It depends on the type of company. For mainland companies, it is required that you have a resident visa or investor visa in the UAE. In case of a free zone company, since it provides 100% foreign ownership, the owners need not have a resident visa. However, the general manager of the company must reside in the UAE. Click here for our office space packages.
Yes. The regulating body that handles all the rental properties and services in Dubai is the Real Estate Regulatory Agency(RERA).
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency manages the relationship between the landlord and the tenant, it makes sure that each party knows his/her responsibilities to avoid disputes and misunderstandings.
Yes, it is required for a free zone company to acquire an office space in UAE. However, free zone business have affordable options to consider such as Flexi-desk, Smart-desk, co-workingspaces, etc. Click here for options on renting business centre spaces in Dubai.
There are many options without restrictions for a mainland business setup in Dubai. It offers a variety of prominent places which are suitable to operate a business. Sheik Zayed Road, Deira, Bur Dubai, Al Quoz, Business Bay, one of Dubai’s central business hub are some of the ideal location to rent an office. Click here for our office space packages in Business Bay.
Yes, having an office space on rent or lease is a requirement to set up a business in the UAE. Most government licenses can only be processed once you submit your lease agreement. However, the kind of business set up may provide an option whether an office space is compulsory. For mainland companies or a Free zone requires a physical presence but this is not obligatory on Offshore business setup.
Although the UAE property market is an open market, there are some restrictions imposed by Governmental agencies depending on the type of business structure, the business activity, and the jurisdiction of other such standards. For example, retail outlets are only rented out to companies that have a trading license.
Yes, licenses can only be obtained by renting a physical space in the UAE. However, off late, the DED has started issuing licenses on desk spaces as well. Click here for options on renting business centre spaces in Dubai.
Yes, one of the essential requirements for obtaining a trade license is renting or leasing an office space in Dubai. The DED works with the Planning Department of Dubai Municipality to inspect the office location in order to guarantee that you follow standards fitting to your business and provides approval accordingly.
Yes, It is necessary to choose the appropriate freezone jurisdiction for your company since afreezone business setup in UAE can only operate within its registered jurisdiction.
Business Setup in Dubai
The governmental authority responsible for all the business level activities in a mainland business setup in Dubai is the Department of Economic Development. In the case of free zones, they have their own assigned authority to monitor, manage and develop these jurisdictions.
There is no specific cost of setting up a business in Dubai or in any other part of UAE because it depends on the business activity, the area of operation and the particular free zone/mainland authority. General costs can vary based on these factors; however, a minimum of AED 10,000 will be required in any jurisdiction in the UAE.
Manufacturing, mining, quarrying, electricity, gas, and water activities fall under the category of industrial licenses.
There are seven categories to set up a business in the UAE; General Partnership Company, Civil Partnership, Public Shareholding Company, Private Shareholding Company, Joint venture Company, Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Share Partnership Company. Each category has a set of terms and conditions applied with regards to the capital of investment, incorporation procedures, number of shareholders and more.
Setting up a business in Dubai can take a while if there are a lot of pending paperwork and documentation to be approved by different government agencies. With the help of the right consultants, you can establish your business in three days.
Within three weeks, business license and registration can be done, yet again, if the business activity requires certification or attestation for any other judicial body – it may take more time. For UAE free zones, company formation can take anywhere between 3-10 days, whereas an offshore company formation can be established within 48 hours if you have the right resources at hand.
There are three options that you may consider in setting up your business in the UAE; a mainland business, a business in a free zone or an offshore jurisdiction.
For a business setup in UAE mainland, you will be required to have a local sponsor, who will own a part of your business. In a free zone company setup – you do not need a local sponsor, but can operate only within a limited geographical region.
On the other hand, an offshore business in UAE, will allow you to safeguard your wealth and assets, but you cannot trade in UAE and will only get a certificate of incorporation and not a trade license.
The UAE’s strategic location cemented its position on top of the global business market. It is a prime business destination as it follows standard global practices and motivate entrepreneurs to invest in good business ideas. Moreover, business operations remove taxes and offer complete capital repatriation without currency restrictions. This kind of financial freedom is rare in highly developed business environment, therefore entrepreneurs from around the world find good opportunities and potential in the UAE market.
Company formation in Dubai Mainland
The main requirement is selecting the business activity (trading, service, industrial etc.) The other requirements depend on the business activity. Click here to download a list of business activities approved by the Dubai Department of Economic Development.
It is also required to rent physical space for company formation in Dubai. This ranges from desk-spaces, to full-fledged office space.
In some cases, such as trading licenses, a UAE National partner would be required to hold 51% of the shares in the Dubai company.
Yes, one visa can be applied, for every 80 square feet, so the bigger the office space the more number of visas a Dubai company can apply for.
Here are the general steps for forming a Dubai company in the mainland:
- Select business activity
- Find a UAE National to act as local sponsor
- Decide the distribution of the shareholding, the profits and losses among the partners and other operational modalities.
- Reserve of a new trade name. Click here to know more details on acceptable trade names.
- Sign the Memorandum of Association in the Dubai Courts. Click here to access a draft Memorandum of Association.
- Rent office space in Dubai. You can choose from business centre desk options as well.
- Pay the DED fees and obtain the trade license.
During the process of setting a business in UAE, its is a priority to ensure protection of partnership at all stages. There are several procedures and investor rights contracts that benefit the investors and also guarantee the protection of all the parties involved.
