A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining Import Export Licenses in UAE

The most popular license category among international investors in the UAE is the Import Export License. In the mainland of the UAE, obtaining an Import Export License costs AED 24,683. It consists of procedures that allow the corporation to conduct worldwide business. A global investor must follow specific steps to obtain an import export license in the UAE.

Many investors seek to obtain an import export license in the UAE to simplify global trade by establishing a base in the UAE. Since the initial stage in trading, importing, and exporting in the UAE is to obtain a trade license, It’s crucial to learn how to get it from the UAE’s mainland or Free Trade Zones. If you are interested in doing business in the UAE and are seeking an import export license, read on to know what to do to get started.

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Applying for an Import Export License in UAE

Import and Export in the UAE

An investor in the UAE must obtain a trade license from the Department of Economic Development or the appropriate Free Zone. Every newly created company must register with the Emirates Chamber of Commerce and the relevant Customs Department to get an Import-Export Code.

Note that your trading corporation can only do import-export operations in the UAE if it has the Import-Export Code. The business must also have the Port and Customs Approval to conduct international trade operations.

Obtaining the necessary approvals for global trade from the UAE entails a series of stages. This post will guide you through getting an import export license and registering with the Customs Department to conduct international trade.

How to Obtain an Import Export License in UAE (2022)

Organizations with appropriate trade licenses from certain commercial jurisdictions can conduct business in Dubai. You can obtain an Import Export License from the mainland in Dubai for about AED 25,000.

The Dubai Economy (Department of Economic Development) or any of Dubai’s Free Trade Zones can issue an import export license. A foreign investor must register the company as a trade or general trading company to obtain an Import Export License in Dubai. To conduct worldwide business, they must register with Dubai Customs and get an Import Export Code.

Step 1: Prepare the Documents Required to Start an Import Export Company

There are a few documents you’ll need to prepare in advance before you start an import-export company in the UAE.  

To begin, fill out an application form and send it to the Department of Economic Development. You may usually get a copy of the document in-office or download it from their website.

You’ll need to show your Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry trading license documentation. After you have these two documents, you will then need to provide a letter of assurance from a bank in Dubai.

Finally, you must send a copy of your passport and your UAE residency visa. You can apply for your import-export business license in Dubai once you have these documents.

Obtaining an Import Export License in the UAE

Documents Required for an Import Export License in UAE:

The following is the list of the necessary documents to apply for an import export license in the UAE:

  • Several name choices for the company
  • Financial information, such as a balance sheet and income statement
  • Company registration application form
  • Passport copies of all the company’s shareholders
  • Emirates ID of the local sponsor along with the NOC letter if the owner is working in the UAE
  • Copy of entry stamp or residence visa page

Step 2: Apply for Your Import Export License in UAE

You’re now ready to apply for your Dubai business license! However, you must first have a registered firm in Dubai to apply for a license. We recommend that you seek the advice of UAE business formation professionals for this phase. They will be able to explain your alternatives to you, such as the differences between a limited liability company and a sole proprietorship in Dubai.

You can start applying for your import-export business license once you have your business idea and commercial and trade permits.

Filling out an online application form is the first step. Basic information regarding your company, such as its name and address, will be required. Some documents, such as your commercial license and registration, will also need to be uploaded.

You will send your application to the Dubai Department of Economic Development for consideration once it is complete. Your import-export business license will be given within a few weeks if everything is in order. You can start doing business in Dubai after you have your license.

Step 3: Go Through the Customs Registration Procedure

We recommend you consider any customs restrictions that may apply to your company before registration.

Dubai offers a wide range of import-export opportunities. However, the UAE’s customs rules, as well as the nation of origin of the items being imported or exported, must be thoroughly considered.

All imported products must be declared to the UAE Customs, which will impose import taxes and penalties. There may be additional restrictions on specialized categories of items, such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, or dangerous goods.

It’s also crucial to be aware of the destination country’s import-export restrictions, which may differ significantly from those in the UAE. You’ll also need to be aware of any import tariffs or other taxes that may apply to your merchandise.

Documents Required for Customs Registration Procedure

Here are the documents you need to prepare before going through the UAE’s customs registration procedure when applying for an import export license in the UAE:

  • Trade license
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA) of the newly created company
  • Passport copy of the owner
  • Copy of entry stamp or residence visa page
  • Tenancy (rent) Agreement of the Office/Warehouse
  • The letter of request for the import export code
  • Import export code fee payment

The Cost of Obtaining an Import Export License in the UAE

The following are the prices for import and export licenses in a few UAE Emirates:

  • Dubai: Around AED 25,000 onwards
  • Sharjah: Around AED 23,000 onwards
  • Ajman: Around AED 24,000 onwards
  • Ras Al Khaimah: Around AED 23,000 onwards

Please note that the figures given for the UAE import export license costs are estimates and may differ depending on your individual business needs and operational activity. The cost of getting an import-export license in the UAE is determined by the territory from which the activity is conducted, as each authority sets its rate.

Import Export License in DubaiCost
Trade License Cost MainlandAED 13,000
Virtual Office with Ejari (For one year)AED 10,000
Tradename Submission, Application Form, Agreement, etc.AED 1,732
Import Export Code FeeAED 500
TotalAED 25,232


The process of applying for an import export license in the UAE is simple. First, the applicant must apply to the Department of Economic Development. Next, the applicant must provide the required documentation, which includes a business plan, proof of financial stability, and a trade license, to name a few. Finally, the applicant must pay the required fees and wait for the license to be processed.

Have you ever applied for an import export business license in the UAE? If yes, did you face any problems or complications throughout the process? Please share your valuable experiences with us in the comments.

If you have any questions about applying for an import export license, don’t hesitate to contact our patient experts at DFreight. We are more than happy to give you a hand!


Do I need an import export license in the UAE?

When a business owner wants to trade goods and services produced locally in another country or among the UAE’s free trade zones, an import export license in the UAE is necessary.

What is an import export license in the UAE?

An import export license in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a government-issued permit that allows businesses to import and export goods within the UAE.

What documents do I need to apply for an import export license in the UAE?

To obtain an import export license in UAE, businesses typically need to submit an application to the Ministry of Economy or the Chamber of Commerce along with the company’s financial information, the owner’s passport/visa copies, and the Emirates ID of the local sponsor.

How much does it cost to obtain an import export license in the UAE?

In general, it costs nearly AED 25,000 to get an import export license in Dubai and other Emirates in the UAE. The cost breakdown is provided in the table above.

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