Dubai is one of the modern-day global business hubs, where foreign investors and businesses are welcomed with open arms. This city-state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has much to offer regarding business opportunities. However, as with any other country, there are certain regulations that businesses need to follow to operate in Dubai. So why do you need an Import Code Dubai?
One of the requirements for businesses in Dubai is to have an Import Code Dubai, also known as a Dubai customs code. This article will explain what an Import Code Dubai is, why you need one, and the steps you must follow to get your Import Code Dubai.
An import code in Dubai is a code that is required for businesses that want to import goods into Dubai. Dubai Customs approves the code upon receiving and evaluating applications from interested businesses. This Dubai customs code allows businesses to clear their imported goods through customs legally with ease.
Investors and businesses worldwide consider the UAE as one of the global business hubs due to transparent and easy taxation policies, excellent infrastructure and the great strategic location of the country. In addition, the government of the UAE regularly undertakes measures to support business operations through the UAE’s free zones.
However, while you take advantage of the country’s business-friendly policies you must also ensure you are adhering to all the regulatory requirements. A valid import code Dubai is one of them.
A valid trade licence is the most basic prerequisite for applying for and getting an import code Dubai. You will need one of the following trade licences to be eligible for a customs code application:
- Professional licence
- Commercial licence
- Industrial licence
In special circumstances, you may apply for an import code Dubai using a governmental notification.
If you don’t have a trade licence yet, apply for one before applying for an import code. Then, you can have your trade licence shortly by providing relevant documents and fees to the Dubai Economy & Tourism Department (DED) website.
Dubai Customs strictly complies with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Tariff Codes and policies. The customs authority in Dubai and the UAE want to ensure that businesses always comply with the import regulations and avoid importing any prohibited products.
A Dubai customs code is like an import licence specific to your business. The authority uses the import Code Dubai to track your business’s imports, monitor your compliance with customs regulations, and ensure that you pay the right amount of import duties.
A valid import code Dubai benefits both businesses and the customs authority. Let’s quickly look at the key benefits:
- Legal requirement fulfilment
The government of UAE is always welcoming toward businesses and foreign investors. That said, they are strict in enforcing the laws. Having your import code Dubai is a legal requirement. So you should always comply with it as a good business practice.
- Reduced risk of customs penalties
To avoid costly customs penalties, you need to have a valid import code Dubai. This code is your proof that you’re importing goods into Dubai legally.
- Efficient customs clearance
Customs clearance can be a time-consuming and complicated process. But if you have a valid import code Dubai, the customs authority will clear your goods for import quickly and efficiently. Otherwise, you may have to go through the customs approval process for each of your imports separately and spend extra time and resources.
- Improved supply chain management
A Dubai customs code can help you better manage your supply chain. This is because the code allows you to track your imported goods through customs.
- Access to Dubai’s Free Zones
Free zones are special economic zones in Dubai that offer businesses several benefits, such as 100% foreign ownership, 0% corporate and personal taxes, and no restrictions on profit transfer outside the UAE. You’ll need an import code Dubai to set up your business in a free zone and avail the advantages.
Now that you can see the benefits of having a valid Dubai customs code, let’s find out how to obtain one once you open a new import export business in Dubai.
You can apply for an import code Dubai to Dubai customs using the eService or electronic service portal and obtain it within one business day if all documents are valid. Here’s a step-by-step process to obtain your Dubai customs code. Note that the process is also similar for Dubai customs code renewal, which we will discuss.
Before you apply for your customs code, ensure you gather all the required documents because providing all the necessary documents in one go will help you avoid any procedural delays.
To apply for a new import code Dubai for your business that has not been registered on the Dubai customs portal already, you will need to submit the following documents:
- Valid copy of your trade licence or a commercial licence, which you can obtain from the Dubai Economy & Tourism Department (DED)
- Copy of your valid passport. If your business has multiple partners, you will also need to provide their passports.
- Emirates Post Licence (if you want the authority to send you documents by courier service)
When applying for a Dubai customs code renewal, you won’t have to submit passport copies. You will, however, need valid copies of your trade licence and the Emirates Post Licence.
Here are the Dubai customs code application fees you will need to pay when applying:
- New application: Total AED 120
- Application fee: AED 100
- Knowledge and innovation fees: AED 20
- Dubai customs code renewal: AED 25
You can access the online service portal of Dubai Customs from the Dubai Trade website. Navigate to the Service section of the website and click on New Business Registration from the Dubai Customs tab.
Here, you will find all the basic requirements and cost information to apply for your import Code Dubai.
Once you get your unique custom code, it remains valid for 60 days. So, you must renew it within the validity period to keep it operational.
To register your business with the Dubai Customs portal, provide the following information:
- Business details
- Business name in English and Arabic (optional)
- Indicate registration category – As your business is probably based in Dubai, select “Dubai-based company” from the drop-down menu
- No. of employee (select a range)
- Licence details
- Licence number and type
- Indicate issuing authority
- Issue date and validity period
- Business contact details
- Phone and fax numbers (mandatory fields)
- Business website and No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the individual to apply for customs code on the company’s behalf
Upon providing all the required information, you can save your application as a draft to continue later or proceed to the next step. The system will then ask you to upload the relevant documents. Once you finish uploading, click “Next” to go to the payment page and submit your application.
After you submit your application, you will likely receive approval within one business day if all documents are valid. Later, you can use the same portal for renewal or amendment applications.
You can also submit any queries regarding your application or the application process. The system will generate a Request ID for each of your queries, which you can use to track the request status at any time.
The International Trade Administration of Dubai prohibits certain items from being imported to Dubai or exported from the country. Your import code Dubai will not cover these items. In addition to a valid Dubai customs code, you will need approval from specific regulatory bodies before you trade any of these items. Here are a few examples:
- Agro products such as plants, live animals, and fertilisers: Requires additional permission from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
- Pharmaceutical or medical products: Requires approval from the Ministry of Health & Prevention
- Telecommunication and wireless communication equipment: Requires approval from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
- Alcoholic beverages: Requires permission from Dubai Police
- Processed food and personal hygiene products: Requires prior approval from Dubai Municipality. You may also need to submit a product sample and pay for a lab test to obtain approval for the food and personal hygiene items.
An import code Dubai is a regulatory requirement for your trading or commercial business operation to legally import any raw materials or finished goods in Dubai or UAE. Fortunately, the process of getting a Dubai customs code or completing the Dubai customs renewal is not difficult and time-consuming when you have all the documents ready for your export import business in Dubai.
Due to investor-friendly economic policies and strong infrastructure support, UAE can be an excellent location for your trading business. Confused where to start? Reach out to Virtuzone today for all the professional help you need to start your business in Dubai today.