In this article, we will be discussing the process and requirements for obtaining a trade license in Sharjah. As one of the leading commercial hubs in the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to establish their presence and thrive in its dynamic economy. From business incorporation to pro services, we will explore the essential steps and resources that can guide you through the trade license application process in Sharjah. So, whether you are looking to start a new business venture or expand your existing operations, this article will serve as a valuable resource in navigating the intricacies of trade licensing in Sharjah.

Trade License in Sharjah

Introduction to Trade License

A trade license is a legal document that allows individuals or companies to engage in business activities within a specific jurisdiction. In Sharjah, obtaining a trade license is a mandatory requirement for anyone looking to establish or operate a business. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of trade licenses in Sharjah, including the different types of licenses, the requirements for obtaining one, the process of applying and renewing a trade license, as well as the penalties for non-compliance.

Types of Trade Licenses in Sharjah

In Sharjah, there are three main types of trade licenses: commercial license, professional license, and industrial license. Each license is specific to the type of business activity being conducted:

Commercial License

A commercial license is required for businesses involved in trading activities, such as buying and selling products or goods. This includes activities such as retail trading, wholesale trading, and general trading. To obtain a commercial license, businesses must comply with the regulations and requirements set by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Sharjah.

Professional License

A professional license is necessary for individuals or companies offering professional services, such as consulting, legal services, accounting, engineering, and medical services. This license is specific to businesses that rely on the expertise and qualifications of professionals. To obtain a professional license, individuals must fulfill the necessary educational and professional requirements set by the relevant authorities in Sharjah.

Industrial License

An industrial license is mandatory for businesses involved in manufacturing, processing, or production activities. This includes sectors such as manufacturing, food processing, textile production, and other similar industries. Obtaining an industrial license in Sharjah requires businesses to adhere to the specific regulations and guidelines established by the relevant authorities.

Trade License Categories

In addition to the types of licenses mentioned above, trade licenses in Sharjah are further categorized based on the legal structure of the business. The categories include:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a type of business owned and operated by a single individual. The individual is solely responsible for the business’s liabilities and debts.

  2. Partnership: A partnership is a business structure where two or more individuals come together to operate a business. The partners share the responsibilities, liabilities, and profits of the business.

  3. Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a legal entity separate from its owners. It offers the advantage of limited liability, where the shareholders are only liable for the company’s debts up to the extent of their capital contributions.

  4. Branch Office: A branch office is an extension of a parent company. It operates in Sharjah and is subject to the regulations and guidelines set by the relevant authorities.

Requirements for Obtaining a Trade License

To obtain a trade license in Sharjah, certain requirements must be met. These requirements may vary depending on the type of license and legal structure of the business. However, some common requirements include:

  1. Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan outlining the nature of the business, its target market, marketing strategies, and financial projections.

  2. Legal Documentation: Legal documents such as the Memorandum of Association (MOA), partnership agreement (if applicable), lease agreement for the business premises, and any other relevant documents.

  3. Trade Name: A unique trade name that complies with the naming guidelines set by the DED in Sharjah.

  4. Proof of Identity: Valid identification documents of the owners or partners, such as passports or Emirates IDs.

  5. Ownership Structure: Clear ownership structure indicating the shareholding distribution for partnerships or LLCs.

  6. Financial Requirements: Proof of financial capability, such as bank statements or a minimum capital requirement, depending on the type of license.

Legal Structure of the Business

Choosing the appropriate legal structure for a business is crucial in obtaining a trade license in Sharjah. The legal structure determines the liability, ownership, and operational aspects of the business. Sole proprietorships and partnerships offer simplicity and ease of formation, while an LLC provides limited liability protection. It is essential to consult with legal advisors or business consultants to determine the suitable legal structure based on the nature and objectives of the business.

Applying for a Trade License

To apply for a trade license in Sharjah, the process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Business Name Registration: Registering a unique trade name that meets the DED’s requirements.

  2. Initial Approval: Obtaining initial approval from the DED by submitting the necessary documents and applications.

  3. Legal Typing: Preparing the required legal documents, such as the MOA or partnership agreement, through authorized typing centers.

  4. Submission and Payment: Submitting the completed application form, along with the required documents, and paying the applicable fees.

  5. Final Approval and Issuance: Upon review and verification of the submitted documents, the DED will issue the trade license, granting permission to commence business operations.

Documents Required for Trade License

The documents typically required for obtaining a trade license in Sharjah include:

  1. Copy of valid passport for the business owner or partners
  2. Copy of valid Emirates ID for the business owner or partners
  3. Copy of valid visa (if applicable)
  4. Completed application form
  5. Business plan
  6. Memorandum of Association (MOA) or partnership agreement
  7. Lease agreement for the business premises
  8. NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the sponsor (for expatriate business owners)
  9. Bank statements or proof of financial capability

Trade License Fees

The fees associated with obtaining a trade license in Sharjah can vary depending on the type of license, legal structure, and other factors. The fees typically include application fees, license issuance fees, and other miscellaneous charges. It is advisable to consult the relevant authorities or business consultants to determine the exact fee structure applicable to the specific business.

Trade License Renewal

Trade licenses in Sharjah are valid for a specific duration, usually one year. It is essential to renew the license before its expiry to ensure continuous business operations. The renewal process involves submitting the necessary documents, paying the renewal fees, and complying with any additional requirements set by the DED. Failure to renew the license on time may result in penalties or the suspension of business activities.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the rules and regulations governing trade licenses in Sharjah can lead to severe penalties, sanctions, or even the cancellation of the license. Some common penalties for non-compliance include fines, suspension of business activities, and blacklisting of the business and its owners. It is crucial for business owners to understand and adhere to the laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues or penalties.

Benefits of Having a Trade License in Sharjah

Having a trade license in Sharjah offers several benefits to businesses, including:

  1. Legality: Operating with a valid trade license ensures that the business is legally recognized and authorized to conduct its activities.

  2. Access to Markets: A trade license allows businesses to access local and international markets, expanding their customer base and potential for growth.

  3. Credibility: Holding a trade license enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of the business, attracting customers, partners, and investors.

  4. Ease of Business Setup: The process of obtaining a trade license provides clarity and structure to the business setup process, ensuring compliance with the necessary regulations and requirements.

  5. Support Services: Trade license holders can access various support services provided by government entities and business service providers, facilitating smooth business operations.


Obtaining a trade license in Sharjah is a fundamental requirement for individuals and companies looking to establish a business in the Emirate. Understanding the different types of trade licenses, the applicable requirements, and the process of obtaining and renewing a license is essential for a successful business setup. By adhering to the regulations and guidelines set by the relevant authorities, businesses can enjoy the benefits of holding a trade license and contribute to Sharjah’s vibrant economy.