How to get your Dubai e-commerce license

The e-commerce industry is booming worldwide. This year, global e-commerce sales are expected to account for 13.7% of total retail sales. That figure is expected to rise to 17.5% by 2021.

To say e-commerce is big business is somewhat of an understatement. Such is the size of this vast market that around 20% of the global population is estimated to shop online.

For those looking to make an impact in this thriving industry there can be few better locations than the UAE. Set up here and as well as benefitting from 0% personal and corporate tax, you’re free to run your business from anywhere in the world. And with the right support and guidance, getting started is easy.

How to get a UAE e-commerce license

Before we get into the how, let’s start with the why? Much like the rest of the world, the UAE’s e-commerce industry is on the up.

The market that was valued at USD 2.5bn in 2015 and makes up half of the GCC’s total online sales, expected to reach USD 10bn by 2020. Start your e-commerce business here in the UAE and as well as trading with this growing market, you’re free to do business with the rest of the world – all while taking advantage of the UAE’s encouraging business environment.

The market that was valued at USD 2.5bn in 2015 and makes up half of the GCC’s total online sales, expected to reach USD 10bn by 2020.

That encouraging environment is reflected in the ease with which it is possible to apply for a UAE e-commerce license.

The first step in any UAE license application is to choose a business name. As well as choosing a name that reflects your business and sticks in the mind of the consumer, it’s also important that you adhere to the UAE’s company naming conventions.

In short, UAE company names must not contain any blasphemous or offensive language, any references to well known institutions or any abbreviations of your name – though your full name is acceptable. Lastly, your chosen name must be available to be registered.

With your company name decided, the next step is to select a mainland or free zone option. There are advantages to both setups – mainland companies can trade directly with the local market while free zone companies benefit from customs tax exemptions and other financial incentives such as the ability to repatriate all capital and profits to your country of origin.

When it comes to running an e-commerce business, a free zone setup is usually the most suitable and cost-effective option.

Applying for your Dubai e-commerce license

Once you have chosen your company name and decided on a setup, it’s time to apply for your Dubai e-commerce license.

If you’re setting up in the mainland, we will have to register your company with the Dubai Department of Economic Development. If you chose to set up in a different emirate, you should apply to the equivalent there.

Once you have chosen your company name and decided on a setup, it’s time to apply for your Dubai e-commerce license.

If you are opting for a free zone setup then we will file your application for registration at the chosen free zone.

In both cases, you will need to provide a few basics documents along with your completed application form. These include shareholder passport copies and passport photos.

Whether you choose a free zone or mainland setup, it’s a good idea to work with an expert in company formation when making your application. While the process may not necessarily be overly complex, it does require an understanding of the licensing laws and any errors in your submission could lead to delays or the rejection of your license application.

Once you receive your e-trade license in Dubai, we can also apply for your residency visa. The process involves four stages including a medical fitness test and usually takes less than a week after the entry permit is issued. We will take you through there procedures as well. As a UAE trade license holder, you can also sponsor your dependants – such as your children, spouse or domestic staff – for their visas too.

The final step is to open a corporate bank account. This is not always easy for international entrepreneurs, and again, it is a good idea to work with an expert in company formation when making your application.

Looking for the cheapest e-commerce license in the UAE?

Naturally, cost is a consideration when starting any new business. When it comes to estimating the e-commerce license cost, it depends on many factors such as the size of your business and the type of setup you require.

When it comes to estimating the e-commerce license cost, it depends on many factors such as the size of your business and the type of setup you require.

As an example, if you are a single shareholder and choose to set up in a free zone, you can expect to pay in the region of AED 20,000 inclusive of the cost of your visa application.

Running your UAE e-commerce business

Clearly the UAE has an appetite for e-commerce. It is home to the highest number of online shoppers in the MENA region with the average resident making between one and five online purchases every week. These purchases take in everything from clothes and jewellery to electronics and car parts.

While this is great news for entrepreneurs looking to get started in the UAE, the real draw is that when you set up here, as well as tapping into the UAE market, you’re also free to trade with the rest of the world. And you can do all this without relocating to the UAE. If you do decide to relocate however, you’ll find a thriving and encouraging business landscape waiting for you.

If you’ve got a flair for sales, some online knowhow and access to a product that consumers want to buy then e-commerce is the industry for you.

Start your business with a company setup expert and you could be fully licensed and ready to trade with every corner of the world in a matter of days. Are you ready?

Worldwide Formations helps entrepreneurs in the UAE with all their company setup needs. For more information, call us now on 800 FREE ZONE (800 3733 9663). 

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