E-Trader Licence in Dubai: FAQs Answered

Wondering to sell something in Dubai, the smartest city in the MENA region, but don’t have money coming out of your ears to get the business up and running? E-Trader licence is your ticket to take off to the world of business in Dubai without breaking the bank! Social media is your runway! And of course, we are your navigator!

You might be in a spot of bother finding answers to hundreds of questions looming over your head before starting your small business from home on social media. Do I need a trade licence in Dubai to sell on social media? What are the pros and cons of eTrader licence in Dubai? How can I obtain the eTrader licence in Dubai? Do I need any other business licence with eTrader licence? And so on. Not anymore! Here we are going to answer all your questions and straighten out the important things you must know before starting your online selling business in Dubai.

Is there any difference between E-commerce and E-trader Licences?

Good question! In the UAE, you have 3 ways to sell your products or services online – Sell through either a marketplace, your own website or social media accounts – and the most effective way of online selling in the UAE is a combination of all three. Keeping the scope of the E-commerce industry in view majorly the UAE government offers different trade licences to individuals with specific business goals. Therefore, although both licences solve a similar purpose i.e., online trading/business, they are different. The relationship between the two can be seen as a father-son relationship, where E-Commerce is the dad. Let’s look at some of the major differences between the two:

DifferenceE-Commerce LicenceE-Trader Licence
Business ActivitiesA large number of business activities are allowedRelatively few activities are permitted
MakaniNot requiredIssued only for residential sites
EligibilityFor expat foreign investorsOnly for UAE/GCC nationals and existing UAE residents
Selling PlatformsE-commerce businesses can sell through their websites as well as other websites such as Amazon, Noon, etc.Only for the social media
Sales ScopeAnywhere in the UAEEmirate-specific. With Dubai E-Trader licence sale is not possible out of Dubai
Legal Structure/formOffers flexibility in selecting the legal structure, including LLCLimited only to a sole ownership structure
CostStarts from AED 15,000. The cost of obtaining E-commerce licence in UAE mainly depends on Registering authority, Eligibility of resident visas and Facilities (flexi-desk, office, warehouse)E-Trader licence is the cheapest E-commerce licence type in Dubai. The licence fee is just AED 1070
Business Type/SizeSuitable for both small businesses and big corporationsE-Trader licence helps the small-time, home-based businesses

Is social media business profitable in Dubai?

Think of something that is not available online to sell or purchase from the comfort of your home! From the massive house and car, you spend most of your time in, to the tiny wristwatch and cufflinks shining on your wrist, anything can be sold or bought on social media today. Thanks to smartphones and internet penetration, which was never this high in the UAE. Access to tons of options and variety, availability of free home delivery and easy return options, on-the-up-and-up fuel prices, huge discounts, 24×7 open shop, COVID-19 fear, and the lack of free time to visit physical big boxes are just some of the reasons why more and more people are turning to online shopping more than ever. This is a dead giveaway of the increasing amount of time spent by consumers online and their association with various social networking sites such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn, amongst others. With 99% population using one or the other social media platform in the UAE, the country has one of the highest adoption rates globally. Following this shift in social media consumption and consumer behaviour, almost every brand in the UAE is focusing more on online offerings and seamless shopping experiences.Social media is the easiest, fastest and cheapest route to sell your products and services anywhere in the country. In the world! Whether it is your handmade bakery products or a self-designed educational or gaming app. If the E-commerce business in Dubai is not profitable, I don’t know what is!

According to experts, the social commerce industry in the United Arab Emirates will remain on an upward trajectory in 2022 marking an annual growth of 42.1% to reach US$904.8 million. The sector is anticipated to grow steadily over the forecast period, registering a CAGR of 35.5% from 2022 to 2028. The social commerce Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the country will see a rise from US$904.8 million in 2022 to reach US$5,350.0 million by 2028. So, if you are looking for one of the most profitable business opportunities in Dubai for 2022, the social media business is the name of the game!

What do I need to start my home business on social media in Dubai?

The E-Trader Licence is the basic requirement you have to meet to be able to trade your services or products online in Dubai. Issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED), this is the official permit that authorises home entrepreneurs in the UAE to do business over social media. Launched in 2017 to bolster online buyers’ confidence and to regulate the trading of E-commerce offerings in Dubai, the E-trader licence is a part of a crackdown on counterfeit and fake products being sold on various social media platforms. The eTrader licence can be registered under the name of a single owner only, and the licence holder is not allowed to open a shop or issue visas. Plus, in case any legal dispute crops up, the licencee alone will be held accountable. It’s crucial for you to be fully acquainted with the legal requirements, the benefits, and the steps to getting your e-trader licence in Dubai. For any sort of guidance before applying for your first eTrader licence in Dubai or any other Emirate of the UAE, feel free to get in touch with some of the most experienced Dubai E-commerce business advisors at Adam Global Dubai

Who is eligible for an E-Trader licence in Dubai?

