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E-Trade License in Dubai for Expats

By Sakshi Srivastava - 09 Mar 2022 Last Updated: 09 Mar 2022
E-Trade License in Dubai for Expats

When the Dubai Economy (DED) opened up its E Trader License to Dubai expats after it had previously only been available to Emirati and GCC nationals, there was a lot of excitement. The licence sparked interest among Dubai expats looking for a low-cost trade licence to run a home-based business. The E Trader License, on the other hand, has caused some alarm. By the help of this blog Dhanguard will give you information about E-Trade License in Dubai

Origins of the E-Trader Licence

Initially, the e trader licence was only available to Emiratis and GCC nationals residing in Dubai. It was a low-cost licence that allowed them to run a home business and promote their products and services through websites and social media.

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 referred to as a 'DED Trader' or a 'Trader License.' A 'Merchant License' is the actual licence.

To add to the confusion, when the licence was made available to Dubai expats who were not GCC nationals, the excitement was due to the expectation that they would be able to sell online and through social media sites. Unfortunately, while there are thousands of business activities from which to choose for these licenses, non-GCC expats in Dubai are not permitted to engage in 'trading' or ‘selling' activities.

Activities Requiring an E-Trader Licence 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 licence 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 licence 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 having multiple activities on the e trader licence is not increased.

Cost of an E-Trader Licence

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

Who is Suitable for Dubai E-Trader License?

E-Trader licence is perfect for Dubai expats who want to

  • Wants to run a small business from home 
  • Want to start a side business while working full-time
  • Want to put their entrepreneurial skills to the test 
  • Want to start a side business while working full-time
  • Spouses who stay at home

What are the Prerequisites for Obtaining a Dubai E-Trader Licence?

  • The applicant must be a Dubai resident with a Makani number.
  • The applicant must possess a current Emirates ID.
  • The applicant must be over the age of 21.

What are the Benefits of Obtaining a Dubai E-Trader Licence for Expats?

Here are some of the benefits of Dubai's E-Trader licence for expats

  • The most affordable licence in Dubai is AED1, 070 plus AED300 for mandatory Dubai Chamber of Commerce membership. Because the licence is renewable on an annual basis, the fees must also be paid on an annual basis.
  • There is no need for an Emirati local sponsor because the company is owned entirely by the Emiratis.
  • Individual ownership is ideal for someone starting a business on their own.
  • Online setup is quick and simple (but if you still want someone to organize this for you to avoid any errors, then Gateway Group can help you)
  • Allows for the provision of activities all over Dubai (however, if you wanted to provide your services in another Emirate, then it would be necessary to obtain a trade licence in the respective Emirate and Gateway Group can help you with this too)
  • The licence can have multiple activities on it.
  • It is possible to have a company name rather than just the individual's name, such as 'Speedy Musical Instrument Repair and Maintenance,' rather than just 'John Doe,' which looks more professional.
  • A corporate bank account is permissible.
  • Will have a trade licence and thus be operating legally, increasing consumer trust in your company.

What are the Limitations of the Dubai E-Trader Licence for Expats?

There are some drawbacks to the Dubai E Trader licence for expats (non-Emirates and non-GCC nationals) to be aware of

  • Does not grant the expat a residence visa.
  • Does not allow the expat to hire employees - effectively, the individual is a sole proprietor working on their own.
  • Does not allow the expat to lease commercial property, such as office space, a workshop, or a commercial kitchen.
  • Does not allow the expat to sell products, either retail or wholesale (however, do note that Emirati nationals and GCC nationals can sell goods with the e trader license)
  • Check ahead of time for restrictions on activities based on nationality!
  • Individual ownership means that friends and family cannot work together on a new business idea.

Who is not suitable for the Dubai E-Trader License?

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

  • Applicants who do not currently reside in Dubai
  • Applicants who require the licence 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 licence, it may not allow you to carry out the activities you desire, or it may be too restrictive for your business strategy.


As you will see from what you have read above, there are a number of criteria that may make this E Trader licence unsuitable for your specific situation and future plans. This is true for all types of business licenses in Dubai. But don't worry, if the E-Trader licence isn't the right fit for you, there are a number of other licence types to consider, and this is where the Dhanguard can really add value to you starting your business by ensuring you get the right licence to fit your needs.



Dhanguard provides the business setup and company formation services in Dubai, UAE with the guidance of our professional team of consultants. Faster and hassle-free company setup in Mainland and Freezone in UAE.

Dhanguard provides faster and hassle-free Trade License with minimum paper work. With the guidance of our professional team of consultants you will get General trading license, Freelance license, Etrader license, Event Management License, Travel Agency license in Mainland and Freezone in UAE.

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