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Quick Guide to E-commerce Licensing in Dubai

When setting up an e-commerce business in Dubai, opting for a free zone license, such as an e-commerce license in Dubai, offers several advantages, particularly in terms of cost-effectiveness and business-friendly environments. In exploring the available options, it’s beneficial to focus on free zones like the Sharjah Free Zone and Dubai Free Zone. These zones stand out for their unique benefits and provide compelling reasons for choosing them over mainland jurisdictions when obtaining your e-commerce license in Dubai

Sharjah Free Zone License: A Cost-Effective Choice

  • Cost: Starting at just AED 5,750, the Sharjah Free Zone license is an attractive option for budget-conscious entrepreneurs.
  • Benefits: Despite its lower cost, this license still offers the core advantages of a free zone setup, such as 100% foreign ownership, full repatriation of capital and profits, and no corporate or income taxes.
  • Ideal for Startups: Its affordability makes it especially suitable for startups and small businesses looking to establish a foothold in the UAE market.

Dubai Free Zone License: The Recommended Choice

  • Starting Cost: The Dubai Free Zone license begins at AED 12,500, a premium over Sharjah but with added benefits.
  • Global Business Hub: Dubai is recognized globally as a business hub. Setting up in a Dubai Free Zone places your e-commerce business in a strategic location.
  • Advanced Infrastructure: Dubai Free Zones boast state-of-the-art infrastructure, advanced logistics, and connectivity, which are crucial for e-commerce operations.
  • Networking Opportunities: Being in a Dubai Free Zone offers unparalleled networking opportunities with other global businesses and access to a broader market.
  • Enhanced Credibility: A Dubai Free Zone license can enhance your business’s credibility, attracting more clients and investors.

Why Choose Free Zone Over Mainland for E-commerce Licensing?

Opting for a free zone over a mainland jurisdiction in Dubai for your e-commerce business comes with several distinct advantages, especially in terms of flexibility and business operation. Here are some key reasons:

  • 100% Foreign Ownership: Free zones allow entrepreneurs from abroad to have full ownership of their businesses, which is a significant advantage over mainland setups where local sponsorship may be required.
  • Tax Benefits: Operating in a free zone typically means enjoying exemptions from corporate tax, import and export duties, and other tax benefits.
  • Ease of Setup: Establishing a business in a free zone is generally quicker and involves fewer bureaucratic hurdles compared to mainland setups.
  • Customs Benefits: Businesses in free zones benefit from duty-free import of goods, a crucial advantage for e-commerce enterprises handling physical products.
  • Cross and Multiple Business Activities: Free zones offer the flexibility to engage in multiple and cross-business activities under one license. This is particularly advantageous for e-commerce businesses that often diversify their operations or deal in a variety of products and services. Having the ability to encompass various business activities under a single license simplifies operations and reduces administrative overheads.


When considering an e-commerce license in Dubai, the choice between Sharjah and Dubai Free Zones will depend on specific business needs and budget constraints. Both offer unique advantages, with Sharjah being more cost-effective and Dubai providing a prestigious location with advanced infrastructure. Regardless of the choice, operating in a free zone offers considerable benefits over mainland jurisdictions, including the flexibility of engaging in multiple business activities under one license. For those navigating these options, consulting with a business setup consultant can provide valuable insights and assistance in making the best decision for your e-commerce venture.