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Demystifying the DED Abu Dhabi Trade License: Your Guide to Business in the Emirate

DED Abu Dhabi trade license

The vibrant emirate of Abu Dhabi beckons entrepreneurs and investors with its thriving economy, world-class infrastructure, and strategic location. To operate a business within its borders, however, you’ll need to secure a trade license issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) Abu Dhabi. This article serves as your comprehensive guide to understanding the DED Abu Dhabi trade license, navigating the application process, and ensuring a smooth entry into the Abu Dhabi business landscape.

What is a DED Abu Dhabi Trade License?

A DED Abu Dhabi trade license is a formal authorization issued by the Department of Economic Development that grants a business the legal right to conduct specific commercial activities within the Emirate. It acts as a vital document for businesses to operate legally, open bank accounts, enter into contracts, and secure visas for employees.

Types of DED Abu Dhabi Trade Licenses

The DED offers a variety of trade licenses catering to different business activities and structures. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types:

  • Commercial License

 This is the most prevalent license type, authorizing companies to engage in trading activities like importing, exporting, wholesaling, and retailing of goods.

  • Industrial License

 This license is required for businesses involved in manufacturing, processing, or assembling goods.

  • Professional License

 This license caters to individuals or companies providing professional services like consultancy, engineering, or medical services.

  • Tourism License

This license is necessary for businesses operating in the tourism sector, including hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators.

  • Branch License

 This license allows existing companies with a license in another Emirate to establish a branch office in Abu Dhabi.

Benefits of Obtaining a DED Abu Dhabi Trade License

Obtaining a DED Abu Dhabi trade license offers several advantages for businesses:

  • Legality and Credibility

 A trade license signifies your business operates legally, enhancing trust and credibility among potential clients and partners.

  • Access to Markets

 The license allows you to participate in the Emirate’s dynamic economy and access a vast pool of customers.

  • Banking and Investment

 With a license, you can open corporate bank accounts and explore investment opportunities within Abu Dhabi.

  • Visa Sponsorship

 The license empowers you to sponsor visas for employees, facilitating the recruitment of foreign talent.

Obtaining a DED Abu Dhabi Trade License: A Step-by-Step Guide

The process of obtaining a DED Abu Dhabi trade license involves several key steps:

  1. Choose Your Business Activity

 Carefully research and identify the specific business activities you plan to undertake. The DED classifies activities under a standardized coding system, so ensure you select the most relevant code(s) for your business.

  1. Select Your Company Structure

Decide on your preferred legal structure, such as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or branch office. Each structure has its own set of requirements and implications.

  1. Gather Necessary Documents

 Prepare the required documents as per your chosen business activity and structure. These typically include:

  • Completed application form

  • Passport copies of all partners/shareholders

  • Feasibility study (for certain activities)

  • Lease agreement for your business premises

  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current sponsor (if applicable)

  • Detailed business plan

  1. Register Your Company Name

 Choose a unique and appropriate name for your business and ensure it complies with DED regulations. You can check name availability through the DED eServices portal.

  1. Pay License Fees

 Determine the applicable license fees based on your chosen activity and company structure. Fees can be calculated through the DED website.

  1. Submit Your Application

 You can submit your application electronically through the TAMM platform, the DED’s online portal. Alternatively, you can visit a DED service center in person.

  1. Await Approval

 The DED will review your application and may request additional information if necessary. Processing times can vary, so factor in a reasonable timeframe.

  1. Collect Your Trade License

 Once your application is approved, you can collect your official trade license from a DED service center or download it electronically through TAMM.


Obtaining a DED Abu Dhabi trade license is a crucial step towards establishing a successful business in the Emirate. By understanding the types of licenses available, the application process, and the benefits associated with it, you can ensure a smooth entry into this.


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