Find out which are the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE

cheapest trade licenses in the UAE

The UAE is a great place to start a new business. The government is always looking for ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow their companies. However, the cost to form a business will depend on the economic jurisdiction where you decide to establish your activities. For this reason, we will show you the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE to reduce the costs of your company setup.

In this article, we will mention what a trade license is, the cheapest free zones in the UAE, the application process for one of the cheapest trade licenses, and how we can help you with this process.

  1. What is a trade license?
  2. Which are the cheapest Free Zones in the UAE?
  3. Which are the most cost-effective Free Zones in the UAE?
  4. Cheapest trade license in Dubai
  5. Cheapest trade license in Sharjah
  6. The cheapest trade licenses in the rest of the UAE
  7. How can we help you get a trade license in the UAE?

1. What is a trade license?

Trade licenses in the UAE are official documents that allows entrepreneurs to form different kinds of companies. The government entity in charge of issuing these licenses is the Department of Economic Development on the Mainland of the respective Emirate.

If you decide to set up your company in a Free Zone, then the corresponding authorities will be in charge of issuing this license. This document applies to different productive activities ranging from the production of natural resources to their export and marketing.

The license is divided into several categories, each one aimed at a different productive activity. Some of the categories are the following:

1.1 Industry license

This category is for those companies interested in carrying out manufacturing activities in the country. For example, bread manufacturing and food industries, paper manufacturing, and textile companies.

Note that in order to get this type of license you must get a physical office space.

1.1  Professional license

The professional license is aimed at those individuals interested in offering professional services based on the experience or knowledge acquired. This document offers entrepreneurs different incentives. For example, 100% ownership and the possibility of making lucrative contracts with the government.

Some of the activities that you can carry out with this license are the following:

1.2 Commercial license

This license is for those companies dedicated to the purchase and sale of products inside and outside the country. Some of the activities that you can carry out with this license are the following:

  • Import and export of products
  • Rental activities
  • Brokerage activities

1.3 Tourism license

The tourism license is addressed to those companies that operate in the travel and tourism sector. This document was born as an initiative of the UAE government to promote and regulate the tourism sector in the country. Some businesses, for example, travel agencies, tour operators, and businesses in the hospitality industry need this license to operate legally in the country.

All the mentioned licenses are available in most of the United Arab Emirates. However, what will be different depending on the economic jurisdiction you choose will be its cost. These licenses usually have a lower cost in the Free Zones, for this reason, we will show you some of the free zones where you can find the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

2. Which are the cheapest Free Zones in the UAE?

When deciding for a free zone in the UAE to establish your company, there are certain factors that you must take into account in the shortlisting process. For example, the location of the free zone, the office space requirements, and the business activities, among others.

The free trade zones offer the cheapest licenses as an incentive to get investors to establish their companies there. If you are a new entrepreneur, you must have several reasons why you would want to keep your business formation costs low. Some of the free zones that offer the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE are located in Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah.

The cheapest free zone in Dubai is the Free Zone Authority (IFZA). It offers entrepreneurs low-cost trade licenses and world-class infrastructure. Similarly, in the emirate of Sharjah, there is Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) and Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) that offer low cost media licenses to entrepreneurs. In the year 2021, Shams Free Zone offered the most affordable licenses, however, as of 2022, it is SPC Free Zone that offers the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

These free zones offer low-cost business licenses for a host of activities such as media, e-commerce, consulting, etc. Also, these zones offer the cheapest general trading license for selling multiple items.

3. Which are the most cost-effective Free Zones in the UAE?

In the United Arab Emirates, some cost-effective free zones offer attractive company formation packages and the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE for entrepreneurs.

The free zones of Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, and Uhm Al Quwain are cost-effective when it comes to the total cost of setting up a business. This includes office rent expenses, trade license costs, and visa and administrative expenses.

Some aspects, for example, reduced maintenance expenses and office management, low office rent, and reduced power bills, among others, make these free zones a cost-effective decision for entrepreneurs. Alternatively, the entrepreneur can choose between Dubai Silicon Oasis and IFZA, since they are among the cheapest  zones in Dubai.

Free zones located in the northern emirates such as Fujairah, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah offer the cheapest startup company packages. At the same time, the cost of licenses is relatively lower than in the free zones in Dubai. The cheapest license in Sharjah for a media business starts from AED 5,750 for a zero visa quota.

Generally, the free zones in the northern emirates offer a wide variety of activities and a business infrastructure for startups with ease and minimal documentation. Choosing one of these zones allows you to apply for one of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

4. Cheapest trade license in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most popular emirates in the country and offers a wide variety of business setup packages for international entrepreneurs. The free zones in this region offer one of the cheapest trade licenses starting at AED 11,900 for a zero visa quota.

