E-Trade License in Dubai for Expats

08Mar, 22

E-Trade License in Dubai for Expats

With its thriving economy and strategic location, Dubai has long been a hub for international trade and business. The city's government has continually aimed to attract foreign investors and entrepreneurs, making it an appealing destination for expats looking to establish their businesses. There was a lot of excitement when the Dubai Economy (DED) opened up its E e-trader license to Dubai expats after it had only been available to Emirati and GCC nationals. The license sparked interest among Dubai expats seeking a low-cost trade license to run a home-based business. With the help of this blog, Dhanguard will give you information about E-Trade Licenses in Dubai.

E-Commerce License UAE for Expats: Your Gateway to Global Trade

Understanding the E-Trade License

The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) offers various types of trade licenses to accommodate the diverse needs of businesses. The E-Trade License, also known as the E-Trader License, is tailored for expatriates who wish to engage in e-commerce and international trade activities. E-trader licenses are perfect for sole proprietors who don't need a physical office to run their businesses. It allows various people to launch and run their internet enterprises in Dubai because it is accessible to UAE citizens, expatriates, and GCC nationals.

Remember that you can only conduct business activities in Dubai with the DED e-trader license. You must obtain the necessary permission from the relevant authorities to conduct business in any of the other UAE Emirates.

Origins of the E-Trader License

Initially, the E-trader license was only available to Emiratis and GCC nationals in Dubai. Low-cost support allowed them to run a home business and promote their products and services through websites and social media.

E-Trader License for Expats in Dubai

Being an expat, you must first secure your UAE resident visa since only those with GCC citizenship or a UAE residence visa are eligible to apply for an E-trader license. One may obtain a UAE residency visa through employment, business ownership, or investments. Another option is getting a visa sponsored by a parent or spouse while being a dependent.

You can apply for the E-trader license if you possess one of those.

It is significant to note that GCC nationals and expats have different lists of permitted business operations under the E-Trader license. There are several limitations for foreigners:

  • Only services covered by the E-Trader license may be offered by foreigners. This kind of license does not permit product sales. Expats must apply for an E-Commerce license to sell goods online.

  • A DED trader license does not allow a foreign national to operate a fitness facility. This is significant since it also covers sports-related activities like yoga courses, personal training, etc.

Critical Benefits of E-Trade License for Expats

The following are some of the benefits of obtaining an E-Trade License:

  • 100% Ownership: With an E-Trade License, expats can fully own their business without needing a local sponsor.

  • Online Operations: This license is designed for online businesses, making it an ideal choice for e-commerce entrepreneurs.

  • Minimal Paperwork: The application process is relatively straightforward, requiring minimal documentation.

  • Cost-Efficient: The E-Trade License is cost-effective, making it accessible to many entrepreneurs.

  • Global Reach: As a hub for international trade, Dubai provides easy access to global markets for your e-commerce business.

What can I sell with an E-trader license?

You can use genuine social media profiles to offer a variety of goods and services online if you have an E-Trader license. Stay-at-home moms, homemakers, and anyone selling handmade goods, clothing, jewellery, and other online platforms can benefit.

Who Can Apply for the Dubai E-Trader License?

The E-Trade License is open to expats who meet specific criteria:

  • You must be at least 21 years old.

  • You should be a resident of the UAE.

  • Your business activities should be related to e-commerce and international trade.

Who Cannot Apply for the Dubai E-Trader License?

The E-Trader license is not for everyone. It is not appropriate for the following individuals.

  • Applicants who do not currently reside in Dubai

  • Applicants who require the license to obtain a visa and an Emirates ID

  • Applicants who need to lease and work from a commercial premise, such as a shop, garage, or office

  • Applicants who plan to expand their business and hire employees Applicants who want to conduct business outside of Dubai, such as in Abu Dhabi

Business licenses are one-of-a-kind to their owner; one size does not fit all. In this case, you may not meet the requirements for an E-trader license, it may not allow you to carry out the activities you desire, or it may be too restrictive for your business strategy.

