How to Start an Import and Export Business in Dubai

How to start an Import and Export Business in Dubai

Do you want to start an import and export business in Dubai, and don’t know what steps to take for the success of your import and export business? Opening an import and export company in Dubai is easy, especially if you are familiar with the legal requirements needed for business setup in the UAE.

Therefore, how do you start an import and export business in Dubai this year? This article has nailed down some of the noteworthy points you’d want to follow for the success of your import-export business in the UAE. Check them out:

  1. Select your trading activity
  2. Decide on a business name
  3. Select your preferred location
  4. Obtain an import-export-trading license

Getting your import-export business run in Dubai is the most ideal business decision you’d have made this year. This type of business is the most lucrative business setup idea because of the strategic location Dubai finds itself in. To mention, the UAE is located at the crossroad of the globe.

That means; Dubai has easy access to different continents such as Africa, Asia, and Europe. Additionally, the UAE has a top-tier transport hub enabling easy and faster transportation of commodities in and out of the country. Thus, it is needless to say opening an import and export business in Dubai will have faster and more productive growth, unlike other business setups.

Having known all the factors in support of the import and export business in Dubai, I know you are eager to set up your business, right? Don’t worry, you’ll learn all the nuggets that will guide you to successfully establish your import and export business in Dubai effortlessly. But, before that, what is the import and export business in Dubai?

Let’s find out:

What is Import and Export Business in Dubai?

Generally, import essentially means bringing into one country from another different country. Therefore, when you engage in business importation, you are literally buying goods from another country to your country for sale or other commercial use.

On the other hand, export is the opposite in the sense that products are sent out to another country. And so, conducting an import and export business ties the two modes to pave way for more business opportunities. This exchange of goods and services can also be named as international trade.

The import and export business at large has contributed to streamlining the UAE’s economy. That said:  starting this type of business in Dubai is a good choice for any investor to engage in. However, the process might not be simple because setting up a business in Dubai involves a lot of paperwork. Consequently, following all the legal requirements required in Dubai to get your professional import and export business in Dubai might be a challenge to many investors.

Therefore, you can always consult a professional business consultant at Vigor Business Company formation for help. And you’ll be guided on how to obtain an import and export trading business license.

If you want to know more about import and export business in Dubai, continue reading;

How much does it cost to start an import-export business?

Setting up an import and export business is quite costly. Transporting goods from other counties back to your countries comes with several processes to complete. These require money to enable your commodities to cross the nearby borders. Therefore, an import and export business might cost you roughly $5,000 to more than $25,000m to start.

Nonetheless, the amount for starting your business might be determined by the types of products you’ll be dealing with in your business. Additionally, the country you’re importing your products from to Dubai might also affect your business startup cost.

Immediately you’ve set your business in Dubai, a license will be the second aspect to figure out. Read on to find out the cost of import and export licenses in Dubai.

Import-export license cost in Dubai

The following table shows the cost of an import-export license in Dubai.



Cost in (AED)

Trade License cost approximate figure in Dubai

13, 500
Office rent


Depending on the availability
Sponsorship fees for UAE nationals


Import-export code fees




The aforementioned are the main points to note before jumping right into the import-export business setup. Therefore, for a complete setup of your business, consider the following procedures;

Also read: How to Import & Export Goods/Products in Dubai

How to Start an Import and Export Business in Dubai

Step 1: Select your trading activity

Deciding on the trading activity is one of the most ideal things to consider because it will have a great impact on the type of license to apply for. And so, you may want to choose trading activities that best suit your business taste and goal.

Therefore, resting on general trading activities for your business will compel you to select a general trading license. This type of license will permit you to trade even unrelated commodities.

So, to ensure you are on the track, it is awesome to bring a professional business specialist in Dubai to help you narrow down the type of trading activities best suit your plans.

Step 2; Decide on a business name

The UAE authorities are normally very strict when it comes to companies’ business names. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the common rules laced on trade names in the UAE.

Not adhering to their naming conventions might lead you to trouble with the business authorities in the UAE. And so, you must avoid things such as offensive language when naming your business. Use of bombastic or jargon words, submit at least 3 names to the DED for approval among others.

Additionally, it is important to align your business name with your business activities within your company’s setup.

Step 3: Select your preferred location

UAE provides various grounds for investors to start their import-export business in Dubai. Similarly, the location of your business will also play a bigger role in determining the type of business license you’ll apply for your business.

Therefore, you can decide to start your import-export business either in the UAE Free zone or Dubai Mainland. In addition, these zones come with different pros and cons. It is advisable to note all the requirements in each zone before starting your business.

Since foreigners might not be well-versed with all the intricacies involved in these zones, you can make use of an expert consultant at Vigor Business Company Formation in Dubai to walk you through all the processes involved to set up a business in Dubai Mainland or UAE Free zone.

Step 4: Obtain an import-export-trading license

To be permitted to conduct your import-export business activities in Dubai, you must apply for a professional import-export business license through the Department of Economic Development in Dubai. You’ll only be allowed to apply for licensing through DED if your business location is in the Dubai Mainland.

However, the Free zone has different jurisdictions. That means; you’ll go for the body responsible for business licensing in that zone for your business.

Here are the documents you will be required to submit when applying for an import-export business license;

  • Copies of your visas
  • Your passport
  • The company registration form
  • NOC letter from the sponsor if you’re already working in the UAE and the residency visa

If you find difficulties applying for your business license, we at Vigor Business Company Formation provide business setup services to help investors in Dubai open their business successfully.