Whether a large-scale or small business, supermarket or a beauty salon, eCommerce services or drop-shipping company, mainland business setup or free zone establishment, no matter what route you choose to reach your goal of establishing your presence in Dubai, obtaining a relevant trade licence as per the intended business activity is mandatory. Although the process of applying for a trade licence in Dubai is simple and straightforward, you have to go through a series of essential steps, and obtaining the initial approval from Dubai DED is one of them. That too is easy with just a few formalities. Ahead, we will see how you can acquire initial approval from the Dubai authority in charge of the jurisdiction, selected by you for your business registration.

What is initial approval for business establishment in Dubai?

When an individual, shows their interest in forming a business in Dubai, the respective authority has to determine several things about the applicant’s business proposal such as the legal form of the intended company, the type of desired economic activities and licence parties (partners) involved. And an initial approval is the way of doing that. Simply put, initial approval is the government’s consent or NOC that the expat business person is good to go with their future venture. To receive one from them, the applicant is required to submit the initial approval application along with the required set of documents communicating the information the Dubai government is seeking from them. After reviewing the presented papers thoroughly, the authority gives the applicant their consent in black and white to proceed with the next steps to attain the business licence or permit. The process of getting initial approval completes in approximately 7-10 minutes and the document issued is valid for 6 months.

The objective behind applying for the initial approval

A business formation applicant in Dubai or any part of the UAE has to attain the initial approval to be able to acquire other important documents without which the trade licence can’t be issued. These documents are:

  • Commercial space lease contract.
  • Special approvals/NOCs from other parties, depending on the desired business activity. These competent authorities can be any governmental or non-governmental bodies that are accountable for regulating specific activities, such as the Health Authority, the Roads and Transport Authority, and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, to name some external authorities.
  • Trade name reservation certificate. Please note that an initial approval can be requested even before a trade name reservation in Dubai.

Beneficiaries of the Initial Approval Request

Below are the individuals who can apply for the initial approval:

  • Business community
  • Public Relations Officer (PRO)
  • Company formation consultant

Cost of obtaining Initial Approval in Dubai

The total fee to receive the initial approval for business incorporation in Dubai is AED 120. Below is the breakup:

  • Service fee for issuing or amending Initial approval fees: AED 100
  • Knowledge Dirham Fee: AED 10
  • Innovation Dirham Fee: AED 10

Click here to know the payment channels available at your disposal.

Initial Approval Service Structure & Type

  • Subsidiary
  • Procedural

Initial Approval Application Requirements

  • Unified number or ID number
  • The parent company’s board resolution to open a branch in Dubai, appoint the manager and list the company’s activities
  • Keep the basic details of your partners, manager and LSA (if applicable) handy such as an address, contact information, identification number (Emirates ID number, passport or unified number), position in the company and ownership shares

What is the process to apply for the Initial Approval in Dubai for a business licence?

Where to Apply: The request for initial approval can be filed online using either of the below-mentioned channels:

How to Apply: One may choose to apply for the initial approval either through an experienced business setup advisor in Dubai such as Adam Global or all by yourself. If you opt for the latter, the process involves the following steps, depending on the mode you choose to apply:

Offline (via the licenced service center)Online (via Invest in Dubai platform)
1. Visit one of the authorised service centers
2. Email the requirements via the center’s e-mail account
3. Make payment via one of the available payment methods
4. Wait for 10 minutes or so and collect the initial approval right away
1. Login on the website: https://invest.dubai.ae
2. Select the main business activity (the primary activity and the additional activities)
3. Add the licence parties and their nationalities
4. Select the legal form of the company
5. Select the licence type (normal licence, instant licence, DED trader licence)
6. Add the licence details
7. Add the details of partners, managers and local service agent (if any)
8. Add Ultimate Beneficiary owners
9. Confirm details
10. Pay via one of the available payment methods
11. Take the print of Initial Approval Certificate once issued

Meet your business setup consultant in Dubai

Setting up a business in Dubai needs you to take several decisions almost every step of the way – from choosing the economic activity to trade name to business location to legal form of the company. One of the best ways to be confident about your decisions and choices is – to work with one of the best business setup advisors in Dubai, such as Adam Global. This way you may also save your precious time, money and energy. Book a free consultancy with our Dubai business advisors, to ensure that Adam Global is the business formation specialist you are looking for in Dubai.

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