How to Set Up a Company in Dubai?

Dubai is the business hub of the middle east. With its liberal economic policies, double tax treaties with most of the countries in the world, modest corporate tax rates, lavish infrastructure, and trade route accessibility, Dubai has become a location of choice for corporates and entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in Asia.

The primary industries in Dubai are tourism, real estate, financial services and aviation. These and many other are fortified by the presence of sector-oriented free zones in the emirate, which provide for zero tax, 100% foreign ownership, and full repatriation of capital & profits.

Given these benefits, company formation in Dubai is veritably a very lucrative proposition. And it’s not that difficult too – if you have the required documents and approvals in place, setting up a company in Dubai can be done within a week. However, for a newcomer in Dubai, learning the ropes of business setup here can prove to be something. But fret not – we’re here to guide you through the process of setting up a business in Dubai. Just follow these steps.

1. To set up a mainland company in Dubai, a local sponsor is needed. A local sponsor refers to a UAE national (or a company wholly owned by UAE nationals) who acts as a service agent for your business in the UAE, generally also acting as a sleeping partner of your company. A detailed agreement, stating the responsibilities of the said sponsor towards the business as well as his/her annual fee, is to be prepared. A no-objection certificate from the local sponsor is required for running your business activities.

2. Prepare a Memorandum of Association (MoA) for your company. It is a document listing the fundamental conditions upon which a company must operate, like:

  • Main purpose of the company
  • Capital investment
  • Issuance of shares

3. Obtain a preliminary approval for the company by notarizing the MoA at the Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai. It’s best to get this done through a lawyer or business setup consultant.

4. Decide upon a trade name and register it with the DED. The name should be unique and relevant. The DED has the authority to reject or change the name in case a company with a similar name already exists.

5. Arrange for an office space for the company – this is a prerequisite to obtain a licence for the business. The office tenancy or ownership contract serves as the proof for a registered office address. In case of an offshore company, the address of the registered agent (appointed by the company from the approved list of registered agents in UAE) can be provided as the official address of the company.

6. Apply for a trade licence, which is again issued by the DED. A trade licence can be one of the following types, depending on the kind of business activity your company carries out:

  • Industrial licence, for manufacturing activities
  • Professional licence, for service-based companies like law firms, educational institutes or artisans
  • Commercial licence, for any kind of trading activity

7. Based on the type and location of your company, submit the required documents to the DED and the Commercial Registration Department, and pay the licence fee.

In everything is in place, your company should be registered in a week.

The aforementioned steps give a general idea about how to set up a company in Dubai. For a new company formation in Dubai, it might be favourable to consult a local business advisor – who can help you out with the nuances and nitty-gritty of business incorporation and registration. Commitbiz Management Consultants help firms and entrepreneurs establish their business in Dubai through company incorporation, registration, tax advisory, accounting and bookkeeping services. Our team of business consultants in Dubai is there to help you with your business setup process. Our approach to company formation is centred around your business vision and objectives. For any help or queries on company formation in Dubai, do Contact us– we'll be glad to help you.