Tall glass building representing obtaining an industrial license in Dubai.

The Complete A-Z Guide to Getting an Industrial License in Dubai

Table of Contents

Getting an industrial permit allows you to legally set up factories, warehouses, and workshops in Dubai. You can use them to make or store products. You must have this license for activities like making, processing, assembling, packing, and storing goods. This article explains industrial licenses in simple terms:

Types of Industrial Licenses

Dubai offers three kinds of industrial licenses based on activity size and risk level:

  1. Light Industrial License: For small warehouses (below 2000 sq ft and workshops like auto garages or showrooms. Low health and safety risks.
  2. Medium Industrial License: For manufacturing units, factories, and larger storage facilities (above 2000 sq ft. Medium risks.
  3. Heavy Industrial License: For heavy manufacturing like chemicals, weapons, recycling plants. High health and environmental risks.

Light licenses have simpler application rules while heavy licenses involve strict regulations. We focus on light and medium industrial licenses – most common for new businesses.

Step-by-Step Application Process

Follow these key steps to obtain your industrial operating permit in Dubai:

Step 1 – Choose License Type & Location

First, decide if you need a light or medium industrial license. Base this decision on your planned operations. For example, a 1500 sqft warehouse for spare parts requires a light license. An automobile assembly factory needs a medium industrial license. Next, find an approved industrial area in Dubai to set up your facility. The government rules require each warehouse, factory, or workshop to be only in industrial zones and parks. You can’t get an industrial license for units in non-permitted areas, like homes or shops. Some popular industrial zones in Dubai are:

JAFZ houses over 7000 companies. They do manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and services. Dubai Industrial City offers purpose-built warehouses, factories, and staff housing. Dubai Investments Park allows both commercial and industrial activities. Carefully choose a location that fits your business. Certain zones prohibit facilities with flammable goods, hazardous chemicals, or vehicles. Some only permit light or medium industrial licenses.

Step 2 – Obtain Approvals & No Objection Certificate (NOC)

The next step involves securing a “no objection certificate” (NOC) and other approvals like:

  • NOC Letter from the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • Approval from Land Department to officially designate plot for industrial use
  • Environment Clearance from Dubai Municipality (if applicable based on manufacturing)

These documents give pre-approvals before applying for the final license. Getting them upfront helps avoid issues later when starting operations. For example, the DED issues an initial NOC. It confirms that your proposed activity, ownership, and facility plans meet regulations.

Step 3 – Apply for Initial Approval from DED

Now you can submit the formal industrial license application to DED along with:

  • Details like business activity, owners, manager
  • Signed property lease contracts or purchase agreements
  • Architectural drawings and layout plans as per DED specifications
  • Copy of NOC letter and other approvals

The DED thoroughly reviews the application and attached documents. If everything meets guidelines, they approve setting up the industrial facility.

Step 4 – Construct Facility & Obtain Final Approval

Upon getting initial go-ahead, you can start building. You can build your warehouse, factory, or workshop in the allotted industrial area. Build the site as per the DED pre-approved architectural plans and layouts. Install all required equipment as well.Once fully built, the DED will inspect the facility to verify:

  • Construction is as per the approved drawings
  • All safety and environmental protocols are in place
  • Unit is 100% equipped for commencing operations

If their final inspection goes well, you get full industrial license approval from DED. For example, your factory has fire exits, extinguishers, and ventilation as per guidelines. Or your warehouse has sufficient security, customs bonded status, inventory tracking systems.

Step 5 – Get Industrial Operating License

Finally, the DED issues your 5-year industrial operating permit! This permit lets you legally make products or store goods in your Dubai facility. Congratulations! You must renew the industrial license through DED. You must do this every 5 years to continue operations. We will cover renewal and cancellation processes later.

Location Selection & Approvals

As explained before, all factories must be only in government designated zones and parks. You cannot get a license for facilities in commercial buildings, residential areas etc. Some popular industrial areas in Dubai include:

  1. Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ): Over 7000 companies involved in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and services. Attractive tax incentives. Allows all license activities.
  2. Dubai Industrial City: Offers ready warehouses, factories and worker accommodation. Near Jebel Ali Port & Al Maktoum Airport. Allows light to medium industrial licenses.
  3. Dubai Investments Park: Mixed commercial and industrial zone. Has warehouses, offices and showrooms. Allows most license categories.
  4. Dubai South: Aerospace, aviation, logistics hub with warehouses, commercial spaces. Near Al Maktoum International Airport.

Carefully choose a location aligned to your business activity. Some zones restrict goods like vehicles, chemicals, and food. Some ban heavy industrial licenses. Besides location, you need an NOC from DED. You also need approval from the Land Department, Environment Clearance, and more before applying. Getting these upfront quickens the final approval.

Renewal, Cancellation & Expiry Rules

  • Industrial licenses must be renewed through DED every 5 years in Dubai without fail. Penalties apply for late renewals.
  • For canceling a license, submit an application to DED and settle any additional charges.
  • Refund of initial license fees is not permitted if you cancel the permit early.
  • Expired licenses can only be renewed within one year of expiry. After that, you must re-apply fresh.

Estimated Costs

Average costs for getting an industrial license in Dubai:

  • License fees – From AED 1,500 per year
  • Professional consulting charges – From AED 7,000
  • Rent and construction cost for facility
  • Equipment, inventory and operating expenses
  • Government fees for certificates, stamps, signatures etc.

Typical Timeline

It takes 1 to 3 months to get an industrial operating permit in Dubai:

  • Week 1: Identify location, apply for NOC & approvals
  • Week 3: Get initial approval from DED
  • Week 6: Construct industrial facility & systems
  • Week 10: DED final inspection
  • Week 12: Obtain 5-year industrial license

The exact time can vary based on zone, activity, government department workloads etc.

Expert Tips

Follow these tips from our business setup consultants:

  • Engage an experienced industrial license consultant
  • Ensure all documents are properly attested
  • Strictly construct factory or warehouse as per approved drawings
  • Have appropriate insurance coverage for operations
  • Account for all costs in advance


Who issues industrial licenses in Dubai?

The Department of Economic Development (DED) issues industrial operating permits.

How long are Dubai industrial licenses valid for?

Dubai industrial licenses are issued for 5 years. Renewal is required after this term through DED.

Can I get an industrial license for an activity not on DED’s approved list?

No. Licenses are only provided for explicitly permitted industrial activities.

Can I start operations immediately after getting the permit?

Yes, once you receive the physical license, you can fully manufacture goods or store inventory.

Is civil defense approval also required?

Yes, DED’s final inspection is mandatory. After that, you need fire safety approval from civil defense. I hope this detailed, simple guide explains Dubai’s industrial licensing process end-to-end. Please reach out if you need help with your industrial operating permit. Or, if you have more questions.

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