If you are a small business owner looking to establish your venture in Dubai, you may be concerned about the high costs associated with obtaining a business license. However, there is good news for you. DBS Business Setup, a renowned business setup consultancy based in Dubai, offers low-cost small business license services to help entrepreneurs like you navigate the complexities of setting up a business in the city. With their expertise in business registration, pro services, corporate banking, and more, DBS Business Setup can assist you in obtaining the necessary approvals and licenses while keeping your budget in mind. Read on to discover how their services can simplify the process of starting your business in Dubai without breaking the bank.

Low-cost Small Business License in Dubai

Overview of Small Business License in Dubai

The small business license is a legal requirement for entrepreneurs and small business owners in Dubai. It allows individuals to establish and operate a business within the jurisdiction. A small business license provides legitimacy to the business, ensures compliance with regulations, and allows for growth and expansion opportunities.

Definition of Small Business License

A small business license is a legal document issued by the relevant authorities in Dubai, granting permission to individuals or companies to conduct business activities within the emirate. This license signifies that the business is compliant with the laws and regulations set forth by the government.

Low-cost Small Business License in Dubai

Types of Small Business Licenses in Dubai

There are different types of small business licenses available in Dubai, depending on the nature of the business and the applicable regulations. The most common types include:

  • Professional License: This license is for professionals in various fields such as consultancy, engineering, legal services, and healthcare.
  • Trade License: This license is for businesses involved in trading activities, such as retail shops, wholesale trading, and import/export.
  • Industrial License: This license is for businesses engaged in manufacturing or industrial activities, including factories and production units.
  • Tourism License: This license is for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector, such as hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators.
  • Home-based License: This license is for businesses that operate from a residential property.

Importance of Small Business License

Obtaining a small business license in Dubai comes with several important benefits. It is crucial for operating within the legal framework and establishing credibility in the market. Some of the key reasons why a small business license is important include:

Access to Local Market

Having a small business license allows entrepreneurs to access the local market and target customers within Dubai. Without a license, businesses cannot legally operate and may face penalties or fines if found in violation of the regulations.

Financial Incentives and Support

The government of Dubai offers various financial incentives and support to small businesses with a valid license. This may include subsidies, grants, and low-interest loans, which can significantly help in the growth and sustainability of the business.

Legal Protection

A small business license provides legal protection for entrepreneurs. In case of any dispute or legal issues, having a license ensures that the business operates within the boundaries of the law and can avail legal remedies if required.

Opportunities for Growth and Expansion

A small business license opens doors to potential growth and expansion opportunities. It allows businesses to establish a presence in the local market, attract investors, and explore partnerships or collaborations for further development.

Low-cost Small Business License in Dubai

Requirements for Obtaining a Small Business License in Dubai

To obtain a small business license in Dubai, certain requirements need to be fulfilled. These requirements may vary depending on the type of license and the nature of the business. Some of the common requirements include:

Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan outlining the details of the business, its objectives, financial projections, market analysis, and operational strategy is typically required for obtaining a small business license.

Ownership Structure

The ownership structure of the business must be determined and documented. This includes whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. In some cases, legal documents such as articles of association or partnership agreements may be required.

Trade Name Registration

The business must have a unique trade name registered with the relevant authorities. The trade name should comply with the regulations and guidelines set by the government.


A physical location for the business must be chosen and documented. This includes providing lease or tenancy agreements for commercial spaces or obtaining necessary approvals for home-based businesses.

Professional License (if applicable)

For businesses in professional sectors, such as healthcare, law, or engineering, additional qualifications and certifications may be required to obtain a professional license.

Approval from Relevant Authorities

Depending on the nature of the business, approvals from specific regulatory bodies or governing authorities may be required. For example, businesses in the healthcare sector may require approval from the Dubai Health Authority.

Procedure for Obtaining a Small Business License in Dubai

The process of obtaining a small business license in Dubai can be simplified into several steps. These steps ensure that all necessary requirements are fulfilled and the application is submitted correctly. The general procedure includes:

Choose the Business Activity

Identify the specific business activity or activities that will be conducted within the business. This will help determine the appropriate license type and other requirements.

Select the License Type

Based on the nature of the business activity, select the most suitable license type. Consult with business setup consultants or government authorities to ensure the selected license aligns with the business objectives.

Choose the Company Name

Select a unique and appropriate trade name for the business. Ensure that the chosen name complies with the regulations and guidelines set by the relevant authorities.

Prepare the Required Documents

Gather all the necessary documents, such as the business plan, ownership structure documents, trade name reservation certificate, NOC from the building owner, and tenancy contract. Additional documents specific to the license type may also be required.

Submit the Application

Complete and submit the small business license application to the relevant authorities. Ensure that all required documents are included and comply with the specified format and guidelines.

Pay the Fees

Pay the applicable fees for the small business license. The fees may vary depending on the license type, business activity, and the duration of the license.

Await Approval

Once the application and fees are submitted, the relevant authorities will review the application. The approval process may take some time. Upon approval, the small business license will be issued, allowing the business to legally operate within Dubai.

Cost of a Small Business License in Dubai

The cost of obtaining a small business license in Dubai can vary depending on several factors. It is important to consider these factors when planning the budget for setting up a business. Some of the factors affecting the cost include:

Factors Affecting the Cost

  • License type: Different license types have varying fees and requirements. Certain licenses may be more expensive due to the nature of the business activity or the sector.
  • Business activity: The specific business activities being conducted can impact the cost of the license. Some activities may require additional approvals or certifications, which can add to the overall cost.
  • Location: The location of the business, whether it is in a free zone or on the mainland, can also affect the cost. Free zone licenses may have different fee structures compared to mainland licenses.

