How to Start an Import-Export Business in Dubai

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Import-Export Business in Dubai

Dubai, a bustling metropolis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has emerged as a global hub for import-export businesses. Because of its strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, as well as its world-class infrastructure and business-friendly atmosphere, it has become an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and investors looking to capitalize on lucrative international trade prospects. In the article below, we will discuss How to Start an Import-Export Business in Dubai. Its procedure, requirements, business structure types, and benefits. More information can be found in the full article.

What is an Import-Export Business in Dubai?

An import-export business in Dubai involves the buying and selling of goods and commodities between Dubai and other countries. Dubai is an attractive hub for international trade due to its strategic geographical location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly atmosphere.

Procedure for Start an Import-Export Business in Dubai

Setting up an import-export business in Dubai is a reasonably simple process that can be finished in a matter of weeks. Here’s a step-by-step procedure:

  • Select a Business Entity: Determine if a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for your organization.
  • Obtain a Business License: Apply to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or a free zone authority for a trading license. The sort of license necessary is determined by the commodities to be traded.
  • Create a Bank Account: To streamline financial transactions and manage your company’s cash flow, open a corporate bank account in Dubai.
  • Secure Office Space: Locate a suitable office space that fulfils your business needs and is by local legislation.

Requirements for registering an Import-Export Business in Dubai

To start an import-export firm in Dubai, you must first complete the following basic requirements:

  • Sponsor: For most business activities in Dubai, a local sponsor, either a UAE resident or a corporation completely owned by UAE people, is necessary.
  • Capital Required: The minimum capital required to form an LLC varies according to the business activity.
  • Visa Requirements: Foreign investors and employees require the appropriate visa to work and reside in Dubai.
  • VAT Registration: Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if your business exceeds the UAE government’s taxable supply level.

Types of Business Entities for Import-Export in Dubai

The most common business entities for import-export activities in Dubai are:

  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a simple option in which you are the lone owner of the company. This structure is suitable for small-scale import-export ventures.
  • Partnership: Partnering with someone allows you to share the responsibilities and capital. Partnerships can be formed with UAE nationals, expatriates, or other businesses.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): For medium to big import-export enterprises, an LLC is a popular solution. It provides owners with limited liability and allows for both foreign and domestic partners.
  • Free Zone Company: Establishing your business in one of Dubai’s many free zones provides various benefits, including 100% ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified customs procedures.
  • Branch of a Foreign Company: If you have an existing business outside Dubai, you can set up a branch office in the city. This allows you to leverage your existing brand and expertise.

Benefits of starting an Import-Export Business in Dubai

Dubai provides numerous benefits to import-export businesses:

  • Important Place: Due to its central location, Dubai has easy access to markets in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
  • Excellent Architecture: Dubai is home to cutting-edge infrastructure, such as modern ports, airports, and transit networks.
  • Tax-Friendly Environment: Dubai offers a corporate tax rate of 0%, making it an attractive destination for businesses.
  • Government Support: The Dubai government offers a variety of incentives and assistance programs to encourage business growth.

How OnDemand International Can Help

OnDemand International is a leading business setup and advisory firm in Dubai, specializing in assisting entrepreneurs and investors in establishing import-export businesses. Our comprehensive services include:

  • Business Registration and Licensing: We guide you through the entire process of company registration, license acquisition, and regulatory compliance.
  • Visa Processing: We assist in obtaining the necessary visas for foreign investors, employees, and their dependents.
  • Office Space Solutions: We assist you in locating suitable office space that suits your company’s needs and budget.
  • Import-Export Procedures: We provide expert guidance on import-export procedures, customs regulations, and trade documentation.
  • Business Support Services: Accounting, bookkeeping, and business advice are among the continuous support services we provide.


The required minimum investment varies according to the company activity and the kind of business entity.

Yes, a local partner is required for most business activities in Dubai. However, there are exceptions for certain industries and free zone companies.

There is no corporate tax in Dubai, but there are certain indirect taxes, such as customs duties and value-added tax (VAT).

Free zone companies enjoy tax benefits, repatriation of profits, and unrestricted import and export activities within the free zone.

OnDemand International provides comprehensive services for establishing an import-export business in Dubai, including business registration, visa processing, office space solutions, and import-export procedures.