Starting a business in Dubai or globally is a significant decision involving planning, research, budgeting, and decision-making. Guidance on choosing the right trade license, especially for new entrepreneurs, is essential. Explore key steps to start a business in Dubai, UAE. The UAE, a preferred destination for investors, boasts an investor-friendly environment, low tax policies, and business-friendly practices, solidifying its position as a Middle East business hub. The government's supportive rules and regulations further encourage and favor business owners.
Dubai and the UAE provide supportive business environments, witnessing the launch of over 20,000 new businesses last year. Notably, a significant portion was initiated by overseas entrepreneurs, given that 80% to 90% of the UAE workforce consists of foreign nationals.
The future looks promising, with the IMF projecting the UAE to lead Gulf economic growth at 2.5%, surpassing Saudi Arabia's forecasted 0.4%. If the idea of starting a business in Dubai intrigues you, rest assured – the process doesn't have to be complicated.
Establishing a company anywhere in the world can be intimidating. Nevertheless, with the assistance of adept business setup consultants in Dubai, it doesn't have to be formidable. Smart Zones® UAE has been serving as business setup consultants for over 12 years, aiding more than 40,000 entrepreneurs like yourself to embark on the right path. Business setup in Dubai need not be overwhelming with us by your side.
Our approach is both uncomplicated and clear. We'll lead you through every step of the way.
Our uncomplicated process as business setup consultants involves assisting you in deciding whether to establish in the mainland or in a free zone, providing advice on the appropriate business activity and name for your company, and guiding you through all the necessary paperwork to obtain your business license with DED and open your corporate bank account.
We'll handle all the challenging tasks—that's what distinguishes us as the leading business setup consultants in Dubai and the UAE. Smart Zones® UAE is a comprehensive solution for company formation. We oversee the process from inception to completion, sparing you from having to engage with numerous government authorities to commence your business operations in Dubai.
It all commences with a complimentary consultation with one of our affable and proficient business setup consultants. The consultation is entirely focused on you and your business—giving you the chance to pose any queries you may have about company formation, and we ensure you are thoroughly prepared before formally initiating the process.
By the conclusion of your personalized consultation, we will possess a profound understanding of your business and its requirements, and you will be informed of the optimal path to take when establishing your business in the UAE.
Establishing a Business in Dubai involves several steps:
Embark on the journey of opening a business in Dubai by partnering with Smart Zones® UAE. Our adept company formation specialists will guide you through the business license application and setup process, liaising with relevant government and municipal authorities on your behalf.
When choosing a business activity for your entrepreneurial venture, assess the practicality of the selected activity within the context of the UAE market. Before establishing a company in Dubai, conduct comprehensive research on the viability and profitability of the activity. Subsequently, determine the optimal time to launch your business in Dubai, UAE.
The UAE market is divided into various economic zones – Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore, commonly referred to as jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations governing business setup, tailored to different business needs. Your choice of jurisdiction for your business should align with your specific business requirements and the nature of your chosen business activity.
Choosing the legal form for your company is a critical decision when establishing a business in the UAE. It establishes the framework for handling profits and losses and organizing resources and assets. Determine the legal form or structure for your company during the initial planning stages, as it provides a blueprint for your company. Business licenses cannot be applied for until the company's legal form is decided. Here are some legal forms or company structures under which you can register your business in the UAE:
The Department of Economic Development (DED) must grant approval for the trade name of your company before proceeding with the company setup process in the UAE. Both your company name and chosen business activity undergo evaluation during this stage. After obtaining the necessary approvals, submit the required documents to apply for your UAE trade license and commence the process of establishing a company in Dubai.
There are four types of trade licenses in the UAE, also referred to as business licenses, to consider:
You can apply for any of these trade licenses when planning to launch a business in the UAE mainland. The licensing structure in UAE free zones varies and is contingent on the chosen business activity of your company.
Company registration and licensing occur concurrently, yet the entire documentation and approval process advance through various stages. During this step, secure all approvals from relevant government authorities as required by the Department of Economic Development. The necessary documents vary based on each company type and activity.
