Acquiring a Professional Licence in Dubai: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Acquiring a Professional Licence in Dubai: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough


Ambia Hoque


Are you an aspiring entrepreneur eyeing Dubai’s dynamic market? Do you offer services that need a professional touch? Your first step is to secure a DED professional licence from the Department of Economic Development (DED). In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through every step of getting your professional licence Dubai.

You’ll get to know the diverse range of activities covered under the licence and its benefits, including 100% ownership for foreign investors, access to government services, and more. We’ll also break down the cost and necessary documents for your application.

With tangible benefits and a straightforward process, your Dubai-based business is just a professional licence away. Stay informed, navigate easily, and lay the foundation for your professional journey.

Professional licence in Dubai, UAE

What is a DED Professional Licence?

Dubai’s status as an international investment hub creates a favourable environment for entrepreneurs and business leaders. A key requirement for offering professional services in Dubai is obtaining a professional licence.

This licence is given to individuals or corporations that use their intellectual ability or talent to provide services. These services can include consulting, auditing, accounting, design, tourism advice, and other professional services. The DED is the authority that issues these licences.

Who needs a DED Professional Licence in Dubai?

Suppose you’re an individual or a company that provides services in Dubai. The types of services which require a DED Professional Licence are:

  • Accountants
  • Auditors
  • Financial Advisors
  • Advertising Professionals
  • Entertainment Artists
  • Architectural Consultants
  • Teachers
  • Educational professionals
  • Business consultants
  • Lawyers
  • Legal Advisors
  • Medical representatives
  • Carpenters
  • Artisans
  • Technical Services
  • Consultancies
  • Printing and Publishing Companies
  • Internet and Web Design Services
  • Beauty Salons
  • Accounting and Auditing Companies
  • Information Technology Services (IT)
  • Management Consultancies
  • Healthcare and Medical Services

Advantages & Benefits of a Professional Licence

There are several benefits to having a professional licence in Dubai. Unlike industrial and commercial licences, a professional licence allows 100% ownership for foreign investors. This gives you the benefits of a sole proprietorship. However, you must appoint a UAE national as a local service agent to complete the judicial formalities.

Other benefits of having a professional licence include legitimacy and access to government services and projects. It also increases credibility and the ability to sponsor employees and their families for residence visas, the opening of bank accounts in Dubai, and the ease of conducting financial transactions.

Attracting potential clients and partners are also beneficial, as having a professional licence also provides networking opportunities. Additionally, it also offers tax and legal benefits (including the ability to register for VAT and having a legal structure for conducting business in Dubai), and access to education and training.

Procedure for Obtaining a professional licence

Obtaining a professional licence in Dubai involves several steps. The first step is to provide a detailed overview of the activities that your company will be conducting. This is followed by hiring a local service agent to handle all the legal paperwork required to get the licence. After submitting all necessary documents and payment, you can collect the licence at the counter of your service provider. You can also choose to submit your application and documents online.

Documents required for Professional Licence

To secure a professional licence in Dubai, you’ll need to compile a set of essential paperwork. These include a filled-out application form and passport copies of all owners or partners involved in your business. A copy of their naturalisation book is also required if you’re collaborating with a local partner. For foreign partners, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from sponsors is necessary. The shareholder’s UID number is required if they are on a visit visa.

Additionally, initial approval from the relevant authorities, depending on the type of activity your business will be undertaking, is required. Plus, foreign partners must provide a copy of their visit, tourist, or transit visa.

Submit the Documents Required to Get a Professional Licence in Dubai

After assembling all the necessary documents, you must submit them to the DED. You’ll also need to appoint a local service agent and reserve a business name as part of the process.

Cost of Professional Licence in Dubai

Variations in Professional Licence Cost

The cost of a professional licence in Dubai is approximately AED 15,310. This includes professional licence fees, service agent fees, trade name fees, market fees (depending on the tenancy amount), government cultural fees, administrative service fees, and local fees.

A security deposit of AED 20,000 is required if your business has partners. If you’re applying for a professional licence without a partner, the security deposit is AED 10,310.

Additional Costs and Considerations

While the benefits of starting a business in Dubai are substantial, it’s important to consider the initial setup costs, cultural differences, economic dependency risk, and regulatory compliance challenges. These costs include licence fees, office space rentals, visa expenses, and professional service charges.

Trade licences in Dubai can be upgraded or downgraded based on your business’s needs and eligibility criteria set by the Dubai government. All types of businesses, from small and medium enterprises to multinational companies must be licenced to operate in Dubai legally.

Renewal of Professional Licence

Remember that your professional licence is valid for a year from the expiry date. After this period, renewal is necessary, with the fee equivalent to the initial issuance cost. The DED has simplified the renewal process by introducing an automatic renewal option via SMS.

You’ll receive a text message containing your licence number as the expiry date approaches. The renewal fees can be paid by clicking on the link provided in the message.

100% Ownership of a Professional Company

The federal Commercial Companies Law amendment and the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2021 have eliminated the requirement for commercial companies to have a major Emirati shareholder or agent. This allows foreign investors to enjoy the benefits of a sole proprietorship, including full control over the business and sole responsibility for all debts and liabilities.

Navigating the Professional Licence Landscape in Dubai

At the end of the day, the professional licence in Dubai serves as a gateway to the city’s many opportunities for service-based businesses. From ensuring your company’s legitimacy to opening doors to government projects and partnerships, the licence is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs and professionals.

Remember, correctly selecting and detailing your business activities, understanding the costs involved, and keeping track of renewal dates are integral to successful business operations in Dubai. The process might seem complex, but with the right guidance, getting a professional licence in Dubai is a worthwhile investment in your business journey.


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