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How to Register E-commerce Business In UAE?

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Have you been thinking about starting an online business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? The UAE is a great place to set up an e-commerce company. The country has good infrastructure and internet connectivity. More people in the UAE are shopping online these days.

But before you launch your online store, you need to register your e-commerce business properly in the UAE. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Choose a Business Activity and Apply for a Trade License

The first step is to decide what your e-commerce business will sell online. Some examples are:

  • Electronics and gadgets
  • Fashion and beauty products
  • Home and kitchen appliances
  • Toys and baby products

Once you pick your products, you can apply for a general trading or e-commerce trade license in the UAE. This license allows you to sell products online in the country legally.

Here are key things you need for the license application:

Documents Required

  • Your passport copy
  • No objection letter from your sponsor (if you are not a UAE citizen)
  • Copy of tenancy contract for office space
  • And more based on the exact license type

Make sure to prepare all these documents before starting your application. The authorities will verify each one carefully before approving your e-commerce license.


  • License fees can range from AED 1,500 to AED 10,000 based on the activity and location. Your local economic department can advise the exact charges.
  • The fees are typically higher if you operate from major Emirates like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Expect lower charges when setting up in free zones or smaller Emirates.
  • It takes 14-30 days to get approval on your e-commerce trade license application. Follow up regularly with authorities to avoid delays.

You have options when it comes to choosing a legal structure for your e-commerce business in the UAE. Here are three common ones:

Sole Proprietorship

  • This is when you fully own and run the e-commerce company yourself. It involves less paperwork and compliance needs. But you will have unlimited liability for the business.
  • So your personal assets could be at risk if the company struggles to repay debts. Hire an accountant to ensure proper finances and prevent personal liability.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Free Zone Company

  • With a free zone company, you can have 100% ownership and zero taxes. But your business cannot operate in the local UAE market directly. It is best for companies focused more on exports.
  • If you wish to sell to local Emirati customers, this may not be the best choice. Consider other options like a mainland LLC company instead.
  • Talk to a lawyer to pick the suitable structure for your planned online business.

Get Approvals from Relevant UAE Authorities

These agencies have to vet and approve your trade license application for e-commerce:

Department of Economic Development (DED): The DED checks your business activity and issues the final license. Visit their office through the process to avoid delays.

Civil Defence: They inspect your e-commerce company’s office space for fire safety. Ensure you meet all the fire safety guidelines.

Municipality: The municipality verifies that the office location and space meets their rules. Get their approval before signing any office rental contracts.

It takes 14-30 days to get all the needed approvals after applying for your e-commerce license. Follow up diligently with each authority to speed it up.

Register for Taxes in the UAE

As an e-commerce business owner, you must register for and pay these taxes:

Value Added Tax (VAT): VAT is set at 5% on goods and services in the UAE. You should register for VAT if your sales exceed AED 375,000 per year. File VAT returns quarterly.

Excise Tax: Excise tax applies for specific goods like tobacco, energy drinks, and carbonated drinks. The rate can be 50% or 100% of the retail price.

Register with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) for VAT and excise tax within 30 days of starting your online sales. Delay in tax registration can mean penalties.

Comply With E-Commerce Regulations

Make sure to shape policies of your e-commerce company to follow laws in the UAE. Here are some key ones:

E-Commerce Law: You must display detailed information about products, payment methods, fees, and more per UAE’s e-commerce law. Read up on the rules in detail.

Returns and Refunds: Have a fair returns and refunds policy. Customers can return goods within 15 days per UAE consumer protection laws.

Data Protection: Inform customers on what data you collect and how you use it. Take their consent before sharing personal information with others. Appoint a data protection officer if needed.

By following these laws, you build trust and credibility for your online business in the UAE. Stay updated on any changes in e-commerce policies.


We have walked through the key steps involved in registering an e-commerce company in the United Arab Emirates. Here they are:

  • Get an e-commerce trade license
  • Choose a legal structure like LLC or sole proprietorship
  • Obtain approvals from government departments
  • Register for VAT and excise taxes
  • Comply with e-commerce regulations

It takes about 1-2 months to set up your online business fully in the UAE. Reach out to a legal consultant to make the registration process smooth for your e-commerce company.

Launching and growing an online store in the UAE can be rewarding with the right guidance. We wish you success!


How much are the fees to register an e-commerce business in UAE?

Trade license fees start from AED 1,500 based on your activity and location. Approvals and VAT registration have separate charges on top.

Can I operate e-commerce without registering a company in UAE?

No, you must register your online business properly with a trade license to legally sell products online in the UAE.

Do my business premises get inspected for an e-commerce license?

Yes, the Civil Defence inspects your office space even if you mainly sell online to ensure fire safety guidelines are met.

How often do I need to renew my e-commerce trade license?

You need to renew your e-commerce business license each year to continue operating legally in the UAE.

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Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

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