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24 February 2024

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism launches ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ initiative in collaboration with the Dubai Free Zones Council

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By E247

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has announced the launch of the ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ (DUL), a unique commercial identification provided to all businesses in Dubai with the aim of achieving a streamlined approach to various business processes. 

Issued to existing and newly established businesses in Dubai, operating with either a mainland or a free zone licence, the DUL initiative introduces a unified digital registry. Launched in collaboration with the Dubai Free Zones Council, the registry consolidates all economic establishments in Dubai and its Free Zones into a single platform for data management, collation and sharing, serving as a reliable single digital information source. 

The initiative aims to standardise and streamline Dubai’s business processes in accordance with global best practices, ensuring that the latest company records, including licence details and data, are consistently maintained within the registry.

Streamlined Approach
By simplifying the setup and operational procedures for businesses in Dubai, the 'Dubai Unified Licence' enhances efficiency and reduces the time required for companies to establish and manage their operations. This streamlined process contributes to bolstering Dubai’s competitiveness as a business-friendly destination. Such efficiency is also particularly attractive to international investors and entrepreneurs seeking a hassle-free business environment, further solidifying Dubai's appeal as a preferred global business hub.

Additionally, the unified digital platform ensures greater transparency and ease of access to business-related information, further enhancing Dubai's appeal as a dynamic and trustworthy investment destination. Consequently, these features collectively strengthen Dubai's position on the global economic stage, aligning perfectly with its aspiration to be recognised as one of the top three cities worldwide for business and investment.

As part of the initiative, establishments will undergo thorough validation, verification and screening by the appropriate authorities in order to receive their unique digital identity. To date, DET has issued over 50,000 licences, with plans to issue more in the coming period, covering all registered companies in Dubai mainland and in Free Zones. 

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “Aligned with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city's forward-thinking mindset has spurred strategic initiatives, plans and policies fostering sustainable economic growth and consolidating Dubai's standing as a global city of innovation and excellence. The ‘Dubai Unified Licence’, a key initiative within the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, exemplifies our dedication to facilitating ease of doing business, promoting transparency, and embracing digital-first practices. Seamlessly integrating with Dubai’s advanced digital technology infrastructure, it harnesses our smart city capabilities to drive business growth and strengthen Dubai’s position among the world’s top three global cities.

DET has collaborated closely with the Dubai Free Zones Council to ensure the seamless implementation of the DUL initiative. This partnership was crucial in integrating the diverse aspects of this initiative, ensuring a comprehensive approach to business facilitation in Dubai.

His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Secretary General of the Dubai Free Zones Council, said: “Dubai’s commitment to ease of doing business stands as a cornerstone of the vision set forth by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aiming to construct a future-proof, agile, and sustainable economy capable of adapting to shifts and transforming them into opportunities. The successful completion of the ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ initiative is a testament to the teamwork and constructive cooperation among the Dubai Free Zones Council, the Free Zones Authorities in Dubai and the DET team. It has established a model for synergising efforts across various specialties, resulting in the achievement of a unified licence system in record time.”

The DUL facilitates easy access to company information for government entities, service providers and the public. Businesses are allocated a licence number specific to the mainland or free zone authority of their incorporation, promoting efficiency, transparency, and accountability. With a digital repository and consent capability, the DUL enables instant data sharing between government entities, the private sector and service providers. Moreover, the DUL reinforces the compliance framework outlined in the national AML/CFT strategy, ensuring the integrity of the UAE economy and the global financial system.

Key Features
The ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ presents a range of key features and benefits for users. It provides access to verified DUL data housed in a digital repository, streamlining business verification processes in various interactions. The issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) and permits for economic activities is simplified through a unified and streamlined process. Furthermore, the DUL offers unified and verified information about existing businesses, proving advantageous for prospective owners seeking details about operating businesses in the emirate. Looking ahead, the DUL aims to facilitate banks in opening accounts for Dubai-based companies with enhanced ease and efficiency.

Ahmad Khalifa AlQaizi AlFalasi, CEO of Dubai Business Licence Corporation (DBLC), said: “The launch of the ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ is another significant milestone in digitalising government services in the emirate. This initiative provides a unified identification for all economic establishments, creating a centralised database while adhering to privacy policies. Implementing the DUL simplifies and streamlines consent-driven data interchange and transactions between companies, service providers and government establishments. It will enhance the customer experience and expedite commercial transactions for businesses dealing with both public and private entities.”

Businesses can use their unique DUL QR Code on their premises, websites and social media accounts instead of presenting the traditional trade licence certificates. This QR Code enables government entities, service providers, suppliers and customers to scan and retrieve information about the company. During the current phase, existing businesses and commercial establishments in Dubai, including those in free zones, will receive their unique ‘Dubai Unified Licence’ Number and associated QR codes upon completion of the data update process.

DET’s Dubai Business Licence Corporation, will oversee the operation, management, development and supervision of the DUL system. Dubai Free Zones Council will coordinate with each free zone to regularly communicate with their respective licence holders to collect updated licence data and contact information.