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Dubai: If you wish to start a one-person business operation in Sharjah, do you still need to apply for a business licence and labour establishment card? A Gulf News reader wrote in, enquiring about the legal requirements to set up a business.

He asked: “I want to open a business in Sharjah, which is an event organising shop for parties and weddings. I will be the owner of the shop as the investor, and I will be organising and managing the business myself as the investor or owner. My question is: Is it compulsory to open a Labour Establishment Card for the shop, as I don’t need employees?”

Gulf News raised the query with Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), which provided the steps that one needs to follow to apply for a business licence.

Where do I go?

You can start the application process with SEDD at any of the following centres:

• The SEDD head office in the Al Layyeh district in Sharjah. Location

• Any of the SEDD customer happiness centres

• Tasheel service centres

Step 1: Determine establishment activity

Activity identification is the first step in the process of issuing a license. There are more than 3,000 economic activities that a mainland company can choose from in Sharjah. The activities are divided into different groups which are industrial, professional and tourist activities.

The type of licence is related to activity type. So, if the type of activity is professional, then the licence type would be the same. Also, if one licence has more than one type of activity, the licence would be determined according to the dominant activity. So, if you want to set up a trading business, but would also like to promote it through online platforms, your licence would be issued for a general trading establishment, with e-commerce activities as an additional activity permitted on the licence.

Step 2: Issue trade name

You would then need to apply for a trade name issuance. To do so, the following documents are required:

1. Filled in trade licence form

2. Copy of valid passport, Emirates ID.

3. Certified No Objection Certificate from your sponsor (if applicable).

4. If you are under 21, you would need to provide a permission to carry out business from a court authority.

5. Approvals from official authroities, if necessary and according to the nature of business (for example, food establishments would require municipality approval).


Trade name issuance: Dh250

Translated trade name certificate: Dh1,250

Foreign Trade name issuance: Dh2,250

Booking trade name: Dh1,000

Step 3: Finalise the shop location and finalise title deed

Once you have finalised the shop premises, you would then need to get the lease contract in place and receive the title deed before proceeding with the rest of the business licence application process.

Step 4: Apply for the necessary approvals from other authorities

If you are applying for a business which falls under an economic activity that is regulated by other government bodies, you would need to apply for an approval from the relevant departments. For example, if you wish to open up an educational institute, it is important to contact Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA).

Step 5: Get the business licence issued

Finally, you would need to apply for the issuance of the business licence.

To do so, you would need to submit the following documents:

• Trade licence application form

• Trade name certificate

• Copy of passport and Emirates ID

• Certified NOC for an expatriate applicant.

• Technical Evaluation Report (Commercial Control Section).

• Certified copy of lease contract and title deed.

• Official entities approvals according to commercial activity.

• Service agent contract/Civil Company certified by Commercial Affairs (Legal status: Service agent/civil company).

• Memorandum of Association (This is a notarised partnership agreement between the local service agent and the investor, and needs to be submitted if the company is an LLC/General Partnership/Public or Private Joint Stock Company).


The licence issuance fees can vary depending on the type of licence as well as the lease value of your commercial establishment property.

• Licence issuance: 13 per cent of the lease value for expatriate applicants

• Record issuance: Dh500 to Dh7,000 (depending on the legal status of the company)

• Printing: Dh300

• Signboard: Dh200

• Smart services: Dh100

• Representative ID: Dh300

• Technical evaluation: Dh150

• Extra fees associated to other departments will be charged.