Online business licences in the UAE’s mainland
If you need to establish an online business in the UAE’s mainland, you have to apply through the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the respective emirate. All eTrade licences require the approval of Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority also, which is in charge of regulating the eCommerce framework and transactions in the UAE.
Electronic Transactions and Trust Services Law ( Available in Arabic only)
eCommerce platforms-Ministry of Economy
Value of UAE retail e-commerce market hit record $3.9 billion in 2020: analysis- Government of Dubai Media Office.
Dubai CommerCity (DCC) free zone
Dubai CommerCity is a free zone dedicated to support the growth of the eCommerce market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It provides a unique eCommerce ecosystem to global and regional brands to help them set up and operate their eCommerce business in the MENA region. It offers:
- pre and post set up support, fast and automated registration and licensing
- pre-integrated and pre-configured eCommerce platform
- smart and centralised customer relation management for a great customer experience
- access to onsite ecosystem service providers such as payment gateways, marketing services agencies, call centres, web developers and others
- business support which includes networking events, talent acquisition and development and marketing management.
Business incentives include:
- 100 per cent foreign company ownership
- no corporate tax or income tax
- 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits.
It is a joint venture between Dubai Airport Free zone Authority (DAFZA) and Wasl Asset Management Group. It is set up with an investment of AED 3.2 billion and spread over an area of approximately 2.1 million square feet. The free zone is divided into three clusters designed in a modern and innovative way to strategically achieve environmental and investment sustainability. The clusters are: the business cluster, the logistics cluster and the social cluster.
Dubai CommerCity has a strategic location which is only 5 minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport and 45 minutes from Jebel Ali free zone. For more information on setting up your business in Dubai CommerCity, call on +9714-291-9191 or 600-5-DAFZA (24/7), or send an email to: email@example.com.
The eCommerce licence (Tajer Abu Dhabi)
The eCommerce licence from Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) allows entrepreneurs to add their online trade activities to their existing licences, or obtain a new licence to conduct business through websites and social media networks.
Owners of electronic trade licences can use the eCommerce mark (eTajer) and a serial number for the licence in order to use it during the promotion of products.
Launched in 2017, Tajer Abu Dhabi was restricted only to UAE nationals for 100 business activities that didn’t need a physical presence.
In 2018, ADDED expanded the licence package to include all GCC nationals and UAE residents under three legal forms:
- establishment for Emiratis and GCC nationals
- one-person company for Emiratis and GCC nationals
- limited liability company for residents in partnership with Emiratis.
It also raised the number of eligible activities covered by the licence to 1057. All are exempt from having a physical presence or an office.
DED Trader Licence from Dubai
The eTrader licence from Dubai Economy (DED) allows UAE nationals and GCC nationals residing in Dubai to practise business activities through various social media networks.
The eTrader licence can be registered under the name of a single owner only. The eTrader cannot open a shop or issue visas and in case of a legal dispute, the licensee alone will be held responsible.
To obtain an eTrader licence, create a DED Trader account and register.
Eitimad domestic licence from Sharjah
Sharjah Department of Economic Development (SEDD) grants Eitimad licence for home-based businesses and electronic business which run through social networks. The license is available for ages 18 and above. The licence is restricted to UAE nationals residing in the emirate of Sharjah.
The licence does not allow recruitment of staff on the company.
Register as a user or a seller.
Virtual Merchant Licence from Ras Al Khaimah
The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Ras Al Khaimah launched the Virtual Trader licence to activate businesses managed through social media channels, websites and applications for smart devices. The licence is available only for UAE citizens residing in RAK.
Activities that can be licensed online include electronic retail businesses, information technology and computers, commercial and real estate brokerage, advisory, professional and information activities done through technological means.
Updated on 24 Aug 2022