How to Get a Trade License in Sharjah? Cost and Benefits

How to get a Trade License in Sharjah? Cost and Benefits


Starting a business in the UAE is a promising venture for entrepreneurs worldwide. Sharjah, with its strategic location and robust infrastructure, is a prime choice for setting up a  trading company. A  Trading License in Sharjah offers numerous benefits, including the ability to trade a wide variety of goods and services. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining a Trading License in Sharjah, highlighting the latest updates for 2024. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a first-time business owner, this article will provide you with the essential information you need.

What is a Trade License?

A trade license is a legal document issued by the relevant government authority that grants permission to a business to engage in commercial activities within a specific jurisdiction. It serves as proof that the business has met all regulatory requirements and is authorized to operate. Trade licenses are essential for maintaining a transparent and regulated business environment, ensuring that all businesses adhere to local laws and standards.

History of  Trading Licenses in Sharjah

The history of trading licenses in Sharjah reflects its evolution from a strategic trading hub in the pre-Islamic era to a modern commercial center. Sharjah’s early trade, boosted by its strategic location and the pearling industry, saw significant influence from British treaties in the 19th century. The discovery of oil and the formation of the UAE in 1971 brought economic changes, leading to the development of free zones like the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) and Hamriyah Free Zone in the 1990s. These zones offered incentives such as 100% foreign ownership and tax exemptions. The introduction of the Trading License facilitated broad trading activities, supporting Sharjah’s economic diversification into sectors like tourism, education, and renewable energy. Today, Sharjah’s digitized business processes and e-government platforms continue to attract international investment and trade.

Early Trade and Commerce

Sharjah has a rich history of trade and commerce dating back to ancient times, leveraging its location along the Arabian Gulf. Traditional trading activities involved the exchange of goods such as pearls, dates, and spices. These early trading practices laid the foundation for Sharjah’s development into a bustling commercial hub.

The Rise of Modern Trading

With the discovery of oil in the UAE during the mid-20th century, the region experienced unprecedented economic growth. Sharjah capitalized on this boom by investing in infrastructure and creating free zones to attract foreign investment. The establishment of the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) in 1995 marked a significant milestone, offering businesses numerous incentives and facilitating international trade.

Evolution of Trade Licensing

Initially, trade licenses in Sharjah were more specific, limiting businesses to particular categories of goods. However, as the emirate’s economy diversified and the demand for more flexible business operations grew, the concept of the  Trading License was introduced. This license allowed businesses to trade in a wide range of goods under one umbrella, simplifying the setup process and fostering economic growth.

Regulatory Advancements

Over the years, Sharjah’s regulatory framework has continued to evolve, aiming to streamline business operations and reduce bureaucratic hurdles. The introduction of online portals for license applications, coupled with the digitization of many governmental services, has significantly expedited the process of obtaining a  Trading License.

Recent Developments

In recent years, Sharjah has continued to enhance its appeal as a trading hub through initiatives aimed at improving the ease of doing business. The emirate’s free zones, such as the SAIF Zone and Sharjah Media City Free Zone (SHAMS), have introduced competitive packages and incentives to attract global investors. The focus on sustainability, innovation, and digital transformation has positioned Sharjah as a forward-thinking emirate poised for continued economic growth.

How to Choose the Right Free Zone for Your Business?

Sharjah offers several free zones, each catering to different industries and business needs. Some popular free zones include:

Read More: Business License in Saif Free Zone

Steps in Getting a Trade License in Sharjah

Obtaining a trade license in Sharjah involves several steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Determine Business Activity: Identify the type of business activity you intend to conduct. This will determine the specific type of trade license you need.
  2. Choose Business Structure: Decide on the legal structure of your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).
  3. Select a Trade Name: Choose a unique trade name for your business. Ensure it complies with the naming conventions set by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) and is not already in use.
  4. Secure an Office Space: Obtain a physical office space or a virtual office in Sharjah. The office location must be approved by the relevant authorities.
  5. Submit Application: Complete the trade license application form and submit it to the SEDD along with the required documents, including passport copies of shareholders and managers, a business plan, and proof of office space.
  6. Obtain Approvals: Depending on the nature of your business, you may need additional approvals from various government departments and regulatory bodies.
  7. Pay Fees: Pay the necessary licensing fees to the SEDD. The cost will vary based on the type of license and the business activity.
  8. Receive License: Once all approvals are obtained and fees are paid, you will receive your trade license, which will allow you to operate your business legally in Sharjah.

Types of Trade Licenses in Sharjah

Sharjah offers various types of trade licenses to cater to different business activities. The main types include:

  1. Commercial License: For businesses engaged in trading activities, such as import, export, and re-export of goods.
  2. Industrial License: For companies involved in manufacturing, production, and industrial activities.
  3. Professional License: For individuals and companies providing professional services, such as consultancy, legal, and medical services.
  4. Tourism License: This is for businesses operating in the tourism sector, including travel agencies, tour operators, and hospitality services.