The free zones that provide these low packages, in turn, present an extensive business infrastructure for entrepreneurs. These areas are the ideal option for those startups that want to start their journey in Dubai with a low initial setup cost.

Following, are some of the cheapest free zones in Dubai that will provide the necessary business infrastructure for the entrepreneurs.

4.1 Dubai Meydan Free Zone

Meydan Free Zone offers one of the cheapest office spaces in Dubai. It also offers a No objection certificate to open an office space anywhere in this Emirate. This zone is highly beneficial for entrepreneurs as it offers a range of business activities and license types at a cost-effective rate.

In addition to this, the location between Meydan Racecourse and Meydan Hotel makes it the ideal hub for international entrepreneurs and business leaders to socialize and work with like-minded investors. The multiple characteristics of this area allow entrepreneurs to form a company at a relatively low cost and apply for one of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

4.2 International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

The international Free Zone Authority is one of the cheapest free zones in Dubai. Also, it is one of the most cost-effective free zones in the UAE. This zone offers trade licenses starting from AED 11,900.

IFZA is recognized for its flexi desk and flexible rental solutions to keep operational costs at a minimum, its modern office solutions that match international standards, and its warehouse facilities that are built on the highest international logistics standards.

Some of the benefits offered by establishing a company in IFZA are the following:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Fast and easy incorporation of companies
  • 100% exemption from income and corporate tax
  • A wide range of business activities. For example, trading, business consultancy, etc.

4.3 Dubai CommerCity

Dubai CommerCity is one of the new free zones offering world-class amenities to entrepreneurs. Due to its proximity to Dubai International Airport, this zone is a hub for international trading companies and businesses where logistics is an integral part of the activities of the company.

This free zone offers license packages valid for several years (2, 3, and 5 years). It also offers more than two thousand activities for investors to choose from for their companies. This zone offers the right support for business to flourish, which allows the application for one of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

5. Cheapest trade license in Sharjah

The free zones in Sharjah offer a wide variety of trade license packages for entrepreneurs. The cheapest trade license in Sharjah starts from AED 6,500 for a zero visa quota. The free zones in this emirate offer the best-in-class infrastructure to entrepreneurs at a low cost compared to the established free zones in Dubai.

5.1  Sharjah Publishing City

This free zone is one of the most dynamic in Sharjah, offering a low-cost visa for investors and office packages. Also, the coworking facilities and office desk facilities are ideal for entrepreneurs to start their businesses seamlessly.

This free zone encourages foreign investors by providing the best platform to make networking activities and business meetups. Also, it is one of the areas where you will find one of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

5.2 Sharjah Media City

Sharjah Media City is one of the fastest-growing free zones in Sharjah. The main attractions of this area are the low-cost company licenses and low-cost visas. This zone offers various types of licenses and is the ideal place for consultancies, media, freelance, stratus, etc.

6. The cheapest trade licenses in the rest of the UAE

6.1 Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone (RAKEZ)

RAKEZ is a free zone that offers affordable business setup, first-class services, and modern facilities. It has high-tech facilities for industrial development and growth with state-of-the-art infrastructure.

This zone offers entrepreneurs a fast and easy business setup, consisting of a business park, academic zone, and industrial parks. More than fourteen thousand companies from more than one hundred different countries operate in this area.

A commercial license in RAKEZ allows entrepreneurs to manage five activities from the same category and costs AED 14,800 annually. Which makes it one of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

6.2 Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ)

This free zone is the ideal area for business groups, startups, and SMEs for setting up offices. Its proximity to Dubai and international ports make UAQ FTZ a point of interest for investors.

The Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone has operated as an independent zone since 2014. Due to its low-cost business setup, this zone is expected to see rapid adoption in the future.

A commercial license in this free zone costs AED 20,500 annually with a two package visa, making it one of the cheapest trade licenses you can find in the country.

7. How can we help you get a trade license in the UAE?

Connect Zone is the ideal business setup agency to accompany you in the process of obtaining all the requirements you need to start operating in the UAE. With more than twenty years of experience and more than a thousand satisfied clients, we have all the necessary knowledge to successfully carry out the procedures you need to complete.

We can help you with your visa application process, as well as the application, renewal, and payment of your trade licenses. Additionally, we help you choose an office space in one of the best business centers in the country.

Would you like to learn more about these business setup processes in the UAE? You can contact us at the following number +971 43 316 688 or also by sending an email to where one of our representatives will respond to all your concerns.

If you are interested in obtaining a job in our agency or in any field of expertise, you can send your CV to In addition, you can visit for more opportunities like this one.