About the DMCC
The Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre is the world’s biggest free zone, located in Dubai, in the JLT area.
DMCC is home to more than 15,000 companies ranging from multinational corporations to start-ups.
An additional 170 companies join the free zone every month, 95% of which are new to Dubai. Companies based in the DMCC have access to world-class business services, connections, and infrastructure, in addition to all other standard free zone benefits.
A Free Zone is a designated geographical area in the UAE where certain taxes or restrictions on business, employment or trade do not apply in the same manner that they apply to the mainland.
In a free zone, goods can land, or can be manufactured or reconfigured, and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. These goods are subject to an import duty only when they are ‘exported’ to mainland UAE.
DMCC is the world’s largest free zone, with over 15,000 companies.
All companies setup in the DMCC are subject to 0% corporate and personal tax for fifty years. 100% foreign ownership is allowed, with no requirement for UAE National shareholding.
The DMCC has a simple set up process, assistance with sponsorship of employees and many other UAE government related services, and a one-window clearance. It is the largest free zone in the world, conveniently located within Dubai, with excellent road and metro connectivity.
Here is a short video on the DMCC:
There is no corporate/income tax levied on individuals or companies operating in the DMCC. This rule is valid for 50 years from the time of registration of the company in the free zone.
The DMCC free zone offers 100% foreign ownership. You do not need a UAE National to act as a partner or an agent. In some cases, for example, a pharmacy, the Dubai Health Authority requires a UAE National shareholder in order to issue the required No Objection Certificate (NOC).
The DMCC setup process is comprehensive and thorough. The main steps are as follows:
- Submitting documents for a pre-approval of name and activity
- Submitting KYC documents for due diligence checks
- Signing the Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Leasing physical space
- Obtaining the license
- Opening a bank account in the name of the company and depositing share capital
Here is a short video on the process of setting up in the DMCC:
DMCC Business Activities
The DMCC activity list is based on the activity list of the Dubai Economic Department. There are over 550 activities, spread across 21 sectors.
Click here to download the list of allowed activities in the DMCC.
No, the company will have to apply for two different licenses.
Yes, you can add or delete activities from your existing license. In case you wish to add an activity from the same license type (example, service activity) then you can apply for ‘Change of Activity. For further details, contact us here.
In case you wish to add an activity from a different license type, you will need to apply for a new Service License. For further details, contact us here.
Yes, a company setup and licensed in the DMCC can do business outside the UAE.
If you wish to trade within the UAE mainland, you can sell your goods to a LLC in Dubai, that can act as a distributor. This is done after paying the customs duty for the goods. You can also open a branch of the DMCC company in the mainland, and carry out the activities as specified in your license.
Click here to know more about how to establish a branch of a free zone company in the Dubai mainland.
Yes, there are some activities that are regulated by third party authorities in the UAE. In these cases, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required in order to add such activity on DMCC license.
For example, in order to open a pharmacy in the DMCC, an approval from the Dubai Health Authority (external department) is required.
Most activities in the DMCC do not require a particular type of physical space. In certain cases, activities require a specific type of physical space, such as retail spaces for pharmacies.
Contact us to know more about specific property options for the proposed business activity of your DMCC company.
Yes, a company setup in the DMCC and having more than one license will require additional physical space arrangements. In some cases, it may be that the additional physical office space should be a minimum of 500 square feet per license, or additional serviced office/flexi desk per license.
A Branch Company can be licensed only for the activities that its parent company is currently licensed for. It is also essential that these activities are available in DMCC.
No, DMCC does not require any prescribed format for business plan. A standard business plan would include details of the business model, intended activities, regions where the business will come from, SWOT and financial model.
Click here to get a quote on drafting a business plan for a company in the DMCC.
We provide turnkey solutions for setting up your business in the DMCC, including the business plan and complete documentation. Click here to submit your enquiry.
Setting up in DMCC
The DMCC issues the following brand categories of licenses:
Trade License: To carry out trading activities
Service License: To carry out service activities
Industrial License: To carry out light manufacturing activities
Click here to download the DMCC activity list.
Yes, this is possible , but the cost for the additional license will start from AED 20,000.
Contact our setup experts today, to discuss more about your proposed activity and setting up your business in the DMCC.
The following structures are available:
- Limited liability companies
- Branches companies, and
- Subsidiaries of local and international companies.
The type of corporate structure would depend on the requirements of the business and the shareholding. Tax considerations would also affect the decision, for example, in some jurisdictions, the income of branch companies is clubbed along with the parent, and hence can prove less tax-efficient than a subsidiary.
Contact us to speak to one of our experts who can guide you through the process of setting up a company in the DMCC.
