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Dropshipping In The UAE For Beginners: All You Need To Know

By Alexandra B.

dropshipping in the UAE for beginners

You often ask us whether the Middle East is a business-friendly region, and what you need to start dropshipping in the UAE. In this article, we’ve collected the most useful tips and pieces of advice related to this matter, and answered all your questions!

The United Arab Emirates has grown into one of the most digital-friendly countries in the world. Almost 100% of its population is actively using the Internet. They enjoy surfing social media, writing reviews, and spending at least 8(!) hours a day online.

Besides that, according to statistics, in 2018, the value of eCommerce sales in the UAE was $12.34 billion, whereas in 2019 it increased to 15.99 billion US dollars. What’s more, analysts say that it will amount to 27 billion US dollars in 2022. As you can see, the eCommerce market in the UAE has good potential.

In fact, starting your own business in the UAE looks extremely promising due to several more reasons:

  • There is no income tax, corporate tax, property tax, etc. in the UAE. The only tax entrepreneurs from the UAE should bear in mind is VAT.
  • The market of the UAE is rapidly growing and there are still lots of niches with low competition.

So, if you’ve decided to start an ecommerce business in this country, this is definitely the right choice!

However, if you want to get a smooth start in dropshipping from UAE, you should know how to do this right. That’s why we are going to tell you about the main pros and cons of dropshipping in the UAE that you must consider seriously before starting a business, and provide you with some valuable tips on how to build your own financial empire in this country. So let’s get started!

Pros of dropshipping in the UAE if you’re a local resident


When you live in a country, you know a lot about its culture, economy, traditions, mentality, buying preferences, and limitations, etc. So, you have some advantages over other eCommerce entrepreneurs:

You understand the psychology of your customers better

You know, we are all unique and different. However, there might be some specific characteristics that generally belong to the people of one particular country and have nothing in common with residents of other countries.

These cultural differences may significantly affect the way people perceive the world around them and their usual response to different situations. For example, some marketing tricks that work well with the people from the US may be absolutely useless when you’re targeting an audience in Asia.

So if you live in the UAE, you know what your fellow citizens like, and how they feel about different marketing strategies, tips, tricks, etc.

Another advantage you have over your competitors living outside the UAE is related to the knowledge of your local market and the products that are in high demand there.

You certainly know what products are difficult to find in brick and mortar stores in the UAE. You are well aware of which products are extremely popular among people from the UAE and which are not worth paying attention to them. So you can easily take advantage of it!

If you don’t, just take some time to go shopping and look at the product range of the stores critically.

Starting any type of business is usually a tough thing for most non-residents because they need to examine the laws of the target country and grasp them.

When you’re a resident, you are unlikely to face this issue.

Even if you don’t have a law degree, you know what is forbidden or allowed in your country and what legal documents you should study to get the necessary information.

As a rule, most local documents are in the official language of the country, so you won’t have any problems when reading them.

What you should pay particular attention to when starting dropshipping business in the UAE: FAQ


  • Do you have to register your business to start dropshipping in the UAE?

Yes, sure. To start selling something in the UAE, you need to register your business officially and get a business trade license. These are the simultaneous processes that are a mandatory requirement of the UAE government.

Please note that trade licenses are expensive. It will cost you $4,000 or more. Their cost depends on many factors such as the region of the business establishment, the type of business activities, the number of partnerships, etc.

If you really want to do business in the UAE, we strongly advise you to get a license. Otherwise, you can be fined and obliged to pay from $1,500 to $15,000.

  • Are there any ways to avoid registering your business in the UAE and paying so much money?

Fortunately, yes. If this way of starting a business isn’t appropriate for you, you can try to register your business in the USA. We have a great article where we explain how to do it in detail. Feel free to read it!

However, pay attention to the fact that when you register your business in the UAE, you get several additional benefits. So it’s a great idea to learn more about the tax system of the UAE, what you can gain from it, and then make up your mind.

  • What should you know about tax accounting in the UAE?

In fact, there is nothing special about tax accounting in the UAE for you to know. The only thing you should bear in mind about tax accounting is that since 2018 all the companies in the UAE must maintain accounting records.

By the way, don’t forget about the VAT that is 5% in the UAE. What’s more, if your company’s twelve months turnover is over 100,000 US dollars, you must register with the Federal Tax Authority.

  • How much time does it take you to register your business in the UAE?

Actually, it depends on your preferences. If you want to register your business in Dubai, it can take you several weeks. However, if you don’t want to wait long, there is a way out for you: you can register your business in other regions of the UAE within several days.

