Business Setup - Selecting Business Activity.

Business Setup in Dubai - In general terms, business activity of a firm means the economic activity performed by it. Selecting the right activity is the most important step in setting up a business in Dubai. There are more than 2000 activities approved by Department of Economic Development, Dubai. Each approved activity has a six digit Activity Code. These activities are divided into Activity Types and Activity Groups.

Type of activities

There are three types of activities - Industrial, Commercial and Professional. The license type of the business is closely linked with the activity type. If the activity type of business is professional license type should also be professional.

Number of activities in a license

More than one activity can be included in a license. Maximum number of activities that can be included in a license in ten (10).

Different types of activities in a license

Different types of activities can be integrated so long as they are similar in type or if a permission is obtained from DED.

License type where different types of activities are included in the same license.

The license type will depend on the largest activity among the activities of your business. Industrial activity is the largest activity type followed by Commercial activity and Professional activity. If your business include both commercial and industrial activities, the license type will be Industrial - the largest activity type.

Activity Group

The approved activities are clubbed under various activity groups. Normally, activities belonging to the particular group can be added in the same license subject to specific conditions.

Relationship between activity and legal form of business

There is a significant connection between activity and legal form of a business. Certain activities are not open to all legal forms. So, finding the exact activity is very important in deciding the legal form of your business.

Prior approval from other departments or authorities for specified activities.

Certain business activities are controlled by other departments or authorities. For starting a business to perform such activities requires prior approval from the controlling department or authority.

Desired activity is not in the list of approved activities.

If the activity is not in the list, you can send an E-mail request to DED ( with the description of the desired activity. DED will get in touch and may add that activity in the list of approved activities.

Find the activity, activity code, activity group, license type and activity description.

Go to DED e-service website ( and enter the key word or activity. The system will populate all related activities. A click on specific activity code in the list will give all details.

Mr. Baiju Masoodu is a Free Zone Business Setup Consultant. Our ‘corporate service firm’ can advise and assist you to set-up a business in Dubai and UAE Free Zones. For a free consultation & cost estimate, call me on: +971 50 214 1476 or mail me at:

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