All registered companies are subject to the laws of the UAE and DMCC Rules and Regulations.
Click here to download the latest DMCC Free Zone Rules and Regulations.
A shareholder in a DMCC Free Zone company can be a partner in multiple companies in the free zone, or outside.
The DMCC cannot check the availability of the proposed company name in advance. However, once checked, you can reserve the company name.
Yes, the DMCC has specific rules on company names, and some restricted names as well.
- The name should not contradict the activity. However, It`s preferred to reflect it.
- The name should not be reserved if it is protected/has copyright against it.
- The word COMMODITIES can be granted only if the company trades in more than one commodity or practices General Trading activity.
- UAE, Emirates, City`s names, Districts, and Airports Codes of UAE are Restricted.
- The trade name cannot start with “international” “Middle East” “Global” etc… Nor can it be translated.
- The name should not have obscene or indecent words, and should not be offending to the general public even if it is a person’s name.
- The name would not be granted if it is similar to DED/Local active company that performs similar activities
Click here to download the DMCC company name rules reservations and guidelines, including the DMCC Restricted Names List.
DMCC Company Shareholders and Officers
The number of shareholders can be between 1 and 50. The shareholders can be individual, corporate, or both.
Yes, the shareholder can hold all or any of the officers’ positions (Manager / Director / Legal Representative / Secretary). However, for good corporate governance, we suggest that the company appoint at least two Directors.
There is no minimum and maximum age requirement for one to become a shareholder of a DMCC company. However, minor shareholders (below the age of eighteen years) shall be represented by the legal guardian.
The arrangement can be guided by an agreement that lists out the obligations of the guardian and the mechanism of transfer once the minor shareholder reaches eighteen years of age.
The legal guardian can be the father or mother of the minor or the person declared by court to be the legal guardian. Following additional documents are required in case shareholder is represented by the legal guardian:
- Attested Passport copy of the Legal Guardian
- Attested Birth Certificate of the minor
- Attested Marriage Certificate (in case guardian is the mother)
- Attested Court Order (in case by Court declaration)
DMCC companies should at least have one director and can have up to six directors. Usually, companies commence business with 1-2 directors, and additional directors can come in during the course of the business.
Yes. A No Objection Certificate will be required from the current sponsor of your employment visa.
Click here for a specimen NOC letter.
The minimum age of the individual at the time of the appointment should be 21 years old. The officers include the following – Manager / Director / Legal Representative / Secretary.
Office Requirements in DMCC
Yes, physical office space is mandatory for company formation in DMCC. You can choose from:
- Flexi Desk
- Serviced Office
- Physical Office for lease
- Physical Office for sale
- Retail Space (shop) for lease
- Retail Space (shop) for sale
A company can be registered with a desk option, which is the minimum space available in the DMCC. The desk-space costs start from AED 17,000 (US$ 4,700).
Office requirements depend on the number of employees and type of activity conducted by the company.
For example, a company such as a Marketing Consultancy with five employees may be required to have an office space of at least 500 square feet. In contrast, a retail food and beverage outlet operating multiple shifts would be subject to different requirements, including kitchen space and customer seating.
The DMCC offers desk spaces for startup companies. Costs start from AED 17,000 (US$ 4,700).
Contact us to speak to one of our experts who can guide you through the process.
No, as per the Rules of the DMCC, office space has to be inside the DMCC Free Zone in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT). The DMCC offers a wide range of office solutions ranging from full-fledged office space to flexible office options such as Service Offices and Flexi Desks.
A facility has to be leased, in order to apply for a license for a DMCC company.
No, you must have a DMCC licensed company. A company outside the DMCC will have to register a branch in the DMCC, in order to use the office space.
Click here to know more about setting a branch of your existing entity in the DMCC.
Yes, it can. A license from the mainland/free zone where the warehouse is located, will be required. This can be obtained by setting up a branch of the DMCC Company.
There are third-party warehouses that offer sub-lease or partial space options. In this case, no branch will be required.
Yes, the DMCC area is freehold and you can purchase office space and residential properties within the free zone.
DMCC has a wide range of Business Centre products and services available including flexi desks and serviced offices.
Yes, you can have multiple offices in one tower on one license. However, DMCC requires separate licenses for offices that are in separate towers.
DMCC has state-of-the-art gold and diamond vaults available to lease at Almas Tower, home to the Dubai Diamond Exchange and Dubai Gold Exchange.
DMCC has partnered with The Box Self Storage to offer different storage solutions to cater to the needs of both the business and residential communities.
Jewellery manufacturing and light industries are allowed in the DMCC Free Zone.
