The e-commerce market in the UAE is experiencing remarkable growth. Many individuals are seeking to obtain an e-commerce license in Dubai due to the market’s significant expansion. In 2020, the value of the UAE e-commerce market surged to USD 3.9 billion, representing a remarkable 53% year-on-year increase. Industry experts predict that this is only the beginning, with the sector expected to reach a value of USD 8 billion by 2025, more than doubling its current worth in just four years.

The immense potential and favorable conditions have attracted numerous ambitious entrepreneurs who are eager to establish their own online businesses in Dubai and seize this lucrative opportunity. It is no surprise that you find yourself here, exploring the possibilities that await in this thriving market.

Step-by-Step Process of Getting an E-commerce License in UAE

Applying for an e-commerce license in the UAE involves several important steps. While specific requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and free zone you choose, the following overview will provide you with a general understanding of the process:

Step 1: Gather the necessary details and documents

  • Start by determining your company name and the specific business activity you intend to engage in.
  • Collect copies of your passport or visa/entry stamp.
  • Determine the share ratio among the company shareholders.
  • Make sure you have the contact details (phone number, email, and address) of all the shareholders.
  • If required by the free zone, prepare any necessary photographs.

Step 2: Liaise with your chosen free zone or mainland jurisdiction

  • Submit all the required documents to your selected free zone or mainland jurisdiction.
  • Once your documents are received, the initial approval stage of your e-commerce license application will begin. Typically, you will need to make a payment to the free zone or mainland to initiate the application process. The cost of an e-commerce license may vary, starting from AED 5,750, depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Many jurisdictions require pre-approval before issuing a license. The processing time for the application can range from 3 to 7 days in free zones, while it can be completed on the same day or within 2 days in the mainland.

Step 3: Wait for the release of your documents

  • Once your e-commerce license has been approved, you will receive digital copies of the relevant documents. In some cases, original documents may be required, and they will be sent to you at a later date if necessary.

Step 4: Initiate your visa application

  • If the e-commerce license package you have chosen includes visa(s), you can begin the visa application process after receiving the immigration card.

It’s important to note that the above information provides a general outline of the application process. To ensure accurate and up-to-date information for your specific situation, it is advisable to consult with the relevant authorities or seek professional assistance. Spade Consulting can provide guidance tailored to your needs and the specific jurisdiction you are interested in.

Top 10 Reasons Why E-commerce is Growing in Dubai

  1. Expanding Internet Penetration
    More people in Dubai have internet access and smartphones, making online shopping more accessible.
  2. Growing Affluent Population
    Dubai has a wealthy and diverse population that has the purchasing power and willingness to shop online.
  3. Government Support
    The Dubai government encourages digital transformation and entrepreneurship by implementing supportive policies and initiatives.
  4. Free Trade Zones
    Dubai’s free trade zones offer tax incentives, reduced regulations, and excellent infrastructure for e-commerce companies.
  5. Strong Logistics and Infrastructure
    Dubai has world-class logistics and transportation systems, enabling fast and reliable order fulfillment and delivery.
  6. Multicultural Hub
    Dubai’s diverse market attracts a wide range of customers, allowing e-commerce platforms to cater to different preferences.
  7. The Rise of Mobile Commerce
    The popularity of smartphones and mobile apps has driven the growth of e-commerce, as consumers can conveniently shop on the go.
  8. Convenience and Safety
    E-commerce offers a safe and convenient shopping experience, especially during COVID-19, with home delivery options.
  9. Digital Payment Options
    Secure and convenient digital payment methods have made online transactions easier and more popular among consumers.
  10. Rise of Online Marketplaces
    Online marketplaces provide a centralized platform for consumers to find and purchase products from various sellers.

In summary, Online Business in Dubai is growing day by day, with government support, favorable business environments, strong infrastructure, diverse markets, mobile commerce, convenience, digital payments, and online marketplaces.

