How to register a trade name in the UAE

How to register a trade name in the UAE

- James Elliot-Square

Setting up a company in a foreign market can often be intimidating and contain much uncertainty. Cultural differences, language barriers and an unfamiliar legal system all contribute to the sense of confusion. It is important and companies get it right from the start when setting up their business in the UAE to ensure that they have the right trade name, activities, jurisdiction and legal structure.

One element of business setup in the UAE which may seem straightforward is the registration of a trade name, and while the process of registration itself is relatively easy, there are certain issues and naming requirements that are important to be aware of to ensure you get it right.

This article is a guide for prospective investors in the UAE on how to register a trade name and begin operating a business in the country.

What is the purpose of trade name registration in the UAE?

Registering a trade name is a mandatory requirement to operate legally as a business entity. It is a means of distinguishing companies from each other and giving an indication of the nature of the business that is being carried out.

The name must be registered with the local department of economic development, be unique and reflect the company’s activity type and legal status.

What is the process for trade name registration in the UAE?

To register your trade name, you can either visit one of the service centres of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the emirate in which you are registering or apply online via the department’s website, or alternatively utilise the team at PRO Partner Group to initiate and reserve the correct trade name for you on your behalf:

The online application requires the following steps:

  1. Access the economic development department’s website
  2. Select the option ‘book new trade name’
  3. Choose the primary business activity and any additional ones that are required
  4. Enter your chosen trade name to check its availability
  5. Once you have found one that is available, review the information and select ‘reserve trade name’
  6. A trade name certificate will then be issued

Guidelines when selecting a trade name in the UAE

  1. Your trade name must be unique
  2. The primary activity on the company’s trade licence will be added to the trade name but the trade name cannot be exactly the same
  3. The trade name may include a trademark, a region, specific words such as Gulf, an Arabized name and abbreviations and foreign words. However, these will be considered as premium trade names and will be priced accordingly
  4. Trade names beginning with words such as ‘Middle East’, ‘International’ or ‘Universal’ or their Arabic translations are not permitted
  5. The trade name can include the company owner’s first and last name but not the last name alone
  6. The trade name cannot include words that represent Allah’s name or any synonyms, countries, regions, areas or sects
  7. Icons or special characters are not permitted

What is the cost of trade name registration?

The cost of trade name registration is dependent on the emirate in which you incorporate your business and the trade name that you choose.

In Dubai, for reference, trade name registration is handled by the Dubai Economic Department (DED) and the fee is between AED 620 and AED 2000 depending on the use of foreign names, abbreviations, numerical words or regional references.

How long does it take to register the trade name?

The registration process and reservation of trade name can all be completed within 24 hours. Following the approval of the trade name you move on to initial approval of the licence and can start the company formation process.

How can PRO Partner Group help?

At Pro Partner Group we have built enduring relationships with key government bodies, and we have direct access to government departments, regulatory authorities and free zone authorities with our on-the-ground experts in each department.

We can guide you through all aspects of company formation including trade name registration. If you need guidance on this or for any other related company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Get in touch with James Elliot-Square

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