A professional licence is one of the three types of trade licences available to entrepreneurs and businesses that are looking to set up a mainland company in Dubai.
It is a requirement for anyone who wants to provide professional services in the UAE, since it establishes that the person or business is qualified and legally authorised to provide services in a given profession. All professionals, specialists, craftsmen and artisans must first secure a professional trade licence if they want to legally offer their services to clients.
In addition, a professional licence allows foreign entrepreneurs and international companies to have 100% ownership of their company, even though they are operating outside a free zone. Based on their activities, they can choose between these two legal structures: Sole Establishment and Civil Company.
A sole establishment, which is also known as sole proprietorship, refers to a company owned and operated by a single owner. This individual shareholder will have full control of the sole establishment’s operations and profits, but will also be 100% liable for its debts and financial obligations. A civil company is similar to a sole establishment, but with more than one shareholder.
While a professional licence allows for 100% foreign ownership and 100% capital repatriation, the business must appoint a local service agent, who completes the legal formalities, but does not hold any liability or authority over the business.
Professional business activities in Dubai and the UAE
Holders of a professional licence are allowed to do business or offer their services in specific industries, such as:
- Accounting, auditing and finance
- Advertising and entertainment
- Cosmetics (e.g. hairdressing and beauty salon)
- Consultancy (e.g. architectural, business and management consultancy)
- Carpentry and artisan activities
- Healthcare and medicine
- Information technology
- Internet and web design
- Law and legal advice
- Printing and publishing
- Repair services
- Restaurant services
- Technical services
Documents required to get a professional licence in Dubai
You will need to submit your licence application, a brief outline of your business activities and the following documents to the Department of Economic Development (DED):
- Completed application form.
- Passport copies of foreign business owners or partners.
- Copy of local partner’s naturalisation book.
- Academic certificates showing you have the required skills and knowledge to practice a profession in Dubai.
- No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the sponsor of expatriate business partners if they are under employment visas. If the business partners are on visit visas, then copies of their visit visas are needed.
- Initial approval from the relevant approving authorities other than DED, depending on the type of business activity (e.g. Dubai Municipality, RTA or Telecomm
unications Regulatory Authority).
5 steps to getting a professional licence in Dubai
- Prepare the local service agreement form with the UAE national and have it notarised. A legal translator seal is not required if the agreement is in Arabic. In addition, make sure to indicate the sponsor’s fixed annual fees in the agreement.
- Draft and sign a Memorandum of Association (MoA) with the local sponsor. The MoA should detail everything you and your sponsor have agreed upon.
- Get approval from the Dubai Municipality for the tenancy contract. Prepare and submit the following: BR1 form, name reservation certificate, initial approval from DED, Ejari registration, rental agreement copy, and passport copies of the business owners and/or partners.
- Submit the attested forms and MoA, as well as the passport copies and NOCs of expatriate owners/partners, to DED.
- Make the payment. Once the final payment voucher is issued (for one year), you get the licence.
Get expert guidance from Virtuzone
Working with an expert is the best way to ensure that you do not overlook anything important during the company setup process, thereby saving you time and money. As the most trusted corporate service provider in the UAE, Virtuzone can expertly guide you in securing a professional licence through a seamless and cost-effective process.
With a range of business setup and support services, we can help you get your business off the ground and ensure you are fully compliant with all requirements. From managing all the documents required to registering your professional trade licence, Virtuzone provides a complete business setup solution designed to help you succeed.
If you want to apply for a professional licence in Dubai, please fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you.