Activities Requiring an E-Trader License for Dubai Expats

Non-GCC expats in Dubai can obtain e-trader licenses for professional services such as make-up and hairstyling; however, as previously stated, the right does not allow them to import and sell goods. Some activities are restricted based on nationality, so it is critical to check ahead of time.

A license can have up to ten activities on it, as long as they are 'related' according to the DED's list of activities. The cost of multiple activities on the e-trader license remains the same.

The Application Process for the Dubai E-Trader License

The procedure for acquiring the Dubai E-Trader License is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Business Activity: Determine the nature of your e-commerce business, as this will affect the type of E-Trade License you need.

  2. Trade Name Reservation: Select a unique and appropriate trade name for your business and get it approved by the DED.

  3. Complete the Application: Prepare the required documents, which typically include your passport copy, visa copy, and a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your sponsor (if applicable).

  4. License Issuance: Upon submission, the DED will review your application. Once approved, you will receive your E-Trade License.

Cost of an E-Trader License

The annual fee for a Dubai E Trader license is AED1,070. Membership in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce costs an additional AED300. As a result, the total cost is AED1, 370!

Requirements For Dubai E-Trader License

The Dubai E-trader license has needs that must be met like any other license. The following criteria are essential:

  • Anyone applying for an E-trader license must be at least 21 years old.

  • The applicant must be a GCC national or a resident of the UAE. 

  • The application must be successful on the DED Dubai website's official registration page. 

  • To register and get a license, a candidate needs an Emirates ID. This is to confirm that they are GCC citizens or residents. A passport copy may also be used, but only by residents of the GCC.

Maintaining Your E-Trade License

After obtaining your E-Trade License, you must be aware of your responsibilities. You'll need to:

  • Renew your license annually.

  • Comply with local laws and regulations.

  • Keep accurate financial records.

Setting Up Your E-Commerce Business in Dubai

Dubai offers a successful ecosystem for e-commerce businesses. To maximize your success, consider the following:

  • Establish a user-friendly e-commerce website.

  • Utilize secure payment gateways to build trust with customers.

  • Develop a solid digital marketing strategy to reach a broader audience.

Is it better to have an E-Trader License or a Trader License?

The terms appear to be interchangeable, which has caused some confusion. The E-Trader License is a programme that allows businesses to operate on social networking sites. However, it is now called a 'DED Trader' or a 'Trader License.' A 'Merchant License' is the actual license.

To add to the confusion, when the license was made available to Dubai expats who were not GCC nationals, the excitement was due to the expectation that they could sell online and through social media sites. Unfortunately, while thousands of business activities exist for these licenses, non-GCC expats in Dubai cannot engage in 'trading' or 'selling' activities.

Why Choose Dhanguard?

Expertise in E-Commerce Licensing

Dhanguard's experienced professionals handle the complexities of e-commerce licensing in Dubai, ensuring a swift and efficient application process for expats new to the UAE.

Customized Business Solutions

Our consultants work closely with e-commerce businesses to customize setups, offering personalized solutions for startups and existing operations.

Regulatory Compliance

Dhanguard guarantees compliance with UAE regulations for E-Trade License applications, ensuring businesses are on the right side of the law.

Ongoing Support

Dhanguard offers comprehensive support and consultancy services for e-commerce businesses, including financial planning and market strategies, to ensure their success after obtaining their E-Trade License.


Obtaining an E-Trade License in Dubai as an expat is a strategic move that can open up numerous e-commerce and international trade opportunities. With the flexibility, ease of setup, and global reach it offers, the E-Trade License is a valuable asset for expat entrepreneurs seeking to establish a thriving e-commerce business in the heart of the UAE. So, if you're ready to take your e-commerce venture to the next level, Dubai might be your ideal destination. Whether you're a seasoned e-commerce professional or a budding entrepreneur, the E-Trade License in Dubai is your gateway to success in the global marketplace. 

With the assistance of Dhanguard, you'll streamline the licensing process and receive comprehensive support for your e-commerce journey. Contact us today and unlock the potential of e-commerce in the UAE!