Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to start your own business? If so, Dubai is a great place to do business. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of business setup in Dubai. We will discuss the different types of businesses that can be registered in Dubai, the licensing and registration requirements, and some of the pros and cons of doing business in this city-state.
So whether you are just starting out or are already well on your way to launching your business, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started!
Starting a business in Dubai Mainland
Decide your business activity
The first step in business setup in Dubai is to decide on your business activity. There are over 200 business activities that can be registered in the Dubai mainland, so you will need to select the one that best suits your business.
Get a name approval
After you have decided on your business activity, you will need to get name approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This is to ensure that your business name does not violate any existing trademarks or copyrighted material.
Submit your application
Select a business partner
If you are not a UAE national, you will need to select a business partner who is. This business partner will hold a maximum of 51% ownership in your company.
Acquire initial approval
After you have submitted your business setup application, the DED will review it and issue an initial approval. This approval is valid for six months and allows you to start the next steps in business setup, such as getting a trade license.
Draft the Memorandum of Association
The MOA is a legal document that outlines the company’s purpose, business activities, and ownership structure. This document needs to be notarized by a public notary in Dubai and then attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)
Get the tenancy contract attested & Ejari
In order to get your business license, you will need to have a tenancy contract in place. This contract needs to be attested by the DED and then registered with Ejari.
Submit the acquired documents to DED
After you have gathered all of the required documents, you will need to submit them to the DED for final approval. Once your business is approved, you will be issued a business license and can start operating your business in Dubai!
Starting a business in Dubai Freezone
Decide the right free zone that suits your business activity
There are over 40 free zones in Dubai, each with its own business activities that they specialize in. You will need to select the free zone that is most suitable for your business.
Free zones are often more suited to businesses that rely heavily on exports, as they offer easy access to shipping channels and airports. They are also often located near each other, making it easier to connect with other businesses in the same area. When choosing a free zone, it is important to consider the type of business activity you will be undertaking and whether the benefits offered by the free zone will be advantageous for your company.
The free zone authority is a single window authority
The Free Zone Authority is the regulatory body that oversees all business activities in the free zone. When setting up your business, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents to the Free Zone Authority for approval.
Freezone authorities have their own set of guidelines
Freezone authorities in Dubai have their own set of guidelines that are different from the mainland. These are in place to attract foreign investments and companies to set up their business in the city. The standards and procedures vary depending on the type of business, but all businesses must follow the rules and regulations of the freezone.
Businesses that are allowed to operate in a freezone must first obtain a license from the authorities. They must also meet the requirements of the freezone, such as having a certain number of employees or a certain amount of capital. Free zones offer many benefits to businesses, such as 100% foreign ownership, tax-free environment, and easy access to markets.
Understand the difference between an FZE and FZCO
FZE and FZCO are both business structures that are found in free zones. The main difference between the two is that an FZE can be 100% foreign-owned, while an FZCO must have at least 51% local ownership. An FZE is also exempt from corporate tax, while an FZCO is not.
Both types of businesses are eligible for various incentives, such as import and export duty exemption and tax holidays. As a result, they are both attractive options for businesses looking to set up operations in a free zone. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.