In the past, establishing a business in Dubai required securing a local partner. The local partner or agent had to be a UAE national. Finding a reliable local agent might pose challenges, but a business setup consultant can connect you with companies offering corporate sponsorship, providing you with documented authority and full ownership of your business.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) may require additional approvals from other government or non-government agencies based on your business activity. For example, certain businesses may necessitate approvals from the municipality, specific banks, embassies, etc.
Understanding the intricacies of a Memorandum of Association (MoA) is essential when initiating a business in Dubai. Prior to composing the MoA, seek expert advice. The MoA should adhere to the mandates of the UAE government and align with your business interests before embarking on the process of establishing a company in Dubai.
Depending on your business requirements, choose to lease an office unit or consider a shared workspace in a business center. The choice of office space can also impact the number of visas you can apply for through the Department of Economic Development (DED).
When initiating your business in Dubai, obtaining an ejari may be necessary. This tenancy contract serves as the agreement between you and the real estate agency for the office unit or shared workspace you plan to rent. Ejari is regulated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), ensuring fairness and transparency. Submit your tenancy contract and additional documents to activate your Ejari account, a crucial requirement for obtaining or renewing visas for family members and/or employees.
Before obtaining your business license to start a business in Dubai, secure initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This approval indicates that the UAE government does not object to your business establishment in the UAE. Without this approval, you cannot proceed to the next steps in the application process.
To obtain your UAE trade license, submit the following:
Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen jurisdiction and business activities. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's business setup landscape is highly recommended.
Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.
Companies established within free zones are subject to the regulations of their respective free zones. As a result, the documentation needed will vary depending on the specific free zone to which you submit your application. The required documentation may encompass:
Submitting incorrect documents can lead to immediate rejection. Our consultants at Smart Zones® UAE ensure you have the right documents, avoiding any complications in the process.
While numerous factors come into play, you can anticipate a trade license to be priced in the range of AED 15,000 to AED 25,000. However, this figure is more of an approximate estimate. The costs for establishing a company in Dubai vary depending on factors such as the chosen location, whether premises are acquired, the size of the workforce, and various other considerations. You can contact Smart Zones® UAE.
For instance, the expenses associated with company formation in Dubai's free zones are often considerably lower compared to establishing a presence in the mainland. Similarly, if you decide to utilize a co-working space instead of securing a permanent office, your setup costs are likely to be reduced.
Select your business activity, Identify a free zone, Choose a company name, Organize and submit your documents, Open your corporate bank account
In most free zones, you can conduct two activities under one license.
With a single license, you have the authorization to undertake 10 activities. However, it is essential to ensure that the activities align with the standards set by the Department of Economic Development (DED).
The expense for business setup varies between free zones and the mainland. It is also contingent on the selected business activity. Hence, providing a 100% accurate estimation of the cost is not feasible.
Setting up a business in UAE free zones does not demand additional time. Typically, it takes about 3 to 10 days to complete the business setup process in free zones. However, it is crucial to ensure that all your documents are legally sound and attested by the relevant authorities. If you lack consultants to assist you, the setup duration might extend to several weeks, as self-handled legal procedures often consume more time.
The Mainland of UAE offers numerous potential jurisdictions for new company setups. Some of the top locations in the Mainland include Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Deira, Al Qusais, Al Quoz, etc.
To obtain a Trade License in the UAE, you need the following information: Business category and activity to be performed, Nationality and number of business owners, Trade name, and other requirements (business owner profile, passport number, etc.) as indicated in the application form. Once the application is submitted, register the trade name, rent an office space, and prepare other necessary documents (certifications, Memorandum of Association, etc.).
An offshore company formation in Dubai has the following limitations: No provision to issue residency visa, No provision to trade within the UAE, and An offshore company cannot lease or rent a local premise in the UAE.
Certainly, an offshore company can indeed open a bank account in the UAE. The company owner must personally visit the UAE to complete the necessary paperwork with the bank. The bank will assess the business activity, company profile, and make a decision accordingly.
PRO services are indispensable for companies in the UAE, irrespective of their size. They play a crucial role in regularly submitting legal documents to various government authorities, ensuring proper clearances for the smooth operation of the business.