Home Tips How to Set up a Business / Company in Dubai

How to Set up a Business / Company in Dubai

Planning to start your own business or company in Dubai? If so, then you’ll need to consider the type of business, trade name, ownership, fees, location, and other important considerations.

ALSO READ: 7 Great Business Ideas for OFWS

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the main agency that oversees business activities in the emirate. It administers rules and guidelines on licensing, ownership, legal structure, and other aspects — depending on the type of business you plan to set up in Dubai.

How to Set up a Business Company in Dubai 4

Guide to Starting a Business or Company in Dubai

Before anything else, you will need to decide on the following elements of your business:

#1 – Decide on the type of business.
The DED has an extensive list — more than 2100 business activities — for you to choose from, including commercial, industrial, tourism, and professional activities. Take note that the type of business dictates the license you need. What’s more, certain businesses, such as food trading and legal consultancy, requires approval from other government agencies, in addition to the DED.

#2 – Consider ownership and location.
If you are planning to start a business locally (in the Dubai mainland), then you will need to apply for a Dubai business license from the DED. This type of license falls under certain restrictions when it comes to share of ownership, particularly if you are a foreign national.

On the other hand, 100 percent ownership is possible in a free zone. There are more than 45 free zones in the UAE, each catering to specific business activity or category. Depending on your business activity, you can secure a license and set up location in a free zone.

How to Set up a Business Company in Dubai 1

#3 – Formulate a trade name.
The DED has guidelines for creating a trade name, which is an important part of business. Your company name should reflect or indicate the nature of business activity, unless you are setting up a branch of another company. This is just one of the DED’s rules regarding trade names.

#4 – Research on legal structure and rules.
Again, the legal structure of your company depends on business type and location. A legal consultancy firm, for instance, can only be set up as a stand-alone company or branch of a company, but not under sole proprietorship. Each free zone also has its own rules, so you will need to visit the official website of the zone where you plan to locate your business.

How to Set up a Business Company in Dubai 1

#5 – Estimate office costs and other details.
Inevitably, you will need to look into the cost of electricity, water, Internet, and other amenities. And so, checking out possible office locations and asking about the cost of basic utilities is an essential part of your business planning.

#6 – Read about share capital and fees.
Depending on your location, each free zone has its own procedures and fees for business start-ups. Most free zones, for example, require a minimum amount of share capital. In contrast, this may not be necessary if you are setting up a branch of an existing company.

#7 – Plan for your employees.
Depending on your business type, you may need to plan for employee hiring. Most businesses require the hiring of an operations manager before the DED approves registration. Meanwhile, in the free zones, you will need to sponsor your employees as well as provide them with visas and required documents. Again, each free zone has its own rules regarding company structure.

How to Set up a Business Company in Dubai 1

#8 – Consider getting local support.
DED licenses require foreign nationals to have local agents, partners, or sponsors. This may not be necessary in the free zones; nonetheless, having a local agent could still serve as a strong support for your business activities in the emirate.

ALSO READ: List of Freezone Areas in UAE

DISCLAIMER: The above details are presented for information-sharing purposes only. For more information about setting up a business or company in Dubai, please visit the DED official website.

We're on YouTube!
Please subscribe to the Dubai OFW YouTube Channel for updates and tips!

Get FREE Dubai Updates by entering your email address:

Don't forget to check your email to activate your subscription!


Enjoy Your Favourite Songs and Movies with these Speakers

Due to the current health crisis, attending a live concert or watching a movie in the cinema is not advisable these days. Unless you...

Keep Your House Clean with these Floor Mops

Amid the ongoing health crisis, keeping our homes clean and germ-free has become more vital than ever before. “One who maintains cleanliness, keeps away...

Doing Your Laundry is Easy with these Items

Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth (a.k.a. extremely wealthy), most likely you have to do your own laundry, especially...

6 Top Selling LED Monitors for Your Home Office

The current health crisis has led to many people having to work from home, setting up their own home office complete with computer tables,...

7 Best Selling Board Games to Get You Out of Boredom

Under the current circumstances, many of us have to stay at home, except when buying food and other essentials. A lot of people have...

Deliciously Hot! Famous Food Vloggers Try Out Double Spicy Korean Fire Noodles

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a hot and spicy Korean fire noodle challenge going around, and it’s bound to the test the limits...

6 Best Keyboard and Mouse Combos for Your Home Office

Are you one of the many people who are currently working from home? If so, then most likely you have set up your very...