UAE E-Trader License: A Detailed Guide with Costs Involved

UAE E Trader License

Dreaming of launching your online business in Dubai or any other Emirate? The E-Trader license has probably piqued your interest. And naturally, you have questions! Like;

  1. What is an E-Trader license?
  2. How much does an E-Trader license cost in UAE?
  3. Is the E-Trader license the cheapest trade license in the UAE?
  4. Is a bank account opening in UAE an issue with an E-Trader license?

And many more! We at Corp Creators are here to address every question on your mind. But first, let’s understand what all the hype is about UAE E-Trader licenses.

Why Should You Invest In An E-Trader License in Dubai?

For starters, did you know that an E-Trader license costs 70% less than a general trade license in Dubai? The Business Registration and  Licensing (BRL) sector in the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) launched this license in 2017. Since then, it has been a massive hit, with over 16,400 issued by the end of 2021.

Here are some other key data points:

1. Continual Growth:

The issuance of E-Trader licenses in Dubai saw a 6% rise in 2021, with a total of 6,217 issued compared to 5,848 in 2020. This number of licenses keeps growing, reflecting the increasing popularity of online businesses in Dubai.

UAE E Trader License in Duabi

2. Benefits for Freelancers and Startups:

This license is particularly attractive for freelancers and startups. It allows them to operate from home and provides a smooth entry point into the business world.

3. Focus on Specific Industries:

The Media Office report highlights industries like IT, clothing, design, and marketing as popular choices for E-Trader license holders.

4. Market Access:

The license offers access to Dubai’s vast and tech-savvy audience, which is highly accustomed to digital shopping.

5. Regulatory Compliance:

It provides a legal foundation for your business, prevents potential fines and legal issues, and significantly boosts consumer trust.

6. Tax Benefits:

Dubai’s business-friendly tax environment includes no personal income tax and low corporate taxes, which can lead to substantial savings.

7. Business Opportunities:

The E-Trader license offers several opportunities, including Dubai Chamber membership, access to bank facilities, import/export support, and opportunities to participate in events and training workshops. 

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper and explore everything you need to know about the E-Trader license in Dubai.

So, What Is An E-Trader License in Dubai?

An E-Trader license in Dubai is a permit to conduct business activities through various social media networks. It’s designed for solo entrepreneurs and can be registered under a single owner’s name. 

The license does not allow the opening of a physical shop or the issuance of visas, and in cases of legal disputes, the licensee is held responsible.

Eligibility and Requirements for an E-Trader License in Dubai

1. Be a Dubai Resident:

The E-Trader License is typically limited to UAE nationals and residents, as well as GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals.

2. 21 Years and Above:

You must be at least 21 years old to apply.

3. Solo Ownership Structure:

This license is ideal for freelancers, home-based businesses, and solopreneurs. It allows for sole ownership, meaning it cannot be issued to companies.

4. Valid Identification Documents:

Have your Emirates ID and UAE residency visa ready, along with any other documents we may request.

5. Comply with DED Regulations:

If you plan on using social media or a website for commercial purposes, make sure you adhere to our advertising standards and avoid any activities deemed illegal or inappropriate.

6. Annual Renewal:

The E-Trader license requires annual renewal to ensure continuous compliance with evolving regulations and business laws in Dubai.

Can expats get an E-Trader license?

Yes, ex-pats can get an E-Trader license in Dubai, but there are a few key things to consider:

  • Eligibility: You must first obtain a UAE residence visa. This can be done through employment, business ownership, investments, or being a dependent under a spouse’s or parent’s sponsorship.
  • Restrictions: Expats can only provide services under the E-Trader license. Selling products online is not allowed with this license. You will need an e-commerce license in Dubai to do that. Moreover, there are specific limitations on certain service-based businesses. For example, ex-pats with an E-Trader license cannot operate any fitness businesses, including personal training or yoga classes. Hence, it is best to connect with a business setup consultants in Dubai to identify if your business venture can get started with an E-Trader license in Dubai.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting An E-Trader License in Dubai

1. Create an Account:

Visit the DED Trader website ( and set up your account. Remember to choose English as your primary language (you can find this option in the bottom right corner of the screen). You can also find more information and apply for the E-Trader license through

2. Log in and Apply:

Once your account is active, log in and initiate the E-Trader License application process.