DMCC has developed specialised facilities for companies operating in the jewellery and gems sector, whereby staff may be accommodated near the industrial premises.
Yes, any company having multiple licenses can have a Flexi Desk for each license provided that the license activities do not specify certain property type (i.e. the activity does not require a retail shop, physical office space…etc.)
Example: If a company has a trading license on a Flexi Desk and wishes to apply for an additional service license, the new license can also be on another Flexi Desk or the company has also the option to move to a physical office of at least 100 sqm to accommodate both licenses.
DMCC Share Capital requirements, Legal documents
The company should have a minimum of AED 1 Million paid up share capital to be eligible for a General Trading License.
DMCC companies with specific trading licenses, that wish to apply for a General Trading License, should first apply for an increase in share capital before they can apply for a general trading license.
The minimum share capital for a Free Zone company in DMCC is AED 50,000. This capital is divided into 50 shares of AED 1,000 per share.
Yes, the share capital needs to be deposited in the company bank account within 3 weeks from the date of the trade license being issued.
This share capital does not have to be kept in the bank account as a deposit – it can be used as working capital subsequently.
The name of the appointed Manager will be the only name shown on the DMCC company’s license.
A Certificate of Incumbency confirms the names of the shareholders, directors and officers, also the authorised signatories. It is issued at the request of the company and indicates the above identities as of that date of issuance.
A company registrar, company secretary or registered agent usually issues this certificate.
The company may operate its business under a trade name that is different from the name registered on the commercial license.
For example, the company licensee name can be XYZ Catering DMCC while its operating name can be Carac Cafe.
Ultimate Beneficiary Owner Form details the names and KYC information of the ultimate individual beneficial owners (UBO) of a corporate shareholder. It is part of the initial and ongoing due diligence process carried out by the DMCC and local banks, when applying for a bank account in the name of the DMCC Company.
UBO is an individual who ultimately owns or controls in aggregate directly or indirectly 5% or more shares of the company or a group of companies or on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted.
The authorised signatory on behalf of the parent company needs to sign the resolution for Branch or Subsidiary. The power to sign on behalf of the parent company needs to be evidenced in the parent company’s legal documents or through an attested power of attorney document.
In the case of an Individual Company – the resolution needs to be signed by the proposed shareholder(s) / owners of the new DMCC Company itself or by any power of attorney(POA) holder to whom powers have been granted through an attested POA.
In the case of a Subsidiary, any authorised representative of the parent company establishing the company in the DMCC can sign this document. The powers to do so can be granted through a DMCC resolution, or separate attested POA to an individual to act on behalf of the company.
For a non-subsidiary, this document can be signed by the shareholder(s)/owner(s) of the DMCC Company itself or by any POA holder to whom powers have been provided through an attested POA or powers can be passed through the DMCC resolution.
Click here to access the template formats of resolutions and other required documents for company formation in the DMCC.
Getting Started in the DMCC
You can provide three preferred company names on the initial application. DMCC will try to reserve the first name choice and also ensure that there are no other companies with the same name or a name similar enough to be indistinguishable. Please be aware that there are certain words that may not be used and these are clearly mentioned on the application.
The name of all new companies have the suffix – DMCC. Branch companies registered in the DMCC adopt the name of the parent company followed by the suffix ‘DMCC Branch’.
Click here to read through our detailed article on naming a company in the UAE.
Setting up in the DMCC is a comprehensive, yet structured process. The usual process takes 3-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application and due diligence reviews. Leasing bespoke office spaces can result in further processing times.
Do contact us to discuss your DMCC company formation.
This facility is not available at present, since each free zone is an independent jurisdiction, with no passporting facilities.
However, we can try to apply with the same name and activity, should it serve the purpose.
Please contact us to discuss how this can be done.
Importing and Exporting of Goods
Yes, companies setup in the DMCC can import goods. The DMCC company would have to hold a trade license, and only goods that correspond to the licensed activity can be imported.
The company will have to register with the Dubai Customs for an import/export code.
DMCC companies with a valid trade license in the DMCC can import goods into the DMCC without payment of import duties. The company can make use of third-party warehousing facilities to store and re-export goods.
Please visit www.dubaicustoms.gov.ae for more information.
You can sell goods in within the UAE (in any Emirate) by appointing a local distributor. To retail goods directly, you can set up a Limited Liability Company in the Dubai mainland, with a trading activity, and sell your local goods through that company.
Click here to know more on how to set up an LLC in Dubai.
The Customs duty for most items is calculated on the CIF value at the rate of 5%. Imports of alcohol is subject to a high customs duty of 50%, and imports of tobacco products draw a sharp 100% duty.