Cost of e-commerce license in UAE/Dubai

The cost of obtaining an e-commerce license in UAE, specifically in Dubai, can vary based on the nature of the business activity chosen, whether it’s trading or professional services. Starting an online business in Dubai involves various expenses, including DED registration fees, office rent, sponsorship costs for a local partner, investor visa fees, immigration card fees, company stamp fees, investor’s medical and Emirates ID costs, charges for foreign names (if applicable), investor’s medical insurance fee, and other government fees. Depending on the circumstances, there might be additional charges for partners and their visas.

In Dubai mainland, it is possible to acquire an e-commerce license for as low as AED 14,500*. This presents an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish their digital ventures. To secure your e-commerce license and take full advantage of this lucrative prospect, it is recommended to seek assistance from experienced professionals.

Alternatively, if you prefer a free zone, you can obtain the cheapest e-commerce license available in Dubai free zones for AED 12,500*. One significant advantage of a free zone e-commerce license is the complete exemption from customs tax. This allows investors to maximize their profits with minimal investment and gain valuable exposure to the dynamic UAE market.

To ensure a smooth and compliant process, it is advisable to consult with experts and professionals who can provide guidance and support throughout the licensing procedure

The Different Types of E-Commerce Licenses in UAE

There are several types of e-commerce licenses available in different jurisdictions of the UAE. Let’s explore the different types of e-commerce licenses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah.


E-Trader License

The e-Trader license in Dubai is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and is available only to UAE and GCC nationals residing in Dubai. This license allows individuals to conduct e-commerce activities through social media channels. However, it is important to note that e-Trader license holders cannot have a physical office space or open a shop. The cost of an e-commerce license in Dubai may vary based on the specific requirements of your business.

General Trading License

The general trading license in Dubai mainland allows entrepreneurs to conduct various commercial activities, including e-commerce. This license is available to both UAE and non-UAE nationals. With a general trading license, you have more flexibility in terms of business activities and can establish a physical presence if required. The cost of a general trading license starts from AED 30,000. The price for an e-commerce license in Dubai will depend on your business requirements and may vary.

Abu Dhabi

Tajer Abu Dhabi License: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) issues the Tajer Abu Dhabi license, which is the online trading license in Abu Dhabi. It is available to UAE nationals, residents, and GCC nationals. With this license, individuals can add their online business activities to their existing trade licenses or obtain a new license specifically for online activities conducted through websites or social media channels. The cost of an e-commerce license in Abu Dhabi can be obtained by contacting ADDED or visiting their official website.


Eitimad License: The Eitimad license is issued by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) and is available to UAE nationals residing in Sharjah. This license is suitable for home-based and online businesses operating through social media channels. Applicants must be at least 18 years old to obtain this license. The cost of an e-commerce license in Sharjah can be obtained from the SEDD.

Ras Al Khaimah

Virtual Merchant License: Ras Al Khaimah offers a Virtual Merchant License, which allows entrepreneurs to conduct e-commerce activities through social media platforms, websites, or smartphone applications. This license is available to UAE nationals residing in Ras Al Khaimah. It covers various business activities, including online retail, information technology, real estate brokerage, advisory/consultancy, and professional and information activities performed via technological channels. The cost of an e-commerce license in Ras Al Khaimah can be obtained by contacting the relevant authorities. It’s important to note that the cost and requirements for obtaining e-commerce licenses may vary based on jurisdiction and specific business requirements. It is recommended to consult with the relevant government authorities or seek professional advice to understand the specific licensing process and regulations applicable to your e-commerce business in the UAE.


If you have any uncertainties or inquiries about obtaining the most affordable e-commerce license in the UAE or about initiating an e-commerce business in Dubai or the Dubai Free Zone, seek guidance from our knowledgeable professionals before proceeding. At Spade Business Setup, we have successfully supported many clients in establishing their brands in Dubai’s marketplace, and we are eager to provide our assistance in establishing your online Business in Dubai / UAE.