What’s more, don’t forget that you don’t only need to register your business and obtain a license. You should also consider setting up a bank account. As a rule, it also takes you 1-2 weeks and requires your personal presence.

  • Which payment gateways are available in the UAE?

If you are going to start dropshipping in the UAE, we recommend that you pay attention to the following payment gateways: Tap (operates in the Middle East only), PayPal, BlueSnap, and PayTabs. They will perfectly suit your dropshipping needs.

By the way, if there are some reasons you are not satisfied with this set of payment gateways available in the UAE, you also have a way out of this situation: consider registering your business in the US. This will provide you with the opportunity to use other payment gateways.

  • Is ePacket delivery available in the UAE?

Another issue you may face when dropshipping in the UAE is that you can’t use the ePacket delivery. This shipping method isn’t available in the UAE.

At first glance, this is a big problem. But in fact, it is not.

AliExpress has recently introduced AliExpress Direct. This is a premium delivery service that is developed specifically for customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Well, this service lets suppliers significantly shorten the delivery time. So when you order a product by means of AliExpress Direct, it can be indicated that the estimated shipping time is about a month. This is what they guarantee. However, in practice, due to the AliExpress Direct, people from the UAE and Saudi Arabia are able to receive their packages even in a week! That’s great, isn’t it?

However, not all the products placed on AliExpress can be delivered via this service – they must meet certain requirements, such as having high quality, for example.

This is a door-to-door delivery, so your customers won’t need to go to the post office. Besides that, if they’re not at home, a courier will make a second delivery attempt at another time.

  • Can you dropship to other countries from the UAE?

Yes, you can!

Please note that as a business owner you don’t need to focus on the target audience from the UAE only. Definitely, the population of the UAE is almost 10 million people. In fact, this is enough for you to find your target audience and succeed.

However, why should you limit yourself? Just imagine that you can significantly expand your target audience if you target the whole world. Fortunately, the dropshipping business model lets you easily do this and provides you with an opportunity to build your own financial empire!

Dropshipping to the UAE from a foreign country

Now you know the reasons to start a dropshipping business while living in the UAE, and the possible limitations you may face. But what if you live in another country and just want to target this market? What should you do in this case?

Actually, nothing special.

As you know, you can start a dropshipping business from any destination in the world. Therefore, when launching a store, you will focus on the laws of your own country with regard to business registration and taxation. Still, remember that if you sell digital products to a customer in the UAE, you must charge the VAT rate!

Probably, you won’t know your target audience as well as the UAE residents, but this is not a big deal. Visit forums, discussion boards, and social media communities related to this country and read as much information about it as possible.

In some time you’ll get an idea of the culture of this country, typical customer behavior, and buyers’ preferences. Besides that, you will learn more about what your target audience likes and what types of products are popular with the country population.

As you can see, targeting the UAE market won’t have any difference. You will do the same things that all dropshippers do when launching their business.

Now you know how to start dropshipping in the UAE right and what aspects you should pay attention to. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

By Alexandra B.
Alexandra is a content creator and a huge fan of blogging. She strongly believes in the power of words and likes writing in the casual and friendly tone.
Samir 5 years ago

Great article Alexandra

I am from KSA which is considered the largest marketplace in the gulf. I would assume the same article applies to any one plan to start dropshipping from KSA. But, correct me if I am wrong, up to my knowledge that dropshipping has no borders nor it has legal requirements. I mean to say, that any individual can start selling from any where in the world with no need to register his online store at the local authorities. The only con i can see is when you start receiving your funds from Paypal or Payoneer directly to your account or visa card in large amount. Then a big question can be raised as from where are you getting this fund? As you know money transfer is being monitored worldwide. Else, I expect things to run normal and smooth.
I hope if you can write some thing about the virtual banks and the update as how to receive funds from payments made via the store.

Akhtar Edroos 5 years ago

Great article! But you missed out one very important point. How does one get payment from customers online if most payment methods don’t work in the region? This is the first thing that needs to be understood. It also limits your option as you cannot use the regular AliDropship plugin. You can only use AliDropship WooCommerce plugin and you will need to get a payment gateway API from the local banks. Please mention this after doing your own research as this is a very crucial point during contemplating to start your own Dropshipping business.

Benaiah Hlebeya 5 years ago

Hello Olga. Thank you for this information about series of drop shipping in other countries.
Is possible to get another research about drop shipping in South Africa and Africa. What are the advantages and disadvantages.

