How to Start an Online Business in Dubai? All You Need to Know


Businesses with an online footprint often outperform those without one. All it takes is a laptop with appropriate software and an internet connection for businesses to provide their services to a global customer.

Getting an online business license in Dubai is a road to success. Because Dubai is known for its excellent internet coverage and a flourishing B2C eCommerce market.

With the correct advice, obtaining an e-commerce license in Dubai can be a simple and speedy process. Learn about the expenses and prerequisites for getting an online business license in Dubai with this detailed guide.

In this blog, we will walk you through the process of starting an Online Business in Dubai, UAE, step by step.

What is an Online Business in Dubai?

For aspiring entrepreneurs hoping to start an online business in Dubai, This thriving UAE economy offers a profitable setting for ventures online. This guide hopes to aid entrepreneurs by providing a thorough explanation of how to start an online business in Dubai, such as obtaining an e-commerce license.

By the year 2026, experts believe that the online shopping market in the United Arab Emirates will reach $9.2 billion U.S. dollars. That amount would equal approximately 12.6% of all retail sales in the UAE. According to officials at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the e-commerce industry in the UAE is expected to grow quite a bit over the next few years. In 2019, online shopping in the UAE totaled around $2.6 billion. But by 2021, estimates indicate the market will increase to approximately $4.8 billion

An online business does not necessarily need to only trade goods on the internet but can also choose to offer online services like teaching, consultation, training, and yoga, among many others. There has been a massive surge in online goods and markets which resulted in a surplus of online business organizations. 

In general, any trading or commercial business using the internet to run its business operation can be referred to as an online business in Dubai.

Advantages of Starting an Online Business in Dubai

Some benefits of online shopping include the ability to reach more customers without needing a physical store. Business owners can sell products by creating an affordable website to sell to people anywhere. Driving visitors to the website lets entrepreneurs share their goods with a wider group of potential buyers.

1. Reduce fixed costs: Having an online store is much cheaper to run than a physical one. Instead of re­nting a retail space, you can put your website online for a reasonable monthly fee. This lets you spend more on marketing and growing your business.

2. Reach Broader Audience: One benefit of online shopping is being able to connect with more people. A store that customers visit in person can only reach so many nearby. Moreover, an online store lets businesses show their goods to customers all over, no matter how far away they live. This gives the chance to find buyers globally instead of just locally.

3. Scalability: One of the key practical benefits of utilizing e-commerce for a business is its scalability, making it a valuable advantage for long-term growth. Unlike a physical storefront, which has limitations on how much it can expand before requiring a larger space, an online presence allows for seamless growth without the constraints of physical limitations. This eliminates the need to relocate inventory and equipment, making it easier to scale the business in line with its growth.

4. Track Logistics: Keeping track of logistics is an important part of online shopping and retail marketing. It is naturally simpler to handle online than in a physical store. When others handle shipping and returns, custome­rs gain fast 2-day delivery and easy return processing. Digital records also make monitoring sales and seeing patterns to help the business grow to be simple.

How to Start an Online Business in Dubai? Step By Step Guide

Company formation in Dubai may seem a complicated process, but following a simple step-by-step guide can be much easier than you think.  Partnering with a Company Setup Consultants can make obtaining your online business license effortless. Here are the five easy steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Online Business Name

Your company name must comply with the UAE’s and DED regulations, avoiding offensive language or names already in use by well-known organizations.

Read also: How to choose a name for your online business in Dubai? 

Step 2: Decide Jurisdiction: a free zone or mainland license

Choose whether you want to obtain your business license from a free zone or the mainland. Free zone companies enjoy benefits like 100% business profit repatriation, no corporate tax, 100% business ownership, and no customs fees. Mainland companies have the advantage of accessing both international and local markets.

Related topic: Differences Between Freezone and Mainland Companies.

Step 3: Apply for an e-commerce license

Apply for an e-commerce license with the appropriate authority, this depends on the license jurisdiction (Freezone or Mainland). Mainland license applications are submitted to the Department of Economic Development (DED), while free zone applications are submitted directly to the chosen free zone.

Online business licenses available in Dubai:

a). E-trader License: If you are a UAE or GCC national residing in Dubai, this might be the option for you. With an E-trader License, you can trade your products and offer your services online without even having a physical office space for your company.

b). Portal License: A portal license is specially tailored for a non-UAE national who wants to start an online business in Dubai. With a portal license, you are legally permitted to offer your products and services online.

c). Virtual Company License: This type of online business license is specially designed for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who want to run their companies remotely. A Virtual Company License only covers business activities concerning designing, advertising, and programming.

Step 4: Apply for visas

Once your license is approved, apply for UAE visas for yourself, your staff, and your family members if needed. This step allows you to legally reside and work in the UAE.

Step 5: Open a business bank account

After obtaining your license, it’s essential to open a business bank account. A bank account is necessary for conducting financial transactions and operating your business in the UAE.

Obtaining an E-Commerce License in Dubai

Applying for an e-commerce license can differ based on where you operate. We aim to give a complete outline to help you comprehend the needed paperwork and steps generally involved.

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1. Choose the Right License for Your Business: Choosing the perfect e-commerce license that matches how your company runs and is set up is the initial step.  

Prepare the Needed Documents:

  • Company name 
  • Business activities 
  • Copy of passport or visa entry stamp 
  • Distribution of shares between shareholders 
  • Contact details and address of each shareholder 
  • Photographs (if required by free zone rule­s)

2. Sign up your business with DED: Once you’ve chosen the proper license sort and gotten the important documents, proceed to submit a re­gistration for endorsement to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). The registration structure will request fundame­ntal subtleties about your business, for example, the organization name, activities, and investors.

3. Get Your Lice­nse for Online Selling: Your license to sell online will be provided by the Department of Economic Development after they process your application. On average, the license should arrive within a few days.

To wrap things up, starting an online business in Dubai demands strategic planning, legal adherence, and comprehending customer behavior locally. Adhering to these guidelines allows business people to construct a sturdy base for a thriving online store­ with success in the UAE.

Start Your Online Business in Dubai with Business Link

Getting an e­-commerce permit in the UAE is essential for people looking to start an e-commerce­ venture in the country. The cost of the permit is chosen by different elements, for example, the explicit kind of permit and business specialty.

At Business Link, our talented group of specialists in busine­ss setup comprehends the significance of following the laws and guidelines overseeing e­-commerce in the UAE. We­ is completely outfitted to facilitate the whole procedure for you, making it more streamline­d and bother-free. Here are a couple of ways we can help:

  • Providing direction on the diverse sorts of e-commerce­ permits accessible in the UAE 
  • Helping you choose the license for your business
  • Gathering the important documentation for the permit application
  • Submitting the permit application in your place
  • Coordinating with the administration specialists in your place
  • Giving continuous help with consistency ne­cessities

Contact Business Link today to learn more about how we can assist you with getting your e-commerce­ license and start your online venture.