License Fees

Small business license fees can range from a few thousand dirhams to tens of thousands depending on the license type and the jurisdiction. It is important to carefully review the fee structure and understand the breakdown of costs.

Additional Expenses

In addition to the license fees, there may be additional expenses to consider. These can include visa fees for employees, office rent, utilities, marketing costs, and any professional services required during the setup process.

Tips for Reducing the Cost of a Small Business License

While obtaining a small business license in Dubai may involve certain costs, there are ways to reduce these expenses. Implementing the following tips can help entrepreneurs save money while still ensuring compliance and successful business operation:

Choose an Appropriate License Type

Selecting the most appropriate license type for the business activity can help avoid unnecessary costs. Consult with business setup consultants to determine the most cost-effective option that meets the business requirements.

Opt for a Free Zone License

Consider establishing the business in a free zone. Free zones offer several benefits, including lower startup costs, tax exemptions, and simplified bureaucratic processes. However, it is important to research and understand the regulations and limitations of operating within a specific free zone.

Consider Shared Office Spaces

To minimize office rent and operational costs, consider shared office spaces or co-working spaces. These spaces offer a cost-effective solution by providing access to office facilities and services at a reduced rate.

Outsource Non-Core Activities

Outsourcing non-core activities, such as accounting, HR, or IT services, can help reduce costs. By availing the services of external professionals or agencies, businesses can avoid the need to hire full-time employees and invest in infrastructure.

Avail Government Support and Incentives

Stay updated on the various government support programs and incentives available for small businesses in Dubai. These programs can provide financial assistance, training programs, and access to markets, which can significantly reduce costs and support business growth.

Documents Required for Small Business License Application

When applying for a small business license in Dubai, certain documents are commonly required. These documents help verify the legitimacy and eligibility of the business. Some of the commonly requested documents include:

Passport Copies of Shareholders and Managers

Passport copies of all shareholders and managers involved in the business should be provided. These copies help establish the identity and residency of the individuals.

Proof of Residence

Proof of residence, such as utility bills or lease agreements, may be required for individuals involved in the business. This helps determine the residential address and establish the individuals’ connection to Dubai.

No Objection Letter (if applicable)

If the business is located within a building or community that requires a no objection letter from the property owner, this document should be obtained and included in the application.

Memorandum of Association (if applicable)

For businesses with multiple shareholders or partners, a memorandum of association or partnership agreement may be required. This document outlines the rights, responsibilities, and ownership structure of the business.

Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is a vital document for obtaining a small business license. It provides details about the business objectives, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operational plans.

Trade Name Reservation Certificate

A trade name reservation certificate obtained from the relevant authorities is necessary to confirm the uniqueness and availability of the chosen business name.

NOC from the Building Owner

If the business is operating within a leased commercial property, a no objection certificate from the building owner is typically required. This certifies that the owner has no objection to the business operating within the premises.

Tenancy Contract

A tenancy contract or lease agreement for the business premises must be provided. This document validates the physical location of the business and establishes the contractual arrangement.

Additional Documents Based on License Type

Depending on the specific license type and business activity, additional documents may be required. For example, healthcare businesses may need to provide qualifications and certifications of medical professionals.

Small Business License Renewal in Dubai

Small business licenses in Dubai have a specific validity period, usually one year. To ensure continuous operation, it is essential to renew the license before it expires. The renewal process typically involves the following steps:

Validity Period

The small business license in Dubai is generally valid for one year. However, this period can vary depending on the license type and regulatory requirements. It is important to be aware of the specific validity period applicable to the business.

Renewal Process

To renew a small business license, the entrepreneur or business owner must submit a renewal application to the relevant authorities. The application should be submitted before the license expiration date to avoid any disruptions in business operations.

Renewal Fees

Renewal fees are applicable for extending the small business license. The renewal fees may vary depending on the type of license, business activity, and the duration of the renewal period.

Common Challenges in Obtaining a Small Business License

While obtaining a small business license in Dubai can be a straightforward process, there are some common challenges that entrepreneurs may face. Being aware of these challenges can help businesses better prepare and navigate through the setup process. Some of the common challenges include:

Language Barrier

Language barriers can pose challenges during the application process. It is essential to ensure that all documents and communications are accurately translated into the required language(s) to avoid any misunderstandings or delays.

Complex Application Process

The application process for a small business license can be complex, especially for individuals unfamiliar with the Dubai regulations. Engaging the services of a business setup consultancy can help simplify the process and ensure compliance with all requirements.

Lack of Knowledge about Industry Regulations

Navigating the industry-specific regulations and requirements can be challenging, particularly for businesses in highly regulated sectors such as healthcare or finance. Conducting thorough research and seeking expert advice can help overcome this challenge.

Difficulty in Finding Suitable Office Space

Finding suitable office space within the desired location can be challenging, especially in busy commercial areas. It may require extensive research, property inspections, and negotiations to secure a suitable and affordable space.

Increased Competition

Dubai’s business environment is highly competitive, and entrepreneurs may face challenges in distinguishing their business from competitors. Conducting market research and developing a unique value proposition can help overcome this challenge.


Obtaining a small business license in Dubai is a crucial step for entrepreneurs looking to establish their presence in the local market. By understanding the requirements, procedures, and costs associated with obtaining and renewing a small business license in Dubai, entrepreneurs can ensure compliance, take advantage of available incentives, and create a strong foundation for their business growth.

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