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

We have a research on South Africa – you can read it here:

JM 5 years ago

Hi Alexandra,

I am leaving here in UAE as expatriate and having a dropshipping store and introduce it to my friend and build his dropshipping both of us staying or working here in UAE. Same question with Samir do we need to get a license or registration here? the main issue is about the payment options and selling option from the seller. Are we going to face some problem or issue about dropshipping here eventhough we don’t have office and visible products to sell in the area. all was online, are they gonna check it and sue us? if its needed what are the other options and procedure for this matter.
Please give us some idea and information about this.
Thank you

Abdullah 5 years ago

Yes for KSA and UAE you need a business license also register for VAT. If you run a business without these you can be fined , jailed and deported and your assets will be ceased. They will check your fiance transactions . They are very advanced and illegal business ventures are normally a front for money laundry… there is no second chances

Olalekan Olagunju 5 years ago

Hi Olga,
Thanks for your mails, can you kindly send the step-by-step process of how to start a drop shipping business to my email

Pieter Lutz Smuts 5 years ago

I am living here in UAE as expatriate and would like to open drop shipping store . Same question with Samir do we need to get a license or registration here? the main issue is about the payment options and selling option from the seller. Are we going to face some problem or issue about dropshipping here eventhough we don’t have office and visible products to sell in the area. all was online, are they gonna check it and sue us? if its needed what are the other options and procedure for this matter.
Please give us some idea and information about this.
Thank you

Samuel Wachogi 5 years ago

Hi. As a U.A.E. resident I am also very interested in Dropshipping. Kindly send me more information on how to meet regal requirements. Additionally, explain to me the regal requirements of an affiliate marketer. I will be grateful to receive more information in my email as well. Thank You.

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you very much for your interest! Our team will get in touch with you soon.

Debbie 5 years ago

I have the same concerns and I don’t know where to go to get some information. Please clarify this topic, as we don’t want to be in troubles. Thanks.

Lindsey 5 years ago

I live in the UAE but originally from the UK. If I want to start a drop shipping business, can I register my business in the UK although I am living in the UAE. Please let me know.

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

As the political situation in the UK currently stays uncertain, we strongly recommend you to advise a local lawyer.

mukhtar shaikh 4 years ago

hi Ogla
can u please guide me to start dropshipping business from Dubai

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest! Our dedicated manager will contact you via email soon.

Justin 4 years ago

Hi Olga…I wish to get more details regarding drop shipping to UAE and KSA. Appreciate if your team could guide me. Thanks

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
You are welcome to request a free consultation here:

Balaji 5 years ago

I am an expat living in UAE. Can I register for a company in USA and still do drop shipping here in UAE/Other markets. Is this legally allowed. The funds from the sales in drop shipping can be transferred anywhere in the world from Payoneer? Please advise.

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

Yes, you can register your business in the USA and run it from any other country. Please, read this article to learn more:

halima bah 5 years ago

Hello Olga, thank you for your information .
i’m living in UAE and i’m interesting about dropshiping. how can i contact you for the registration license

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!

Our team member will get in touch with you soon.

Bruna 5 years ago

I’m living in UAE and starting my drop shipping business. Could you please advise which is the best way to receive payments here?

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

Please, look through the list of the available payment gateways here:

You might consider the PayTabs and Tap payment gateways.

Zac 5 years ago

Hi Olga. I would like to know about the same. I am currently not a resident of UAE. And i read ur article about opening up an llc in USA, if i do so, can i still deliver items to UAE without opening trade lic and will stripe allow residents of UAE pay via debit card?

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

It will be much more practical for you to dropship items to the USA: shipping time will be much shorter and more convenient for buyers, plus, they will have much more payment methods available.

roms 5 years ago

Just wanted to ask I’ve got a NOC from my spouse, I’m a British expat. Will I still be required to obtain a licence to dropship to countries like South Korea, USA or the UK. As the individual doesn’t exactly hold the items, they just transfer from the shipping company to the client, we’re like the middle-man. But obviously we dropshippers will have an online store, were the clients/customers come and order their goods and then the shipping company takes care of it. will I still be in need of a licence?

Thank you!

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank your your question!
It’s not obligatory to have your business officially registered when you’re dropshipping. Some of our clients register their ventures as sole proprietorships, but only in some time after the business launch.

Yasmine 5 years ago

Hi , thanks for the informations you shred on this post ,i am from Morocco and i would like to start working dropshiping in UAE , but the problem is that i did not get the possibility to find the company that will accept to make a COD for me ( cash on delivery ) , do you know any firm that can be charged by this mission in UAE ?