Any individual who is intending to promote or sell the products and services through their social media accounts or personal website can apply for the E-trader licence in Dubai. For instance, From stay-at-home mothers wanting to sell their handmade products to photographers planning to promote photography or videography services in Dubai, anyone can start their home-based business with this home business licence. You qualify for the eTrader licence if you are over the age of 21 years and a/an:

  • home entrepreneur who doesn’t have or need a physical office space as it does not ask for Ejari or commercial tenancy contract like other trade licences in Dubai, UAE
  • single-owner home-based business that doesn’t require a local partner and freelancers
  • UAE and GCC national based in Dubai. Please note that UAE and GCC nationals can sell physical goods and commodities along with services via social media platforms
  • foreign expatriate residing in Dubai. However, they have to face certain limitations in connection with online sales
  • Person, staying at home
  • Professional who wants to use their talent to make money
  • Newbie experimenting with new business ideas
  • Entrepreneur willing to test the success probability of your products or services before forking out on a full-fledged business in Dubai
  • Under-paid private employee looking for a side hustle to make the ends meet in an expensive city like Dubai
  • Aspiring business-minded person who wants to try his/her entrepreneurial skills

With this licence individuals or single-owner businesses can legally sell or promote their services and products using social media accounts they own.

What are the benefits of E-Trader Licence in Dubai?

An E-trader licence aims to provide the buyers with a sense of security. Strictly structured for a single-owner home-based business in Dubai or freelancer, eTrader licence opens doors to a whole new horizon for those who can’t afford a physical setup for office or employees to manage the day-to-day operations and of course for those too who can’t step out to do or hate 9to6 office job. With a Dubai eTrader licence in your name permits you can:

  • Turn your hobby or passion into an amazing source of income
  • Become your own boss while doing what you love to do
  • Operate from the comfort of your home without the need of renting a perfectly outfitted shop or issuing visas
  • Safeguard your trade name and any other intellectual property.
  • Keep yourself up-to-date about the E-commerce industry by attending training and workshops for E-trader licence-owners conducted by DED
  • Legally promote and sell products and services through your social media accounts or on a personal website.
  • Feature your products and services on online marketplaces such as souq.com. Individuals and single-owner businesses, in possession of this home business licence in Dubai, can legally partake in and reach out to massive customers at exhibitions and conferences
  • Set up your business and market your offerings without spending a fortune on marketing activities. We all know setting up a new business in Dubai and then promoting the same can cost you the earth

The E-commerce industry, without a doubt, is here to stay! With so many social media platforms available to sell on, you might hit the jackpot with your eTrader licence. But when it comes to selling on social media in Dubai, it’s paramount that you are fully cognizant of the legal requirements, the benefits, and the steps to getting your licence. It’s worth taking advice and hearing out the constructive ideas and strategies that will be beneficial for the success of your business.

What are the downsides of the Dubai eTrader licence?

Without a doubt, eTrader is a boon for home entrepreneurs, however, they should see the other side of the coin as well before applying for it. All the trade licences in the UAE come with some restrictions. And eTrader licence is no exception! First and foremost, the eTrader licence is strictly for a freelancer or single-owner home-based business in Dubai, and individuals with this home business licence cannot open a physical shop or issue visas. Second, the eTrader licence is an Emirate-specific home business licence which simply means that the E- trader licence granted in Dubai cannot be used for selling things in other Emirates. Nonetheless, you may seek separate approval from concerned DEDs if you wish to trade in other Emirates. Three, Expat entrepreneurs, unlike the UAE and GCC nationals who can engage in both commercial and professional trading through their social media accounts, are not allowed to engage in commercial trading but can offer professional services. Four, the eligibility for licence issuance and the type of trading activity depends on the nationality of the expat entrepreneur. The information regarding these will be brought to light during licence registration. And last but not the least, you must be at least 21-years-old to be eligible for the eTrader licence.

What are the eTrader licence fee and validity in Dubai?

The Dubai E-Trader licence fee in Dubai is AED 1070 and comes with 1-year validity. You must renew the licence every year before it expires.

How can I apply for the eTrader licence in Dubai?

Obtaining the eTrader licence in Dubai is an easy breeze. Just a few steps and voilà!

  • Go to the DED Trader website and create your DED Trader account
  • Duly register for the licence by furnishing the information about the social media accounts you want to use for trading purposes
  • After registration, make the payment to finish the process
  • Wait until you receive the confirmation. Generally, it takes five minutes or so. Take the printout of the confirmation if you want

Although the E trader licence registration process in Dubai is simple and straightforward, you still might have doubts and queries regarding the same. Particularly when you have specific business needs. Consulting one of the best business setup consultants in Dubai, such as Adam Global, is the best route to figure out the best possible solutions to all your needs.

Here’s your eTrader Licence Guide in Dubai

Whether online or offline, doing a business in Dubai isn’t all beer and skittles — you need to take the rules and regulations in the UAE absolutely seriously. Your money and prestige are at stake all the time. Just one slip and you might end up paying hefty fines or regretting your decisions later. If you have a product or service to offer online but have questions and doubts regarding the licencing process, meet our team of Dubai business formation experts. Better if you enter the business field after discussing it with our expert team, rather than testing the field with no or little idea about it. We will not only help you avail yourself eTrader licence in the UAE effortlessly but also assist you in making the most of the immense E-Commerce potential Dubai has. With Adam Global Dubai eTrader licence experts by your side, your application process will be quicker and free from any mistakes or errors. Plus, you will get the peace of mind and free time to focus on things that matter the most after the licence is approved. Book your free consultancy today with our business licencing experts in Dubai to discuss your plans one on one. So, we can guide you according to your business objectives and you can discover more about the E-trader licence Dubai.

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