Is it better to start an online business in Dubai during COVID-19?

Start an online business in Dubai to broaden your reach and have effective mechanise to do business during the current pandemic of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 outbreak has negatively affected global trade, hampered the economy and influenced the entire world on various spectrums. However, the impact of COVID-19 on online businesses in Dubai is different! The pandemic has created new business opportunities in Dubai especially for online and ecommerce entities.

Hence, setting up an online business in Dubai can presently be the best way to start a business. But what are the various steps of setup? And how exactly must one start an online business in Dubai?

How to start an online business in Dubai?

From designating the type of business activity to sorting the proprietorship in the company. From determining the legal form of business to trade name, local support and employees! Most of the processes involved to register an online business in Dubai is similar to traditional business setups.

  1. The process to start an online business in Dubai –

  • Pick options for trade name
  • Finalize the business activity
  • Passport copies of the shareholders
  • Entry stamp or visa page if on visit visa
  • Passport size coloured photographs
  • Tenancy contract of the office/shop.
  1. Licensing an online business in Dubai –

An online or an ecommerce business in Dubai must be licensed by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED). The Department of Economic Development in Dubai offers a portal license to entities solely willing to focus on online commercial mediums. The type of portal license in Dubai issued to the entities depends on the nature of the online business conducted.

Is it best to start an online business in Dubai compared to a traditional business during COVID-19:

  • Online businesses have found new demand in the Dubai market

Multiple consumers are shopping online creating new demand for online businesses and ecommerce sellers. Some ecommerce websites offering household items, groceries, medical equipment, pharmacy, etc. have seen significant upticks. Online business in Dubai for a few months had been the only businesses that were able to facilitate their clientele. It is also presumed that the accelerated adoption of ecommerce services is likely to stay for the long haul. Hence, it is best to start an online business in Dubai especially now!


If you are a blogger with a news website or an informative portal then you can simply apply for a Social Media License or a Non-Commercial Information Services License. If you are limited to only selling products manufactured by other or listing promotion and services then you can opt for a portal license in Dubai. But, if you plan to start an online business to sell your own manufactured, installed, imported or exported goods – a portal license will not suffice. You will first have to apply for a trading license and then will be allowed to sell your products online.

  • Renting an office or a commercial place for a portal license

Starting an online business in Dubai does not need a large office space that helps you to reduce costs. For an online business you may or may not require an office space. But as per the DED standards, you at least need to have a flexi desk or a smart desk to get the portal license in Dubai. This requirement is also alike for commercial or professional trading licenses in Dubai.

  • Legalities involved to start an online business in Dubai

Online businesses in Dubai are well-regulated branch of commerce in Dubai. DED strives to create a secure business environment, thus there are a few legalities involved. Online services such as freelancing businesses also need to take permissions and adhere to the taxation policies.

Is it worth starting an online business in Dubai?

There is no doubt that an online business in Dubai can open numerous avenues for any type of business, especially during this pandemic. Moreover, even traditional businesses are making sure that they have an online presence in the Dubai market. With an online business you can create a multi-dimensional market for your business.

If you like to offer services or want to promote offers online opt for a portal license in Dubai. With a portal license you can act as a meditator for buyers and sellers. Portal license is the most cost-effective solution. However, if you plan to sell your own products online as well as offline then a normal trade license in Dubai is a must!

Book a free consultation with DBS Business Setup to know more! Understand the feasibility of your business activity and learn how to start an online business in Dubai in the most cost-effective and simple ways.

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