Decide a business activity→get a trade name approval →select a local business partner →acquire initial permissions and approvals →draft the memorandum of association→decide the location of operation and renting an office space →draft and attest the tenancy contract →the documents are submitted as per the requirements →licenses are collected from the judicial bodies.
To establish a Limited Liability Company in Dubai, you need to obtain preliminary approvals and reserve a trade name. You also have to get a memorandum of association of the company and submit the rent contract and other pertinent documents to the Economic Department. Currently, the DED accepts desk spaces to setting up the company as well.
The required documents are divided in three segments:
Documents for a Partner’s Visa: Entry Permit Form with Valid Passport Copies, Four Photograph for Visa application, Trade License Copy, Memorandum of Association Copy to denote LLC, Local Service Agent Contract, Partnership Contract for professional license, Partners List to denote LLC and Immigration Card Copy.
Documents for medical procedure of Partner’s Visa: Passport Copy, Visa Copy, Two Photograph for Visa application and Typed Application.
Documents for visa stamping for Partner’s Visa: Visa stamping application, One Photograph for Visa application, Emirates ID form, Original Visa, Original Medical Certificate, Copy of Medical Insurance Card, Original Passport, LLC Agreement, Immigration Establishment Card, List of Partners and Other Licenses.
No, individuals on Investor’s / Partner’s Visa are not required to pay corporate or personal income tax in the UAE.
The number of visas allotted depends on the size of the physical space rented by the Dubai mainland company. Generally, it is calculated as one visa per 80 square feet.
A foreign national is eligible and is qualified to obtain an Investor’s Visa after confirming sufficient funds for the prospective investments to create a business in the UAE. The UAE immigration needs to authorize this, only after which the visa is approved.
No, UAE provides a temporary residency / visit visa for investors but once all the necessary documents are obtained – the investor can apply for the investor’s visa.
The visa has a maximum validity period of three years. The visa allows the investor to live and work in the UAE provided the he/she abides by all the UAE’s laws and codes of conduct.
An Investor’s / Partner’s Visa is given to adepositor, who capitalize his money in the UAE market and needs to enter as a partner with the support of an UAE national in the country. It is like a permit which is provided by the Immigration Department to enter the country as an investor.
An investor’s visa or a partner’s visa is required in order to set up a business in the UAE.
UAE issues several types of visa: Service Visa, Visit Visa, Transit Visa, Tourist Visa, Employment Visa, Sponsor Visa, Spouse / Parents Visa, an Investor’s / Partner’s Visa, etc.
It all depends on your nationality and the passport you hold. The requirement varies from one nationality to another. Nationals of some countries can get a visa on arrival, however few Asian countries do require a visa beforehand.
There are several activities and services performed by a PRO. To name some few:
- Applying, Cancelling or Renewal of Visa Applications
- Assistance in procedures and documentation on Ministry and Government;
- Drafting documents for judicial bodies;
- processing paperwork and getting clearance for governmental department;
- acquiring permissions and licenses for various business level activities;
- obtaining notary requirements involved with the Chamber of Commerce; the Foreign Affairs Office; or the Ministry of Justice and various other government bodies depending on the business activity.
PRO service is required
- during business licensing and company registration
- getting approvals
- functional reviews and inspecting the company standards
- procurement for companies from the Department of Economic Development
- dealings with the ministries and various other governmental bodies while obtaining certification and permits
- for rendering immigration formalities
- insurance applications; visa processing & renewal
- company cancellation formalities.
The services offered by a PRO is vital especially for a regulating company. It helps your business, whether a small-scale or a highly-established one to perform tedious operations concerning governmental regulations and employment laws.
A PRO / Public Relations Officer is a person who performs services associated with the governmental bodies on behalf of a company. A PRO is responsible in processing governmental documentation and paperwork for the company’s routine requirements.
10 Zone business set up consultants can provide all the help you need in the formalities of a business trade license in UAE!
You can count on us to make the right decision with regards to the legal structure, occupational jurisdictions and other business setup related constraints. We work towards obtaining your trade license as well as finding an ideal local partner / local agent for you. Whether finding a suitable office space or getting your certifications and approvals to process your license quickly, 10 Zone business experts are here for you.
Company license cancellation for any type of business needs a no-objection letter from Ministry of Labour, no-objection letter from the immigration department as well as residence cancellation proof for non-Gulf individuals. In some cases, you may need to have a dissolution of partnership contract from the notary public and minutes of annual general meeting to liquidate the company. There are also instances where you also have to appoint a liquidator and announce the liquidation of the company in a newspaper.
A maximum of ten activities can be included under a single license. All the activities included need to be homogenous, based on its activity group outlined as per DED standards.
No, for a foreign investor to obtain a Dubai mainland company license, he is required to have a UAE national to be a partner in the business or a local service agent.
However, in a free zone, 100% foreign ownership is allowed, and there is no requirement for UAE National shareholding or employment. Click here for more information on free zones in Dubai.
A local services agent’s responsibilities and commitments are limited – they help with obtaining and renewing of a license, necessary work permits issued by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, and other government bodies.
The local service agent has the freedom to choose if he wants to contribute, however, he is eligible to participate depending on the agreement.
A local partner is generally needed under a commercial license. He is responsible for the company, invests and shares capital and signs the memorandum of association. A local agent is required for obtaining a professional license. He signs the local service agent agreement for a fixed sum but has no direct involvement, neither any financial liabilities for the company.
Professional Licenses such as sole establishments or Civil Companies, an organisation owned by foreign investors requires a UAE national to be appointed as a local services agent.
This rule is not applicable for activities under Engineering Consultancy, Legal Consultancy and Bank representation office.
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.