How to Start an Export and Import Business in Dubai

How to start a import and export business in Dubai

Table of Contents

Import and export have been around for centuries. This industry caters to the supply and demand of commodities and goods across countries and jurisdictions. Import-export business licenses are highly sought-after. Import refers to the import of a product or item from another country. It is considered an expert in the destination country. Export refers to the export of a product, commodity, or service sent to or transferred into another country.

It is also called import in the destination country. International trade is the exchange of items and goods.

The United Arab Emirates economy has been shaped by international trade. The import-export business in Dubai is a central hub for international trade thanks to its stable trade relations with many countries around the globe and its support of open work.

It is, therefore, a famous venture to start an export and import business in Dubai. You only need to contact the business advisor to learn how to obtain an import-export permit in the UAE.

Ease Of Setting Up a Business in UAE

Let’s begin with the location. The UAE has major international airports as well as seaports. The UAE also boasts a strong road network. Dubai and the UAE are well-known worldwide as business hubs, attracting investment from all over the globe.

According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in 2019, the UAE exported goods worth USD 315.9 trillion and services worth USD 72.5 billion. The figure for the import of goods was USD 267.9 Billion, and USD 72.7 Billion for imported services.

Saudi Arabia, India, and Iraq are the leading destinations for UAE exports. China, India, and the USA rank highest in terms of imports.

The ease of setting up a business in the UAE is one of the keys draws for entrepreneurs who are interested in finding the answer to this question ‘’I want to start an import export business’’ but don’t know how. This allows you to get up and running quickly while still maintaining compliance.

Start An Import Export Business in Dubai

Dubai has a long history in commerce and trade. Merchants worldwide have been flocking to their souks and markets for goods from around the globe.

Dubai is still a key trade hub for businesses. Dubai’s strategic location at the east and west crossroads makes it uniquely well-positioned to facilitate trade between these two regions.

The UAE also offers significant benefits to businesses. It has a favorable tax regime and a pro-business culture. There is also a growing consumer population with high disposable incomes.

Did you notice the favorable tax situation in Dubai? This is a huge plus. Corporations pay 0% (yes! zero) tax on income up to AED 375,000. Only 9% is charged on income above AED 375,000.

Dubai has a well-developed infrastructure that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to trade. This makes it a great place to do business in Dubai and elsewhere. Trade activities are more accessible thanks to a modern seaport and airport that can handle large shipments.

How Do You Start a Business Trading in Dubai?

Select your trading activity: Before starting an import-export company in the UAE, you must decide what you want to trade. This will determine the type of license that you need. The general trading license is best if you want to trade multiple goods, including car parts or shoes.

There are many options for you to consider if you are unsure what product to trade or are looking to start an import-export business in Dubai. UAE exports and imports a wide range of products, including jewelry, automobile parts, food, drink, and beauty products.

Select a company name: There are a few things you should keep in mind when naming your business in the UAE. You must follow a set of simple but strict naming conventions.

Avoid offensive or blasphemous words. Avoid naming your company after well-known organizations and avoid abbreviations—Dave Mann Consulting rather than D Mann Consulting. Also, it would help if you verified that the name you chose is available for registration.

Select a setup: Your import and export in UAE can be started on the Dubai mainland or in a UAE-free zone. This type of setup is best for import-export companies due to its direct connections to ports, airports, and major highways offered by many UAE-free zones. Fujairah Creative City is located just 15 minutes away from Fujairah Port, the only seaport east of the UAE. It serves direct routes to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the Persian Gulf.

The free zones offer 100% exemption from import and export taxes and currency restrictions. They also allow for the repatriation of all capital and profits.

It would be best to remember that you need a local partner to trade directly with UAE markets – something mainland companies do not have to do.

How to apply for your license: 

If you are wondering how to get a necessary import-export business license in Dubai, Here’s the answer. If you plan to establish a business on the UAE mainland, you can apply directly to the Department of Economic Development or municipality in the chosen emirate. Or to the managing authority of any of the UAE’s free zones. A company formation specialist can assist you in both cases and manage the entire process.

Documents Required

The documents needed to establish a general trading business in Dubai depend on the nature of your business and where you are located. However, in most cases, you will need to provide the following:

1. Completed application form

2. Passport copy of proposed owner/owners

3. Two passport-size photos in two colors with a white background

Customs requirements: If you plan to open import-export companies in Dubai and trade with the rest of the world, you’ll need to be aware of customs requirements. Although a zone of no import tax can be an excellent way to avoid import-export taxes, you still must apply for an import code from Federal Customs.

Your code can be obtained by contacting the customs department in the emirate where you want to set it up.

In most cases, it will be necessary to provide the following:

1. A copy of your general trade license

2. A photocopy of your passport

3. Information about your trading activities


You can apply for your business license and any visas you might need for yourself or your employees. An expert can assist with this step in UAE company creation.

You can sponsor other UAE citizens if you hold a UAE business licence. You can sponsor a spouse, parent, child, or domestic worker, such as a housekeeper.

The number of visas you can apply for depends on your company size, setup choice, and personal earnings.

Visa Types

A visa is required to trade in Dubai. A visa is required for any shipment to the UAE due to its strict laws concerning transportation and trade.

There are two types available: a Transit visa and an Import-Export Visa. The transit visa lasts 14 days, while the import-export access lasts 30 days. Both visas permit you to transport goods within the respective periods.

residence visa will be a better option if you intend to stay and work in the UAE for a long time.

You will need an application form, emirates identification, passport photos, and a copy of your passport to apply for a visa. Online or at a UAE consulate, you can apply for visas. You must submit a copy of your travel itinerary if you apply for a transit visa.

While the processing time for visas can vary, it usually takes between 2 and 3 weeks to get a decision. After your visa has been approved, you can pick up your shipment at Dubai’s port of entry.

Read More: Small Business Ideas in Dubai

Import-Export License Cost

When applying for an import-export license, there are several costs you should consider—first, the cost of your trade license. For example, a Fujairah Creative City general trading license with one visa and the use of the coworking facility would run AED 19,538.

Tax is also an essential consideration if you plan to import goods for local sale. All goods imported outside the free zone and sold to local markets are subject to a 5% duty (though some products may have a higher tax).

Start an import-export company in Dubai, UAE.

How AIG Corporate Services Provider can help you start your import export business in Dubai?

You can see that setting up an export business in the UAE is easy.

It’s contact a Business Setup Consultant in Dubai such as  AIG Corporate Services Provider when establishing an export or import company in the UAE.

At  AIG Corporate Services Provider, We can assist you in registering a new company, obtaining a Dubai trade license or free zone license, or starting a small business here in Dubai. We handle everything, from visa applications (including UAE investor Visas) to all administrative tasks. This allows you to focus on your business.

Last Words

Dubai is one of the world’s most dynamic and prosperous cities, making it an ideal place to start an export and import business. If you have a product or service that you think could be valuable in the Emirate, there’s no better time than now to get started. Our team of experts can help you assess your business opportunity, find the right partners and develop a marketing strategy that will take your company to the next level. Don’t wait – contact us today to learn more!

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