How to Start a Business in Dubai

Dubai is among the most renowned destinations in the world for businesses of all types in a multitude of sectors. There are numerous reasons why businessmen migrate to this place. Zero tax rate, great standard of living, friendly work environment, and world-class facilities are just a few of the benefits. However, one significant advantage of doing business here is frequently neglected. The process of forming a company in Dubai is remarkably quick and efficient.

Though the effects of Covid-19 are still prevalent, the UAE economy is gaining speed, indicating that it is returning to growth. The number of potential investors joining the market is increasing steadily. The economy has exhibited remarkable endurance, which has increased international investor confidence.

While the technical, administrative, and financial components of business incorporation in Dubai may appear daunting, it is significantly more simple and economical if you follow a simple step-by-step approach with the appropriate support.

Select a business activity

When you decide to start a business in Dubai, the first significant decision you ought to make is to choose business activities. Your authorized activities should not only fit what you intend to perform, but they will also decide the optimum setup option for your firm and the permit you need.

In Dubai, there are hundreds of business activities listed. The activity or activities you decide will be determined by the nature of your company. If you operate a manufacturing company, for instance, you must specify exactly what you produce. The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) has compiled a list that includes everything with respect to various business activities ranging from consulting, media, medical, arts, and many more.

With so many alternatives and with the guidance of business setup consultants, you can pick an activity or activities that suit your operations. What matters, even more, is that you explicitly specify each activity you intend to undertake when submitting your application.

Pick a name for your business

The choice of a company name is the next crucial decision. You must follow the UAE’s name guidelines when doing so.

In your company name, there must be no objectionable or blasphemous words, as well as no references to Allah or Islam. If you want to name your firm after someone, he/she must be the owner or partner. You must be careful to use the complete name rather than just the initials or surname. You should also make sure that the name you want to use is available for registration.

A company formation professional will be able to walk you through all of the naming conventions in detail. Running your suggested name by experts to see whether it passes will save you a great deal of time and effort.

Select the jurisdiction

The UAE market is segmented into mainland and free zones, which are also known as jurisdictions. Every jurisdiction has its own system of business-related laws and regulations. The jurisdiction you choose for your firm is determined by your requirements and activities.

Free zones have a number of advantages including no currency restrictions, full customs tax exemption, and the option to repatriate 100 percent of your capital and earnings. Free zones are common among import/export enterprises and those who undertake international trade since they are frequently linked to or in close vicinity to seaports and airports. Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case, as Dubai has a slew of them spread across the emirate.

Mainland companies are allowed to work actively with the local UAE market. They do not need a service agent and are also permitted to take on government contracts. These options are not available in a free zone setup.

Apply for license

You have to fill out an application for your selected company name and activity, which you must submit to the appropriate government authorities along with copies of stakeholder’s passports.

Some free zones may require additional paperwork, such as a business plan or a NOC (No Objection Certificate) – a statement from your present sponsor indicating that you are permitted to open a new business in the UAE.

The government will issue you a business license once your paperwork is approved. It is advisable to seek advice from a business formation expert, as any inaccuracies can result in unnecessary delay.

Find a local sponsor (if required)

Previously, finding a local partner/sponsor was a must when starting a business in Dubai. Only a UAE national can be a local sponsor. The local sponsor will own 51 percent of your company shares, according to UAE commercial legislation. Finding a reliable partner or sponsor can be challenging. Using the services of a company setup expert, you can connect with local partners and organizations that provide corporate sponsorship.

Process your visa

Once you receive the license, you can now apply for a visa. In addition to your own visa, several free zones permit you to file visa applications for employees and dependents too. The total number of visas depends on which free zone you choose to establish your business in.

Thus, if you want to sponsor a spouse, child, or driver for a visa, you should get professional assistance to ensure that it is permitted to do so in your preferred free zone, and both you and anyone you want to sponsor for a visa fulfill all the necessary requirements.

Open a corporate bank account

The final step before you can commence your business in Dubai is to open a corporate bank account. Many local and international banks operate in the UAE, namely Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and the Commercial Bank of Dubai, as well as renowned brands like Citibank, HSBC, and Barclays.

However, opening a bank account can be a complicated process for international business owners, thus it is recommended to enlist the support of legal professionals who are familiar with the procedures.

You are ready to do business in your selected UAE trade zone once you have completed the above-mentioned steps.

How can Bin Eid Advocates help you?

The company formation process in Dubai has been devised to be as simple as possible. However, it does necessitate a thorough understanding of the UAE and its numerous norms and rules.

Each phase can provide challenges for the inexperienced candidate, which is where a company setup associates with Bin Eid Advocates. We can walk you through all the different steps, liaise with UAE government officials on your account, and anticipate potential issues to make the whole process hassle-free.


Dubai is a popular investment and business destination. It is not only an investor-friendly region, but its low tax policies and simplicity of doing business have helped to solidify its place as a Middle Eastern economic hub. The government also has guidelines and restrictions in place that benefit and promote business owners.

Setting up a business in Dubai, or anywhere else in the world, is a big step. It entails, among other things, strategizing, envisioning, researching, budgeting, and making decisions. It also necessitates advice and support in choosing the appropriate trade license for your organization, particularly if you are new to this.

Contact us if you need guidance on how to start a business in Dubai and learn more about our extensive selection of business setup services.

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