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Business setup in Dubai UAE Guide

How to Register Your General Trading LLC in Dubai?

Learn how to register a General Trading LLC in Dubai with our step-by-step guide. Simplify your business setup with expert tips and support services.


Dubai, a global business hub, offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to establish a business. One of the most popular forms of business in Dubai is the General Trading LLC (Limited Liability Company). This type of company allows for a wide range of activities, including import, export, and trading of various goods. This blog will guide you through the process of registering your General Trading LLC in Dubai, ensuring you understand each step and the requirements involved.

Process To  Register Your General Trading LLC in Dubai

1. Understanding a General Trading LLC

Before diving into the registration process, it’s crucial to understand what a General Trading LLC in Dubai entails. A General Trading LLC allows you to trade in a variety of goods under one license. This flexibility makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs who want to diversify their business activities. The main benefits include:

  • Limited Liability: Shareholders are only liable to the extent of their shares in the company.
  • Flexibility: Ability to trade multiple products under one license.
  • Market Access: Easier access to local and international markets.

2. Choose a Business Name

The first step in registering your General Trading LLC in Dubai is choosing a business name. The name should reflect the nature of your business and comply with the naming conventions set by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • The chosen name must adhere to the moral standards and societal norms of the country.
  • It should not contain any religious or political references.
  • It should be distinctive and not already registered.
  • It should not include the names of any governing authorities or logos.

3. Determine Shareholders and Capital Requirement

A General Trading LLC in Dubai must have at least two but no more than fifty shareholders, who may be individuals or corporate entities.Additionally, you need to determine the share capital of the company. While there is no minimum capital requirement mandated by the law, it is recommended to have at least AED 300,000 as share capital. The capital should be divided into equal shares, and each shareholder must subscribe to at least one share.

4. Full Foreign Ownership

As of recent regulatory changes, foreign investors can now fully own a General Trading LLC in Dubai without the need for a local sponsor. This means that you can have 100% ownership of your business, eliminating the requirement for a UAE national to hold 51% of the shares. This significant development simplifies the process for foreign entrepreneurs, allowing greater control and flexibility in managing their businesses. However, it remains essential to comply with all other local regulations and obtain the necessary approvals from relevant authorities.

5. Prepare the Memorandum of Association (MOA)

The Memorandum of Association (MOA) is a crucial document that outlines the company’s structure, activities, and shareholder responsibilities. The MOA should include:

  • Company name and address
  • Objectives and activities of the business
  • Details of shareholders and their respective shares
  • Capital structure and division of shares
  • Voting rights and decision-making process

This document must be drafted in Arabic and signed by all shareholders in the presence of a notary public.

6. Obtain Initial Approval from DED

Once the MOA is prepared, you need to obtain initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This approval confirms that the DED has no objection to you starting a business in Dubai. To obtain this approval, you need to submit:

  • Completed application form
  • Copy of the proposed company name approval
  • MOA
  • Passport copies of all shareholders
  • No-objection certificate (NOC) from the current sponsor if the shareholder is on a UAE visa

7. Lease Office Space

To register your General Trading LLC in Dubai, you must have a physical office space. This is a mandatory requirement, as virtual offices are not permitted for LLCs. You need to lease an office space that meets the requirements set by the DED. The tenancy contract should be registered with Ejari, a system that regulates and monitors rental contracts in Dubai. The registered tenancy contract, along with the Ejari certificate, must be submitted to the DED.

8. Obtain Approvals from Relevant Authorities

Depending on the nature of your trading activities, you may need to obtain additional approvals from relevant authorities. For example, if you plan to trade in pharmaceuticals, you need approval from the Ministry of Health. Similarly, trading in food items requires approval from the Dubai Municipality. It is essential to check with the DED regarding any specific approvals required for your business activities.

9. Final Submission to DED

After obtaining all necessary approvals, you need to make the final submission to the DED. This includes:

  • Initial approval receipt
  • Approved MOA
  • Registered tenancy contract and Ejari certificate
  • Approvals from relevant authorities.
  • Payment of the required fees

The DED will review your application and issue the trade license if all documents are in order.

10. Apply for Visas and Labor Cards

Once your General Trading LLC in Dubai is registered and you have obtained your trade license, you can apply for visas and labor cards for your employees. The quantity of visas you can request is contingent upon the area of your office space. The larger the office, the more visas you can sponsor. The process involves:

  • Applying for an establishment card from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE)
  • Applying for employee visas through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)
  • Obtaining labor cards for each employee from MOHRE

11. Open a Corporate Bank Account

The final step in establishing your General Trading LLC in Dubai is opening a corporate bank account. Choose a bank that meets your business needs and submit the required documents, which typically include:

  • Trade license
  • MOA
  • Passport copies of shareholders and authorized signatories
  • Proof of address (tenancy contract)
  • Resolution from the board of directors 

At Plan My Firm, we provide a one-stop solution for all your business needs in Dubai. Our services encompass everything from business consultation, license issuance, and residency services to bank account opening, legal contracts, and tax registration. We understand the intricacies involved in setting up a General Trading LLC in Dubai and are dedicated to making the process seamless for you. Our team of experts will guide you through each step, ensuring compliance with all local regulations and helping you avoid common pitfalls. Beyond the initial Business setup in Dubai, we offer ongoing support, including business plan development, market research, office space leasing, PRO services, document attestation, and translation services. Partnering with Plan My Firm means you can focus on growing your business while we handle the complexities of the establishment and compliance, providing you with the peace of mind to capitalize on the vast opportunities Dubai offers. Contact us today to embark on your business journey with confidence and ease.

What is the cost to obtain a General Trading License in Dubai?

The cost of obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai can vary depending on several factors, including the type of business activities, office space requirements, and government fees. On average, you can expect to invest anywhere from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000 or more for the initial setup, including license issuance and other associated expenses.

How long does it take to get a General Trading License in Dubai?

The timeline for obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai typically ranges from 1 to 15 days. This duration includes the preparation of necessary documents, submission to relevant authorities, and processing time for approvals. 

What is the difference between a normal trade license and a general trading license LLC?

A normal trade license in Dubai is limited to specific business activities or industries, whereas a General Trading License LLC allows for a broader scope of trading activities. With a General Trading License LLC, you have the flexibility to engage in the import, export, and trading of various goods without restrictions on specific product categories. This versatility makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to diversify their business activities.

What are the benefits of obtaining a General Trading License in Dubai?

  • Versatility: A General Trading License allows you to trade in a wide range of products, providing flexibility to adapt to market demands and explore new opportunities.
  • Global Market Access: Dubai's strategic location and well-established infrastructure offer easy access to local and international markets, facilitating trade and expansion opportunities.
  • Limited Liability: As a Limited Liability Company (LLC), shareholders enjoy limited liability, protecting their personal assets in case of business liabilities or debts.

What are some of the cheapest locations to start a General Trading LLC in Dubai?

While the cost of setting up a business in Dubai can vary depending on the location and office space requirements, some areas offer more cost-effective options for entrepreneurs:

  • Dubai South: Also known as Dubai World Central, this emerging business district offers competitive lease rates and strategic proximity to the Al Maktoum International Airport and Expo 2020 site.
  • Dubai Investment Park (DIP): DIP provides affordable commercial spaces with easy access to major highways and logistical infrastructure, making it an ideal location for trading businesses.
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA): As one of the largest free zones in the region, JAFZA offers competitive business setup costs, tax exemptions, and streamlined procedures for General Trading LLCs.

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