Olga L. 5 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

It will be much more convenient for you to run a dropshipping business if you ask your clients to make online payments, and not cash on delivery payments. For example, you can integrate PayTabs payment gateway ( into your store: it works for both Morocco and the UAE.

Alain Reyes 5 years ago

Hi, thanks for this article as it is applicable to me. I’m living in UAE as an expat. Few days ago, i bought a customized store from your website, for my drop shipping business and it is still under building process from your team. My question is, should i apply it for registration in UAE even though my target audience is from outside the country? If yes, could your team configure the store of the tax applicability of (5%) during sale. And, is tax of 5% applicable only to buyers within UAE purchased? Thank you.

dg 4 years ago

hi alain. ask ko lang how’s your dropshipping store so far? been planning to open mine but still hesitant to do so😕 ask ko lang kung naging madali ang pag open and ang process at pag fulfill ng orders.

sharaf 4 years ago

hello i am also living in Dubai and i want to know how u register as i am planing for a freezone company if u want can get in touch with me via whstapp or email

Waleed Alsayed 4 years ago

i have store i need product to be add to my site

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question! Please, refer to this article:

Mohammed faisal Ghayas 4 years ago

Hi olga,

i am based in Saudi . i need to open dropshipping store with required licenses and bank account .

kindly let me know

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest! Our managers will contact you via email soon.

Branding By8 4 years ago

Nice post, Something new I found here. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

Jack 4 years ago

Hello, Thank you for good information.
When building Alidropship store, in UAE, English site is generally applicable? And furthermore, among Africa and middle East Asia countries, which country is English site applicable or suitable for?
Thank you so much.

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!
An English site is suitable for any country where people know and speak this language.

Arshad 4 years ago

Hi Olga, i wanted to clarify one thing, i am an expat living in the UAE. I wish to start a Shopify Dropshipping store. But if i were to only sell to countries outside the UAE (Example : USA & UK) Do i still need to register for a business license here? or are there any other options ?

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!

An alternative option is to register your business in the USA and target it any country at your choice. Please, read this article to learn more:

Barry 4 years ago

Thanks Olga.

-My case is I’m from a foreign country recently live in the UAE want to start a drop shipping business to target audience outside UAE.
– Did I need a license?
-I also want to connect my payment gateway to receive payments in the bank of the UAE is it safe without a license?

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!

As you can see from the experience of Sunit from India who currently lives and runs a dropshipping business in the UAE, it is quite possible to own a dropshipping store there without registering it.

Naji 4 years ago

Hello Olga i have my site ready but not launched yet to ensure im within the rules in uae. Do i need to get a trade license if im doing payments on paypal only?

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
If you are a resident, you need to register your business officially and get the license.

Hamid Malik 4 years ago

I am interested to have Drop shipping store in UAE and KSA.
Also I am planning to start FBA with Amazon UAE and fulfillment by some other online stores as well.
Please let me know what type of Business license exactly I required to run this business in UAE and KSA ?
Early response will be highly appreciated.

Elly Stanley 4 years ago

Hi Alexandra, I’m very interested in starting a drop shipping store in the UAE but have no idea about the legal side and the cost implications to that. Can I get step by step information on this and the costs involved?
Many thanks Elly.

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi Elly, thank you for your interest!
Our dedicated manager will get in touch with you soon – please, check your email 🙂

Amjad Al-masri 4 years ago

Hello Olga, hope all is well
I am living in Oman, I would appreciate it if you could explain more about the rules and regulations that has to be followed regarding opening a drop-shipping business in this country, and some information about what type of payment that might work or not work down here.
Thank you for your time

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
To accept and process online payments in Oman, you can safely use PayPal or 2Checkout.
To learn more about the legal aspects of registering an online business business and paying taxes in Oman, kindly consult your local lawyers for the latest and most accurate law updates.

Zakaria 4 years ago

Hi Olga

I am UAE resident and I have set up my LLC in Delware US, I want to target UAE, do i still need a trade license to operate here

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
No, if you’ve already registered your business in the USA, you don’t need a UAE trade license.

Ozair 4 years ago

Hi olga
If i register a company in usa then what are my payment gateway options and how can i integrate COD on my website

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your question!
The available payment gateways are listed here:

Sam 4 years ago

Hello Olga. Is there a document that clarifies this law? From what I hear is that you need a UAE license to sell in the UAE. However, it does not make sense if as an online company I do not have any physical presence. From what I understand, software companies don’t have a license in every country they sell in, correct?

sharaf 4 years ago

I want to start customs store but I want to know to register this business in UAE laws what license should I take-up if anyone can help me do let me know via email
I am very serious but I want to follow all the rules am thinking of free zone as it is the US market that I am focusing.

