Set up your Import/Export Business in UAE

Import and Export business is one of the earliest trades that were part of societies. Every community will have certain products in excess and will be lacking in certain other commodities. So, to maintain a balance between surplus and shortage, communities engage in import and export business. It is a major factor influencing international trade relationship between countries. This is an important part of UAE economy and has helped the nation to grow and prosper as a business hub of the world.

Why import/export business is crucial in UAE?

UAE is one of the busiest business locations that offer great support for investors.  The nation enjoys a strategic location amidst Asia, Europe and African continents and is easily accessible from any parts of the globe. UAE enjoys global connection with major nations through air and water. The time zone of UAE is also highly amicable to form trade relation with nations lying both East and the West. So, an import/export business set up in UAE will be a great step towards the accomplishment of your business goals.

How to start your business?

The first step towards an import /export business set up in UAE is to apply for a trade license and register your company.  The application is handled by the Department of Economic Development (DED). The business will be registered as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and requires a Commercial License. As per the rules of a Limited Liability Company formation in Dubai, a company registered in Dubai mainland should have a local sponsor holding minimum 51% of the company shares.

What all documents needed?

In order to apply for an import/export business set up license in UAE, you need to submit the following details:

  • A trade name that comply with the rules (You must submit at least 3 name options)
  • Mention your business activity
  • Passport copies of all the shareholders
  • UAE residence visa copy of the partners
  • Copy of entry stamp or visa page if the partner is on visiting visa
  • Passport copy and ID of local sponsor
How to apply for trade license?

Follow the below procedures to apply for an import export license:

  • Select your business activity from the options provided by Department of Economic Development
  • Select the legal form that matches your business activity. Import/export comes under LLC
  • Get your trade name approved from DED
  • Get initial approval from DED, which is mandatory to move forward with the next procedures
  • Sign the Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent (LSA) Agreement in the presence of the local sponsor and partners (now done electronically due to the pandemic crisis).

Local service agent is mandatory for those businesses owned completely by non-GCC residents.

  • Choose a business location
  • Procure additional approvals, if any, depending on the trading activity you choose
  • Pay the official fees and collect the voucher
  • You can get the trade license from DED’s service centers or through DED’s website.
How to get customs registration?

Customs department play a major role in monitoring the import and export sector. After receiving your trade license from the Department of Economic Development, register your import and export company with Customs department. A unique customs code will be allotted to you upon registration, which must be submitted to the customs each time your company does import and export of goods.


An import/export business set up in UAE is really worth your investment because it can offer much in terms of profit and growth prospects. At Axiom Mark, our expert business consultants will provide all needed guidance and assistance in setting up an export/import business in UAE. Contact us to get all your business queries answered and your trade license ready with least effort from your side.

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