Import Declaration.
  • Dubai Customs will authenticate the documents and may inspect goods before giving the possession of cargo to the importer.
  • After the container is discharged, the importer can then appoint a transport company to receive delivery of container/commodities.
  • As per the Customs Import Declaration, if any inspection is required then the container will be taken to the inspection area of the competent authority and only after getting the inspection clearance, the container will exit.

Which documents are required in Import procedure in Dubai, UAE?

  • Invoice mentioning the total quantity, goods description and total value of each item addressed to the importer.
  • Certificate of Origin stating the origin of goods approved by the country of origin’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • A document mentioning the detailed weight of each product in a container, method of how it is packed and the HS Code for all items is required.
  • Import Permit from the competent agencies if importer in importing restricted goods or duty exempted goods.

How much does it cost to start an Import Export business in Dubai?

The cost of obtaining the import export licence will depend on many factors based on your location, business activities, company size and other operational costs. However, in most cases, the start-up costs are usually starts from approximately AED 25K. This cost may vary depending on the activities chosen, government fees and the territory from which one is carrying out the business.

To make it easier, once you have your business plan ready in your hand, you can always take help from the expert business setup consultants in Dubai UAE, who will assist you through the process to obtain a licence for your import export business, and take care of all the necessary admin tasks leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best.

Infographic on how to start your Import-Export Business in mainland Dubai

how to start your Import-Export Business in mainland Dubai
0 0 votes
Article Rating


Human Resource professional and writer.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x