Process and Advantages of starting e-commerce business in Dubai, UAE

Currently, the e-commerce sector is growing all over the world. The widespread use of the Internet, the availability of equipment for everyone, and the continued development of international courier services happen. The e-commerce segment is gradually replacing traditional stores. 

It is particularly evident in the trade-in electronics, furniture, clothing, and household goods. In contrast to regular shops, online shops are much cheaper. 

For the UAE, the e-commerce market is just as lucrative as any other region’s online marketplace. The e-commerce sector has already reached $ 10 billion. Given that more than 90% of the population has access to the Internet, there are good opportunities for further growth.

Online commerce and other business types are also subject to preferential tax provisions that apply in free zones. Well-developed logistics systems – ports, airports, and terrestrial communication networks – make the country a natural paradise for online shopping.

You have to go through many steps, from developing a website to getting an approved e-commerce license.

Advantages of doing E-commerce Business in Dubai, UAE

  • The operating expenses are meager
  • There are no restrictions on the withdrawal of capital
  • No export and import duty
  • No taxes and fees
  • 100% ownership of a foreign company
  • Possibility of getting the resident visa for three years

Process of starting e-commerce business in Dubai, UAE

The method of company formation in Dubai Free Zone and obtaining an online business license depends on the specific type of trade and free zone. General trade licenses and e-commerce licenses are the easiest and fastest to get. More than 80% of the companies have such a license and trade in various groups of goods.

Building an online business in Dubai starts with applying for an e-commerce license. This license is what allows you to do business and sell the products listed in the permit.

  • Choose Right Type of Company

There are several options available here. You can register a limited liability company, a branch of a foreign holding company, a representative office, and several other types of businesses. Depending on your plans and possible access to other markets, one option or another is optimal. The most common types of companies in Dubai are limited liability companies and subsidiaries as they offer several significant advantages. The free zone provides different conditions and preferences for the companies listed here.

  • Location of Company

In Dubai itself and other emirates, there are more than 20 free trade zones: Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, and others. You will also need to choose a business location to get a license. Dubai offers two options: the first is to register a company in a free zone, and the second is to write a company outside the freezone. 

Registering a company outside the free zone is a good solution if you want to do business in the area (these companies have no restrictions on import and export of goods and import/export fees). Unlike companies in the free zone, foreigners have to look for local partners who own 51% of the shares. 

  • Trade Name of Company

Choosing an online store name is an essential step because this name needs recognization. When you register, you will need to provide several alternatives if that name is already in use.

  • Apply For License

If you want to set up your company in a free zone, you can apply directly to the free area in question. If you prefer to settle on the continent, you will need to contact the city development or economics department of the emirate you wish to live in. In either case, you will need to provide some primary documents, including a copy of the passport, along with the completed application form.

Since the application process is particular and inaccurate and omissions can lead to delays and rejection, it is a good idea to work with experts to establish the company as a commercial licensing area. 

  • Get Physical Office in Dubai

Even though an online shop does not have a place like a traditional shop, it must have an official address (office) as Dubai’s authorities require e-commerce companies to have one.

  • Apply For Visa

While it is sometimes possible to start and operate a business in the UAE without living in the UAE, you will need a visa if you want to move here. Like all the employees you want to take on.

The number of visas you can apply for depends on your business’s size and where you obtained them. When it comes to applying for permits for loved ones such as domestic workers or your spouse or children, the process is just as straightforward, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

  • Open Corporate Bank Account

Every business needs a bank account, so you will need to open one. Local banks offer excellent opportunities to open accounts, also for overseas companies.


The process of starting an online business in Dubai defines simplicity. However, it requires thorough knowledge of the UAE and its various customs and regulations.

Therefore, it is always advisable to seek out the services of a business start-up company that can advise on the process and seek out the permits and types of facilities that are most suitable for your business, depending on your needs and budget. Besides, you can be sure that your license and visa application is error and negligent-free by using a business formation service. Both can cause delays and rejections.

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