Professional licenses in Dubai


Obtaining a professional license in Dubai is essential to conduct business legally. The permits are issued by the Department of Economic Development, and categorize various professional activities such as consultancy, legal, technical, and medical services. The certification process ensures compliance with the local regulations while promoting business credibility and economic growth. Hence, professionals must understand the specific requirements and adhere to the guidelines to establish and operate businesses successfully in Dubai.

WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE IN DUBAI?

This is a permit issued and authorized by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, allowing individuals or companies to provide specialist services within the United Arab Emirates. While commercial or industrial permits focus on trade and manufacturing, the professional license is customized for those offering specialized services such as medical amenities, IT facilities, consultancy, and artists offering handcrafted products. This covers individuals and businesses like medical practitioners, IT consultants, and artists from different industries, and ensures business is operated within the legal framework set by the DED.

Numerous advantages are associated with conducting business in the UAE from tax benefits and a pro-business government to the country’s strategic location. An occupational permit significantly increases the benefits, which include:
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Low operational and administration costs
  • No requirement of sponsorship by a local or local service agent
  • A diverse range of business activities to select from
  • Opportunity to engage with a wide range of clientele and markets
  • Corporate bank account access
  • Capability to apply for visas, labor quotas, permits, and more

WHO NEEDS A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE IN DUBAI?

Individuals or entities who intend to provide specialized services based on expertise, skills, talent, and qualifications in Dubai must obtain an official certification.

Individuals and activities that require the permit are as follows:
  • Arts
  • Architecture
  • Artisanal activities
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Carpentry
  • Consultancy services
  • Engineering
  • Entertainment
  • Educational services – Teachers, Professors
  • Environmental services
  • Financial Services – Accountants, Auditors, Financial Advisors
  • IT solutions
  • Legal Services - Lawyers
  • Media and publications – Advertising experts, printers
  • Medical amenities and healthcare service providers – doctors and medical representatives
  • Real estate
  • Research and development
  • Technology – Internet solutions
  • Travel and tourism
This legal permit ensures that individuals abide by local legislation and helps build trust, whether starting a new business as an entrepreneur or working in an existing field.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE AND A COMMERCIAL LICENSE?

There are several differentiators between the two types of permits:

WHAT ARE THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO GET A UAE PROFESSIONAL LICENSE?

Obtaining a certified permit in Dubai requires submission of specific documents to DED’s relevant authorities, to ensure that all legislative requirements are met. The list of documents that are commonly necessary but not limited to include:

  • A copy of the passport and passport photographs of shareholders (owner and partner)
  • Visit visa copy or Emirates ID copy as relevant
  • Accurate, completed application form
  • Copy of rental contract
  • Initial certificate of approval from DED
  • Business name reservation certificate
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Updated educational and professional qualifications
  • Relevant industry authority approvals

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO GET A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE IN DUBAI?

The procedure to obtain the permit is straightforward, however, each step must be meticulously followed to ensure a seamless process.

The stages in acquiring the permit are as follows:

1.SELECTION OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

Identifying, selecting, and describing all business activities is vital for the professional license. Failure to do so may result in penalties. With over 2,000 business activities listed by the DED, it is best to partner with an expert agency to align the application and business activities.

2.APPOINTMENT OF A LOCAL SERVICE AGENT

A local service agent must be appointed for the implementation of judicial formalities. After the appointment, initial approval from the Dubai Department of Economic Development is required. There is no direct involvement of the agent in the company, apart from charging a fixed annual fee for the service offered. Hence, they have no equity and are not responsible for paying for the company’s liabilities.

3.CHOICE OF LEGAL STRUCTURE

Several different legal structures are available to select from for a professional license in Dubai. These include Sole Proprietorships and Limited Liability Company (LLC) forms.

4.RESERVATION OF A TRADE NAME

All entities in the UAE must reserve a name for the business with the Registry Office. There are strict regulations regarding the selection of the business name. It must not include offensive or profane language or references to religion. The individual’s name can be used in the company’s trade name, however, it has to be in full form instead of surname or initials. Three names will need to be submitted in order of preference. The Registry Office will assess availability and compliance before granting a reserved trade name certificate.

5.ISSUANCE OF A MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION

A Memorandum of Association (MOA) with the sponsor is a must. The sponsor’s early fee must be mentioned in the agreement.

6.APPLICATION FOR INITIAL APPROVAL

At this stage, one must apply for initial approval from the DED. Initial approval signifies that the DED has no objections to the business and that it fulfills the requirements of various government departments and agencies.

7.APPLICATION FOR PROFESSIONAL LICENSE

Once the DED grants initial approval, the professional license application can be submitted along with supporting documentation. After a government review of the permit application and the issuance of the certificate, fees are required to be paid, after which services can officially commence.

HOW TO OBTAIN A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE?

This can be obtained by adhering to the systematic application procedure and submitting relevant and accurate documentation. After approval, fee payment is the main criterion for securing the professional license.

The initial permit is valid for one year, after which renewal is required. If approved, the renewal will extend the validity to five years.

WHAT IS THE COST OF A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE IN DUBAI?

In Dubai, this can cost anywhere from approximately AED 10,000 to over AED 15,000 based on the type of permit and legal requirements and may increase with time and permit category. This fee usually covers the original professional license cost, administration service charges, agent fees, trade name fees, market fees (based on tenancy amount), government charges, local fees, and more variables.

CONCLUSION

Acquiring an authorized permit in Dubai is fundamental for anyone offering specialized services. Having a strategic advisor on board is invaluable in this process to ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience through proper guidance and expertise. With a professional license, individuals and organizations can operate legally and confidently, driving success in Dubai’s thriving economic landscape.
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