3. Choose Your Business Activity:

Select the business activity or activities that accurately reflect your online venture. This is crucial, as it defines the scope of your legal operations under this license.

4. Add Your Details:

Provide your Emirates ID, contact details, and residency information as requested.

5. Select a Trade Name:

Choose a unique trade name for your business that complies with DED’s naming conventions.

6. Pay the Fees:

After filling out the application and selecting your trade name, you’ll be directed to a secure payment portal to settle the license fees. These fees may vary depending on your chosen business activity.

7. Review and Submit:

Once you have reviewed everything for accuracy, submit your application.

8. Wait for Approval and License:

Wait to get the approval, after which you will receive your official E-Trader license. This will enable you to do your online business legally in Dubai.

How Much Does An E-Trader License in Dubai Cost?

The exact cost of an E-Trader license in the UAE can vary depending on the specific business activity you choose. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

Here's a breakdown of the fees involved:

E-Trader License Fee:

This is the base fee set by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and is typically around AED 1,070. It is also among the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce Membership Fee:

An additional AED 300 is usually charged for mandatory membership in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

While these are the main components, other potential costs could depend on your situation. For instance, depending on your chosen business activity, you might need to pay for business support services or additional DED approvals.

Here are some recommendations to get the most accurate idea of the costs involved:

Contact the DED:

The Department of Economic Development is the authority that issues E-Trader licenses. You can visit their website for the latest information on fees.

Talk to a Business Setup Consultant:

Our business setup experts at Corp Creators can guide you through the entire process and provide an estimate of the total costs involved based on your specific business activity.

Lastly, Does an E-Trader License Offer Bank Account Opening in the UAE?

An E-Trader license offers some banking advantages, but it doesn’t directly grant you a bank account opening in UAE.

Limited to Personal Accounts:

While the E-Trader license allows you to operate a business online, it doesn’t qualify you for a dedicated UAE corporate bank account. You will typically need a more comprehensive trade license, like an E-Commerce License, for that.

Using Personal Accounts:

Many entrepreneurs with E-Trader licenses initially manage their business finances through their personal bank accounts. This can work for small-scale operations, but it’s not ideal for long-term business growth and record-keeping.

Alternatives for E-Trader License Holders:

Freelancer Accounts:

Some banks in Dubai offer special accounts designed for freelancers. These might provide features like multiple debit cards or simplified expense tracking, potentially easing the separation of business and personal finances.

Partnerships with DED:

The Department of Economic Development (DED) that issues E-Trader licenses has partnered with some banks to offer special benefits for E-Trader license holders. These benefits could include preferential rates on opening new accounts or easier access to business loans. Check the DED website or contact them directly for the latest information on such partnerships.

Important Considerations:

Taxes and Regulations:

Even with an E-Trader license, you are still responsible for paying corporate taxes (0% for taxable income up to AED 375,000 and  9 percent for taxable income above AED 375,000 ) on your business income. Also, using a personal account for business transactions can make tax filing more complex.


Separating business and personal transactions becomes crucial for accurate financial reporting and tax purposes. Mixing everything into a single account can lead to messy record-keeping.

Moving Forward:

Consider Your Business Needs:

If your business grows beyond a small operation, you will likely need a more advanced trade license that allows you to open a corporate bank account.

Consult an Advisor:

A business setup expert or even a financial advisor can help you understand your banking options and choose the best solution for your specific business needs.

Nonetheless, the E-Trader License offers a convenient entry point for online businesses, but it has limitations. To explore options, find alternative banking solutions like freelancer accounts or DED partnerships, and consider upgrading your license if your business expands, contact Corp Creators today!

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