How to get a Shisha License in Dubai, UAE

Start your Shisha Bar in Dubai, UAE - Smart Zones UAE

For years, shisha smoking has been a prevalent tradition in this region. Nevertheless, as regulations on the tobacco industry become more stringent each year, there's a remarkable surge in the demand for alternatives.

Projections suggest that the worldwide market for waterpipe smoking could reach a value of USD 25 billion by 2028, with the Middle East contributing over 80% of that figure.

In the UAE, where a vibrant café culture thrives and COVID-19 restrictions are gradually easing, shisha smoking is poised to become more popular than ever. With the guidance of a local specialist, participation in this cultural pastime is easily accessible.

Shisha lounge license in Dubai, UAE

If you're interested in investing in a Shisha Café business in the UAE or seeking a Shisha cafe license, it's essential to understand that the government and Dubai municipality have established a set of rules and regulations that all applicants must comply with to obtain a Shisha cafe license in Dubai. Whether you're planning to open a Shisha Café or offer Shisha services in your restaurant, strict adherence to the specific process is crucial to prevent the rejection of your application. These regulations are governed by Federal Law No. (15) of 2009 on Tobacco Control.

Benefits of Starting a Shisha Cafe in UAE

Establishing Shisha business in Dubai allows you to sell tobacco products legally and will help you to promote your business and attract customers. Other advantages includes:

  • High demand: Shisha is a popular cultural pastime in the UAE, and there is a high demand for shisha cafes.
  • Large expat population: The UAE has a large expat population, many of whom are from countries where shisha smoking is popular. This means that there is a large potential customer base for shisha cafes in the UAE.
  • Supportive government: The UAE government is supportive of businesses, and the process of starting a business is relatively straightforward.
  • Tax-free environment: The UAE is a tax-free country, which means that businesses can keep more of their profits.
  • Thriving tourism industry: The UAE has a thriving tourism industry, which means that there is a steady stream of potential customers for shisha cafes.
  • 100% Ownership: Foreign investors can own 100% of their company, granting full control
  • Global Business Hub: Dubai's global status opens doors to partners, investors, and clients worldwide.
  • Skilled Workforce: Dubai boasts a proficient workforce, facilitating business growth.
Advantages of Establishing a Shisha bar in Dubai - Smart Zones UAE

Types of Shisha Businesses in Dubai

Mobile Shisha Café

You have the option to establish a mobile shisha café, enabling you to offer shisha services at special occasions like weddings and private gatherings. It's important to note that this permit doesn't allow regular shisha service. The advantage is that you don't need a fixed physical location; instead, you can register your business with the Dubai Municipality and adhere to their mobile business regulations. Please be aware that there are specific limitations associated with these choices.

On-premises Shisha Café

An on-premise shisha café or lounge is a physical location where people can come to smoke shisha. These cafés typically offer a variety of shisha flavors and accessories, as well as food and drinks. If you want to run a shisha café in Dubai the right way, getting a shisha café license is crucial. It makes sure you're following all the rules and laws so your café can be successful and legal.

Guidelines to obtain Shisha permit in UAE

Here are some of the specific regulations introduced by Dubai Municipality for Shisha permit. The applicants should also have a sound knowledge about these guidelines:

  • The Shisha facility must be situated in a commercial building on the main road, and facility owner must provide a NOC to serve Shisha on the premises.
  • Interior area must not be less than 200 square meters, and the cafe bar must be around 150 square meters.
  • The minimum distance between Shisha cafe and nearby building apartments and buildings must be 150 meters.
  • The minimum distance between your Shisha facility and between neighboring schools and nurseries must be 150 meters while the distance to mosques and worship places must be 150 meters.
  • Cafe interface must face the main street and have a proper ventilation system. The authorities must approve the main road.
  • The Shisha facility must include a separate outdoor entrance as the basic design of the building, and the service area should be isolated from the rest of the building.
  • The Shisha bar should be the building`s main entrance by at least 7.5 meters.
  • Cafes offering shisha must ensure inclusion of at least 3 non-smoking rooms and Shisha rooms are separate from non-smoking areas, with a minimum ceiling height of 3 meters.

Shisha license application process in Dubai, UAE

Setting up a Shisha Café in UAE involves several steps:

The initial step involves submitting all the requisite paperwork to the relevant authorities. This encompasses your business plan, license application form, and any other mandatory documentation. Ensuring that all aspects are meticulously prepared is vital before commencement. After assembling all your documents, the subsequent step entails presenting them to the Dubai Economic Department (DED). Upon receiving your application, the DED will scrutinize it and communicate their decision. Should everything be in order, they will grant you a license that authorizes the operation of your shisha cafe in Dubai.

