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A Guide to Obtain an Import Export License in Dubai

Dubai is globally popular as an ideal trading hub. Besides, it is currently one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This is because the modern infrastructure and the geographical position of the UAE have facilitated the import-export business to a larger extent. And looking into the records of the past few years, trading has been one of the most profitable businesses and at present is thriving as well. Therefore, if one plans to start an import-export business, it is compulsory to get an import export license in Dubai from the concerned authority. 

The primary step while planning to start an import export business in Dubai is securing a trading license or general trading license from the concerned authorities. A trading license allows the traders or manufacturers to trade products in the local market. In simple words, the company gets legal authority to engage in trading activities in the UAE. Further, the company can seek a UAE import export license as per the government procedure. 

However, if the company is planning to import or export any items in Dubai that fall under the restricted category, then they need to obtain a special license from the customs office. In addition, they might also need to acquire approvals from certain officials, such as gold trading approval from Dubai police, approval from Dubai Narcotics Department for chemical trading, Dubai Municipality’s approval for food products trading, etc. 

The import-export license in Dubai 

As the name itself explains import license is to get or purchase commodities from outside of UAE, whereas an export license is for those who produce goods and intends to supply them locally as well as outside UAE.  Therefore, the trader needs to acquire both, along with registering the relevant goods with the customs department of the UAE. This is because an import code is required to bring goods by sea or air into the country. While export commodities also pass through the custom checks to verify if they come under the restricted category of things. 

Steps to obtain import export license in Dubai 

Every investor or trader who is willing to set up a trading company in Dubai must obtain an import-export license by following certain steps. The procedure is fairly simple and can be performed online also. The steps are as follows – 

  • Choose a trading name for your trading business 
  • Select a trading activity as per your preference 
  • Hire a local sponsor for the company 
  • Find an office or warehouse and sign a lease agreement
  • Draft and sign the MOA(Memorandum of Association) of the company 
  • Submit the required documents to the DED and obtain a payment voucher 
  • Pay the fees and procure the license 
  • Register your company in the immigration department 
  • Get an investor visa for the company owner
  • Get an import-export code by registering the company with the Dubai Customs Department 
  • Start operating your business with your trading activities 

Although these steps look easy on paper, they might consume a lot of your time and effort. Hence, it would be better to seek assistance from experts who can accomplish this task without any errors. Shuraa Business Setup can assist you with the above process and make your company formation easy.

You may like it: Your Guide to Company Formation in Jebel Ali Free Zone

Documents required to obtain import export license in Dubai

Firstly, the investor must submit the following documents to the DED – 

  • Few selected trade names 
  • Application form for company registration 
  • Passport copy of the business owner 
  • Residence visa/Entry permit
  • NOC letter from the current sponsor, if applicable 

Later, while registering the business with Dubai Customs Department, the investor must present the below documents: 

  • Trade license 
  • Memorandum of Association of the company 
  • Passport copy of the business owner
  • Residence visa/Entry permit 
  • Lease agreement 
  • Fee payment receipt/invoice 

While exporting the goods from Dubai, the business owner must keep these in mind: 

  • Submit the required documents at the Customs Office. 
  • Pay the Declaration registration fee. 
  • The office issues a Customs Declaration Certificate. 
  • If the product falls in the restricted list, the exporter must have a permit from the regulatory agencies. 
  • The exporting company must generate a sales invoice providing the description of goods, quantity, and value of each item, addressing to the company it is being sold.

In Case of a Temporary Export: 

Certain times companies are also involved in temporary export wherein goods are transported to a location for a provisional period and are returned post usage in the exact same condition. Hence, several other documents are required for a Temporary Export Business Transaction, such as: 

  • Goods clearing declaration from the authorities 
  • Commercial Invoice (original)
  • Packing list with the HS codes 
  • An original export permit from the agencies in case of exporting restricted goods 
  • A formal letter requesting a temporary export 

While importing the goods to Dubai, the business owner must keep these in mind: 

  • Submit the Bill of Landing post the arrival of the container/vessel/package. Also, ensure that the importer has paid off all the dues. 
  • The shipping company issues the delivery order 3-4 days before the arrival of the vessel, within which the cargo clearance must complete. 
  • The importing company shall submit an Import Declaration form online along with the relevant payments. Afterward, a Customs Import Declaration Certificate is issued to the company. 
  • Dubai Customs will check all the documents and even the imported package in some instances. 
  • Once the customs department approves the package, the importer can hire a transport company to manage the delivery of the goods.
  • However, in case of any extra inspection, the package will be taken to the inspection area of the relevant authority and will later exit the premises after clearance. 

While importing the goods, you will require the below documents – 

  • Invoice mentioning the description of the total quantity of goods and the value of each item, addressing to the importing company. 
  • Certificate of Origin testifying the origin of goods approved by the country of origin’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • Packing list stating the weight of each product in the package with the HS codes 
  • Special import permit in case of importing restricted goods or duty-free goods. 


Even though the UAE has established itself as the ultimate hub of trade, it still continues to serve its imports and exports industry on an increasingly large scale. The Dubai government has even set up eServices for the companies to conduct operations more efficiently and easily. And with the import/export registration made available online, the process of securing an import export license in Dubai has become rather simple. However, it is equally important to ensure that you are armed with the right kind of information. 

Shuraa Business Setup can help you understand the A to Z of import-export business in the UAE, along with the complete process of obtaining the UAE import export license. Our professionals can elaborate you the whole procedure and also assist you in getting the required approvals and permits before starting your business operations. Besides, we can help you procure a valid trade license for performing various trading activities in Dubai. 

So, contact Shuraa Business Setup today for further information. Our business experts will resolve all your business-related queries. Call +971 44081900 or send a WhatsApp message at +971 50 777 5554. For email assistance, mail your query to info@shuraa.com.

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