Expenses to consider for setting up a company in the Dubai mainland

May 02 2019

Cost is one major component to consider, if you’re planning on setting up your own company in Dubai.

Many expatriates come to Dubai following their dreams and to have better lives. Whether you’ve just moved or you have been here for years and you want to venture out into the business world, then there are many factors worth considering before your decide to start you own company.

The preliminary costs are the major deciding factors whether you’ll be able to take on onto this new challenge.

To make it easy for you, we have put together a list of some of the main costs you’ll have to add to your overall expenses.

Do keep in mind that the fees mentioned below are only an approximation and gives you an idea. The costs also will vary a lot depending on many factors, including the type of company, the business itself, its location and the overall needs of the business. There are always some extra small fees that will ultimately add up.

Costs for setting up in the Dubai Mainland

For a Limited Liability Company

 A limited liability company can be formed with a minimum of two and a maximum of 50 persons whose liability is restricted to their shares in the company’s investment.

Foreign equities in the company may not exceed beyond 49%, which means that you will need a local partner who has a major stake in the company.

Click here to download our free guide on setting up in the Dubai mainland. 

Share Capital

Normally, the stated capital is AED 300,000. However, this is not required to be deposited in a bank account during or after the licensing process, and hence is not an actual cash outflow.

Instant License or Initial approval from DED

One-time cost: Will be approximately AED 110

 To open a business here, start by getting an instant license from the DED. It allows you to kick start your business operations right away, and with 120 days to complete all your other documentation and formalities.

Trade name approvals

One-time cost: Will be approximately: AED 700-900 (AED 2,000 – 3,000 for non Arabic names)

You will need to get approval for the name that you have chosen for your venture. The cost might change slightly based on the name you have chosen. There are several fees to be paid for this and that includes commercial name fees, reservation fees, foreign company name fees, etc.

Office rent

It is obligatory to have an office space to set up your company. This is to ensure that it is a legal business as it allows the authorities to do the necessary inspections, monitor the operations and validate that immigration laws are being followed.

Yearly/ Termly cost – Ranges from AED 10,000 for a virtual desk space, to AED 25,000 onwards for a business centre office. Bespoke office spaces also come in core-and-shell, where interior fitout works would have to be undertaken.The costs for these spaces depend on the location of the office. A reasonable office space would cost you at least AED 35,000 , with basic fitout costs starting from AED 100 per square foot.

UAE National Sponsor/Service Agent

Every LLC in Dubai has to appoint a UAE National who holds 51% of the company.

In most cases, the UAE National acts as a sponsor and does not actively participate in the business.

For services rendered, he is paid an annual fee, that ranges from AED 10,000 for lower-profile companies and startups, to AED 100,000+ for big industries that involve hundreds of workers.


Translation of Memorandum of Association (MOA)

One-time cost: Will be approximately: AED 500

The Memorandum of Association is the governing document of the company.

The document has to be in Arabic, since Arabic is the official language of the UAE.

However, most companies prefer the English/Arabic dual language MOA, that makes it easier for both the UAE National and the foreign partner to legally understand the contents of the document.

Notarisation of the MOA in the Dubai Courts

One-time cost: Will be approximately: AED 1,000 to 2,000 for the agreement + Dhs 300 for typing

The contract of an LLC is drafted with the mutual consent of the partners. The contract also needs to be drafted in both Arabic and English, so there might be an additional cost incurred for the translation. All partners or their attorneys will have to go to sign the Court Agreement Attestation at the court.

Trade license

Annual cost : Will be approximately: Dhs 15,000

There are many components of this fee, including a market fee component which is calculated as 2.5% of the annual rental of your office space. For example, if you rent an office at AED 50,000 per annum, the market fee added on the trade license invoice would be AED 1,250. An office or a shop will pay 5% whereas a warehouse will pay around 20%.

Tejari or Commercial License fee

Yearly cost: Will be approximately: Dhs 700

This fee must be paid annually for the business to conduct commercial activities through the year.

Fees for Chamber of Commerce

Yearly cost: Will be approximately: Dhs 1200

The cost for a general trading company will vary from an industrial or a manufacturing company.

Commercial services improvement fee

Yearly cost: Will be approximately: Dhs 400

This fee is meant for the improvement works that the governmental departments do.

Public waste municipality fee and Administrative services fee

One-time cost: Will be approximately: Dhs 50 + Dhs 1000 for waste 

Administrative fees are charged for both the paperwork carried out by the department and towards the public waste fee.

Ministry of Economy Fees

One-time cost: Will be approximately: AED 1,000  

Other expenses

The other miscellaneous expenses incurred include making a Company Stamp – AED 100

And applying for a P.O. Box– AED 1,000 per annum for basic services. Both are essential in doing business in Dubai.

Labour and Immigration Cards 

The newly-formed company will have to register with the Ministry of Immigration (for investor visas) and the Ministry of Labour (for the employee visas). This is a recurring cost.

Ministries of Immigration and Labour – AED 8,700


There are two broad categories of visas – investor visas and employee visas.

Investor visa costs range from AED 2,100 (if the investor is outside the UAE)  to AED 3,300 (issued if the investor is already in the UAE).

Employment visa costs depend on the category of the company, and whether the employee is inside, or outside the UAE. Costs range from AED 5,700 to AED 7,000.

An additional cost incurred will be for insurance of the employees, and costs start from AED 1,500 for a basic insurance.

As you can see, the cost of doing business in the Dubai Mainland ,depends on a lot of factors. Get in touch with us so that we can help you make a customised cost sheet, and decide on how to go ahead to setup in Dubai!



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