To open your shisha cafe in Dubai, you must meet specific departmental requirements. Start by getting a trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED). You'll also need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Lastly, obtain approval from the Dubai Municipality's Food Control Department to serve food and drinks. Once you have all the necessary approvals and licenses, your Dubai shisha cafe is ready to go!

To operate an F&B business, including shisha cafes, within Dubai, the Food Control Department of the Dubai Municipality mandates a valid license. Begin by gathering the necessary documents. Once you have compiled all the required paperwork, you can initiate your application process either in person at any Dubai Municipality Customer Happiness Center or through their official website. The application processing period typically spans 2 to 4 weeks. Upon approval of your application, you will be obligated to pay an annual fee. Additionally, before commencing operations, securing a permit from the Civil Defense Department is a prerequisite.

To establish a shisha cafe in Dubai, it's essential to secure the necessary Permissions and approvals from the government. Begin by officially registering your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED). Following this, you should proceed to request a trade license from the DED, which is a vital document for conducting business in Dubai.

Furthermore, you'll need to acquire a specific permit from the municipality to offer food and beverages at your cafe, including the provision of shisha. In case your plans involve serving alcoholic beverages, it's imperative to apply for a liquor license. This license can be obtained through the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. Once all these permits and licenses are successfully obtained, you will be fully prepared to launch your shisha cafe in Dubai.

When applying for your shisha cafe license in Dubai, the initial step involves undergoing an inspection. This essential inspection verifies that your establishment complies with all necessary safety and health regulations. After successfully passing this inspection, you can proceed with your license application.

Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen location and business activities. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's business setup landscape is highly recommended.

Operating since 2013, Smart Zones® UAE provides on-going support to obtain Shisha Cafe License in Dubai, UAE.

Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.

Essential Documents for Acquiring a Shisha Permit in Dubai

In the process of applying for your license, you will need to furnish the subsequent documents:

  • 1. A duly filled application form.
  • 2. Passport copies for each shareholder.
  • 3. Concise outlines of your proposed business activities.

Cost of obtaining a café and shisha license in Dubai

The expense of obtaining a café and shisha license is influenced by various variables and could fall within the range of AED 10,000 to AED 40,000 or more.

In addition to the licensing fees, it's essential to consider expenses related to the establishment, equipment, and any supplementary permits that might be necessary.

For a comprehensive overview of all the expenses associated with launching a café and shisha business in Dubai, please contact Smart Zones® UAE.

Asked Questions (FAQs)

Dubai is a global hub for tourism and business, with a large and diverse population. This makes it a great place to start a shisha cafe business, as there is a high demand for shisha and other cultural experiences from both tourists and locals. Additionally, the Dubai government is supportive of businesses and has created a number of initiatives to help them succeed.

To start a shisha cafe business in Dubai, you will need to obtain a shisha license from the Dubai Municipality. The requirements for obtaining a shisha license include:

  • A completed Shisha Permit Service Request form
  • A copy of your trade license
  • A copy of your lease agreement
  • A copy of your food handler's license (for all employees who will be handling or serving shisha)
  • A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Civil Defense

You will also need to comply with all other applicable regulations, such as food safety and fire safety regulations.

The cost of starting a shisha cafe business in Dubai will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size and location of your premises, the equipment you need to purchase, and the staff you hire. However, you can expect to spend a range of AED 10,000 to AED 40,000 or more to get your business started.

Some of the challenges of starting a shisha cafe business in Dubai include:

  • Competition: There is a growing number of shisha cafes in Dubai, which can make it difficult to compete.
  • Regulation: The shisha industry in Dubai is heavily regulated, which can be a challenge for startups to comply with.
  • Access to funding: It can be difficult for shisha cafe startups to access funding in Dubai.

Here are some tips for getting started with a shisha cafe business in Dubai:

  • Provide excellent customer service. Your staff should be friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.
  • Offer a wide variety of shisha flavors and accessories. This will appeal to a wider range of customers.
  • Create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Your cafe should be a place where people can relax and enjoy their shisha.
  • Host events and promotions. This is a great way to attract new customers and keep existing customers coming back.
  • Maintain high standards of hygiene and safety. This is essential for any food and beverage business.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in starting and running a successful shisha cafe business in Dubai.

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