How To Get Import-Export Business License In Dubai

How To Get Import-Export Business License In Dubai

How To Get Import-Export Business License In Dubai

Being an importer is a lucrative business in the United Arab Emirates, because several items such as cars, consumer electronics, furniture and equipment are imported into the country from overseas. Since several people do not have an Import-Export Code which they can use to clear Customs, they depend on those holding import licenses. It does not make sense for some to apply for an Import-Export Code when their imports are not regular in nature. For example, somebody engaged in construction might need to import electrical switchgear in bulk only once during the lifetime of the engineering project. There are several of such examples, and they all rely on importers to get their consignments cleared at the port of entry by Customs officials in the United Arab Emirates.

It is not easy for those without a general trading license to obtain a Customs Client code either, because only those in this category need to import fruits, vegetables and foodstuffs regularly. So there are a lot of importers offering their services in the United Arab Emirates, and it requires them to be proficient with the local laws concerning imports. Certain materials, such as those that do not meet set standards, are not allowed to be imported into the United Arab Emirates. A business setup consultant with sector-specific experience when it comes to business setup in Dubai can provide you with more information. There are also a few importers who specialize in importing high-end luxury cars or limited edition sportscars that are not normally available through their dealers in the United Arab Emirates.

The import-export business, which is also sometimes called re-export, is also promising. There are several units which import items from abroad, make minor changes, and export them to other countries. This makes sense as some countries use the Imperial system of measurement units and require that all goods imported follow these standards. So those engaged in import-export import items from a country where the metric system is followed, make the necessary changes to the product or simply repackage them to follow the Imperial system of measurement units. The fact that there are no import or export duties in the United Arab Emirates lends itself to a thriving re-export industry in the country.

Zero export duties have also attracted many exporters to the United Arab Emirates. There are several exporters in the country who export pharmaceuticals, food items, and high-end cars. Because there are zero import duties, the United Arab Emirates is the one of the cheapest places in the world to own a car. After their owners upgrade to later models, these cars become available and are in high demand in some countries where people value classic cars. Cars from the United Arab Emirates are specifically in demand because of their lower prices compared to countries where the same model cost much more to purchase as a new car.

Why is Dubai Such a Great Place for the Import-Export Sector?

There are 12 ports in the United Arab Emirates. Three of them – the Port of Jebel Ali, Port Rashid, and Port Hamriya – are in Dubai, but all the ports are within a few hours driving distance of each other. With a combined capacity of 310 berths in all, they together handle 80 million tonnes of cargo every year. It may be interesting to learn that 61% of the cargo arriving at the ports in the United Arab Emirates is meant for GCC member countries. These include Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar, apart from the United Arab Emirates. The cargo is then transported by road to their respective destinations. There is an excellent logistics industry in the region that supports the import-export sector.

The Port of Jebel Ali, operated by transshipment terminal operator DP World, is in fact the busiest in the Middle East, handling more than 19.1 million containers annually.

There are nine airports in the United Arab Emirates. Two-thirds of the world’s destinations can be reached within 8 hours from Dubai, and this is a very strategic advantage to be had. As such, importers and exporters also make use of air cargo for shipping worldwide. The Dubai Airport Free Zone has several of such players who make use of the Dubai International Airport, which is also home to global airline Emirates. The Abu Dhabi International Airport is home to Etihad, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates, and has the Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone in its vicinity. Similarly, the Sharjah International Airport is surrounded by the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, which too has several importers and exporters operating from there.

Steps to Obtain an Import-Export Business License In Dubai

  1. Choose a name for your company, albeit one that will be approved.
  2. Draw up the company formation documents, allocating shares to each owner.
  3. Get the company formation documents notarized by a Notary Public.
  4. Decide on a physical office space for your import-export company.
  5. Enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the owner of the premises.
  6. Register the Tenancy Agreement so that it becomes a Tenancy Contract.
  7. Apply for company registration and an import-export business license with Dubai Economy.
  8. Receive a payment voucher outlining the necessary fees to be paid.
  9. Make the payment, get company registration & business license.
  10. Apply to Dubai Customs and get an Import-Export Code or IEC which can be used to clear Customs.

The first step is to decide on a name. There are certain rules pertaining to the naming of companies in the United Arab Emirates, such as how the names of countries cannot be used. However, terms like ‘Global’, ‘International’ and ‘Middle East’ can be used, provided they are not placed at the beginning of the company name. A company formation expert can help you out with more details. He/She can also run a search to ensure that the name you have in mind has not been registered by another business entity.

Once you have completed this step, you can proceed to register your company and also obtain an import-export license. A company formation specialist can draw up the Articles of Incorporation for your company. These company formation documents may be known by other names, such as the Memorandum of Association in case there is only owner for the company or the Articles of Association if there are multiple owners. The company formation documents also outline the shareholding pattern – some may hold a greater percentage of the shares than others.

When registering your company, it is also essential that you rent office space, which can be shown in the application as your proposed office address. When the company is registered, this address becomes your registered office address, so it is important that you submit an Ejari or Tenancy Contract along with your application for company registration and an import-export business license to the Department of Economic Development in Dubai. The Department of Economic Development, Dubai is officially known as Dubai Economy, and it is the body responsible for issuing trade licenses to applicants. A business license is formally referred to as a trade license in Dubai.


Upon receiving your trade license, you can commence operations immediately.

Why Choose A&A Associate LLC for Import-Export Company Formation in Dubai?

At A&A Associate LLC, we have years of experience helping establish companies in Dubai as well as the rest of the United Arab Emirates. We have successfully assisted clients from 100 countries around the world, and have a 98% client satisfaction rate so far. Be it company formation on the mainland, free zone company registration, or RAK offshore company formation in Dubai, we can be counted on to lend our expertise to your dream.

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