Cost of Getting a Trade License in Sharjah

The cost of obtaining a trade license in Sharjah varies based on several factors, including the type of license, the business activity, and the chosen office space. As of 2024, the average cost of a trade license in Sharjah ranges between AED 10,000 and AED 30,000. This estimate includes application fees, office space rental, and any additional government approvals. It’s important to budget for other expenses, such as visa fees, employee sponsorship, and administrative costs.

What Documents Are Required for the Application?

To apply for a Trading License in Sharjah, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Completed Application Form: Fill out the application form provided by the relevant free zone authority or the Department of Economic Development (DED).
  • Passport Copies: Provide copies of the passports of all shareholders and directors.
  • Passport-Sized Photos: Recent photos of all shareholders and directors.
  • Business Plan: A detailed business plan outlining your com

Opening a Business Bank Account in Dubai

For smooth financial operations, opening a business bank account is essential. Dubai offers numerous banking options with tailored services for businesses. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to open a business bank account in Dubai:

1. Choose a Bank

Research and select a bank that aligns with your business needs. Popular banks include:

  • Emirates NBD
  • Mashreq Bank
  • Dubai Islamic Bank
  • HSBC
  • Standard Chartered
  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

Consider factors such as:

  • Service fees and charges
  • Online banking facilities
  • International banking capabilities
  • Customer service
  • Specific services for startups or SMEs

2. Submit Required Documents

Prepare and submit the following documents:

  • Trade License: A copy of your valid trade license.
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA): Document outlining the company’s structure and operational guidelines.
  • Passport Copies: Copies of the passports of shareholders and authorized signatories.
  • Proof of Address: Utility bills or tenancy contracts for the business premises.
  • Initial Deposit: Some banks require an initial deposit; check the specific requirements of your chosen bank.
  • Company Profile: A brief overview of your business, including the nature of activities, key clients, and suppliers.
  • Board Resolution: A document stating the decision of the company’s board to open a bank account and appoint authorized signatories.
  • Visa Copies: Copies of residence visas for the company shareholders and signatories.

3. Complete KYC Process

Complete the bank’s Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which includes a detailed background check to verify the legitimacy of your business. This may involve:

  • Personal Visit: The bank may require you to visit in person for an interview.
  • Business Plan: Providing a detailed business plan outlining your business activities and financial projections.
  • Financial Statements: Submission of recent financial statements or audit reports, especially if you have an existing business.

4. Account Activation

Upon successful verification, your business bank account will be activated, allowing you to conduct financial transactions seamlessly.

5. Additional Services

Once your account is active, explore additional services that may benefit your business:

  • Corporate Credit Cards: For business expenses.
  • Payroll Services: To streamline employee salary payments.
  • Foreign Exchange Services: For international transactions.
  • Trade Finance Services: For businesses involved in import/export.

6. Maintain Compliance

Ensure ongoing compliance with the bank’s requirements, including:

  • Regular submission of updated business documents.
  • Maintaining the minimum account balance.
  • Adhering to anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Tips for a Smooth Process

  • Professional Assistance: Consider hiring a business setup consultant or PRO service to navigate the complexities of the process.
  • Bank Relationships: Establish and maintain good relationships with your bank manager and representatives.
  • Stay Updated: Keep abreast of any changes in banking regulations or requirements.

By following these steps, you can successfully open a business bank account in Dubai, providing a solid foundation for your business’s financial operations.

What Are the Benefits of a  Trading License in Sharjah?

A  Trading License in Sharjah offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Wide Range of Activities: Trade in various goods without the need for multiple licenses.
  • 100% Foreign Ownership: Full control over your business.
  • Tax Exemptions: Enjoy exemptions from corporate and personal income taxes.
  • Repatriation of Profits: Full repatriation of profits and capital.
  • Access to Modern Infrastructure: Utilize world-class logistics, ports, and transportation facilities.

Can Foreign Investors Own 100% of Their Business in Sharjah?

Yes, one of the significant advantages of setting up a business in Sharjah’s free zones is the ability for foreign investors to own 100% of their company. This eliminates the need for a local sponsor or partner, providing full control over business operations and profits.

Common Challenges and Solutions

While setting up a  trading company in Sharjah offers numerous benefits, it also comes with challenges. Here are some common challenges and their solutions:

Challenge: Navigating Bureaucratic Processes

Solution: Partner with a business setup consultant like GCS Group to streamline the application and approval processes, ensuring compliance with all regulations.

Challenge: High Setup Costs

Solution: Opt for free zone jurisdictions to benefit from cost-effective setups and incentives.

Challenge: Cultural and Market Differences

Solution: Conduct thorough market research and engage with local business networks to understand the cultural and market dynamics.

Why Choose GCS Group for Your Trading License in Sharjah

Obtaining a  Trading License in Sharjah is a strategic move for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the UAE’s thriving business environment. With its strategic location, robust infrastructure, and business-friendly policies, Sharjah offers a plethora of opportunities for growth and success. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the licensing process with ease and set up a successful trading company in Sharjah.

At GCS Group, we are a business setup company in Dubai, offering a  Trading License in Sharjah. Our team of experts is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring a seamless and efficient business setup process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals in the UAE.

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