Some essential items are on the duty-free list. These include staple foodstuff and pharmaceuticals. Gold and diamond traders can capitalise on an arrangement between Dubai Customs and DMCC. Diamonds can be imported at special rate of 1% (service fee), and gold can be imported at a rate of 0.32% (service fee). These fees are payable to the Dubai Customs.
You can also refer to the Dubai Customs website at www.dubaicustoms.gov.ae, which has a detailed list of all duties applicable, sorted according to the relevant HS codes.
The UAE is the fastest growing economy in the GCC, with political stability. The Dubai Government developed a robust framework for foreign direct investment. Moreover, DMCC actively works with member companies, creating opportunities for business, through industry networks and clubs.
Dubai World Trade Centre hosts a vast programme of exhibitions and conferences that are attended by global industry leaders.
The documents required by Dubai Customs include
- goods declaration
- bill of lading
- certificate of origin; and
- invoice copies.
These are basic documents and the Dubai Customs may require additional documents depending on the transaction.
Please check www.dubaicustoms.gov.ae for up-to-date information.
Yes, a local partner is required to establish a Commercial Trade License. The business partner must be a UAE national, with a holding of 51% of shares in the company. With change in time and mutual understanding there are many considerate agreements and secured contracts made among partners these days. Because of that, the foreign owner has equal control over the business, while the local sponsor receives an annual sponsorship fees for his services.
The Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai is the governmental agency responsible for issuing – Commercial License / Professional License / Industrial License for business entities in Dubai. If you would like to establish a company and acquire a trade license in any other Emirates, the economic department of the respective place, will issue for you.
The nature of the business activity plays an important role in applying for license. The business activity will define which license needs to be undertaken, below are the three main categories of licenses that are issued:
- Commercial License – this license is issued to a business that may engage in trading activity and/or general trading.
- Industrial License – this license is issued to a business that may engage in manufacturing, production and/or industrial activities.
- Professional License – this license is issued to service providers, professionals- such as medical practitioners, teachers, artisans, craftsmen and so on.
The legal authorities and the judicial bodies formulated a list of requirements to obtain a trade license in Dubai. The list is as follows:
- Determine the category/categories of business if commercial, industrial and/or professional
- Determine the type of business activity/activities
- Determine all the related business activities – maximum ten activities depending on the type of license, that can be included within each business license
- Determine the legal undertakings, the number and the nationalities of the business owners
- Determine the required license requirements and conditions
- Determine the business’ trade name
- Submit the application to the Department to obtain an initial approval
- Register a trade name after the initial approval
- Rent / Lease a business location
- Prepare all the necessary documents – memorandum of association, certification from the authorities, approvals of other relevant authorities, governmental permissions as essential conditional to your business type
- Submit the final application with the fees.
The documents needed to renew a business license renewal are; a valid office EJARI registration certificate and a lease contract issued and registered from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency.
To renew a commercial license, a DED registered certification along with approvals from authorities such a National Media Company NMC, Ministry of Economy, etc. may be required.
Commercial License –this license is issued to a business engaged in any kind of trading activity
Industrial License – this license is issued to a business engaged any king of manufacturing or industrial activity
Professional License – this license is issued to service providers, artisans, professionals and craftsmen.
A Trade Name is the name a business uses for registration, advertising and sales purposes. It is the name of the enterprise or the company by which the establishment is known in a particular trade or profession.
Trade Name Registration is handled by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. Once the Trade Name application is submitted, it can only be used after DED’s approval.
The company’s Trade Name provides an identity, a record of your business as well as to file lawsuits on behalf of your business (under circumstances). Registering your Trade Name beforehand will also protect the name from being used by other companies.
Trade Name reservation in the UAE is a process of reserving a name for your business and is done along with the initial approvals for business activities. Business firms reserve available trade names, to ensure they retain their preferred Trade Name before someone else uses it.
No, you cannot maintain a trade name once the trade license is cancelled.
Fill up and submit the Trade Name application form to Department of Economic Development (DED). A fee needs to be paid depending upon the name chosen.
There is a 60 days validity for this Trade Name and it can be renewed once and must be renewed within one-week of expiring.
You can check availability of the name on the official site of DED. Search http://eservices.dubaided.gov.ae or any DED branches, to check whether the trade name you want exists.
For anywhere else in UAE, the Economic Department of the particular Emirate will guide you on the same or just call us and we can find it for you.
Yes, the trade name can still be used in Dubai unless the Trade Name is not registered with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
- The usage of the word Dubai is not allowed
- The Arabic and Islamic traditions is not allowed
- Words referring to God or Islam are not allowed
- Trade Name must be translated into Arabic
- Trade Name should describe the business activity.