Tega agambi 4 years ago

Hello am tega can I run a dropshipping store in Nigeria while am residing in the UAE? Because the issue of licensing is holding me back.? Or can I run. A dropshipping store in any country while residing in the UAE? Please I need clarity thanks

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
Yes, you can target your business at any country you want. Please read this article for more details:

Natasha 4 years ago

Hello …I’m a uae resident and I have just started my online shopify store …would like to know what is the best way to choose suppliers and what method of shipment can be used for uae …also what license is required for a online retail business of dropshiping ….also is cash on delivery an option with drop shipping? Are there any suppliers based in uae ?

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
Please, take a look a these articles explaining how to find and evaluate suppliers and where to look for them:
To see if any suppliers are based in the UAE, please, the guidelines from this article:

ali 4 years ago

Hey natasha if you dont mind can u send me email as i am also based in dubai and looking for license may b we can get some good information or may be through some agent we can get discount also email:

ali 4 years ago


Would like to know i am based in Dubai UAE and i want to start but not in local market i want to sell in USA or Canada so do we need to take license and what about Stripe can we get it with out license ??? kindly let me knw

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
According to the results of our market research, if you’re launching an online business in the UAE, you need to get a license even if you’re selling to customers outside your country. You might need to consult your local lawyer to clarify the details.
And speaking of Stripe, kindly read this article about registering there:

Vancho 4 years ago


i am Dubai resident and want to sell products from my country (Eastern Europe) to Dubai (some established ecom and supermarkets).
please advise legal and other applicable procedures to legally and smoothly start selling the goods.
Do i need certificates, testing, …? (it’s food, sweets, teas, juices, snacks,…).
Much appreciated

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your your interest!
The business model you’re describing is not exactly dropshipping (as dropshipping typically doesn’t deal with food & beverages). These types of products will most certainly require some certification, which is why we can only recommend you contact your local lawyers to see how to launch and register such a business.

Marc 4 years ago

I have a trade license in UAE, please advise what is the best payment provider available on shopify to proceed.
PayTap doesn’t support dropshipping

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!
You might want to consider 2Checkout, PayTabs, or Tap

Omar 4 years ago

Hello Olga,
I’ve been in UAE for 12 years ..
Can you please advise regarding a very important point which is the delivery time from China to UAE? This is a key changing factor. It is not useful to sell products “online” and get them delivered after 20 – 60 days ! Such a long delivery time might kill your e-Store.

What do you think?

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi, thank you for your interest!

A customer is ready to wait 14+ days for the product to be delivered IF:
– this is a product that’s not available for purchase from any other store
– this is a non-urgent product (not an item of a medical/healthcare purpose)
– this is a low-cost product that was purchased impulsively

Therefore, your store can perform well if it offers unusual, non-typical products that cause a strong emotional reaction.

eds 4 years ago

Hi Olga,

We are really interested in starting an dropshipping shop in UAE. We kindly request for the procedures and requirements necessary in order to start our ecommerce shop here in UAE thru aliexpress…
Thank you.

Olga L. 4 years ago

Hi thank you for your interest!
The main aspects of dropshipping in the UAE are covered in this article. If you need more detailed guidelines, kindly request a free consultation here:

Mariam 4 years ago

Hi Olga! I live in UAE and I want to start dropshipping from UAE but my customer’s base will be the USA and Canada. As for something I will start for the first time I think it’s so expensive to get a trade license when I’m not sure if I will succeed in it. do you recommend any other way to start and test first without the license? can I use other marketplaces to sell such as Amazon? sorry for the long comment I’m just confused and need some guidance…. you can send me an email with your tips and advice. much appreciated 🙂

Jacky 4 years ago

Hello Olga,

Thanks for this article, it does encourage me to proceed with this venture. I’ve been thinking about dropshipping business but I don’t know where to start. I am a resident of the UAE and I’ve read a lot of articles related to this but I guess with the differing opinions I got I am now lost. One of the articles I read says e-commerce license is required to start an online business in Dubai however it will only allow you to sell services or goods that you crafted on your own but not this kind of buy & sell of finished products which is only limited for UAE nationals. And then there’s the requirement of at least 51% ownership by UAE nationals if you will opt for a trade license. Please can you elaborate more on this, your guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

webengrave 3 years ago

nice post. keep sharing more.

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