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Business Setup in Dubai / Company Formation in Dubai

What is the UAE Mainland, Free Zone and Offshore?
  • The UAE Mainland is an economic zone or jurisdiction which companies can run their businesses from. Companies based in the UAE Mainland are licensed by each Emirate’s own Department of Economic Development (DED). Setting up a business in the UAE Mainland offers the ability to trade without any restrictions, inside and outside the UAE.
  • The UAE Free Zone, similarly, is the jurisdiction governed by the Free Zone Authority. The Free Zone provides a wide range of benefits ranging from 100% ownership, tax exemptions, furnished office spaces and more – making it a highly desirable license for businesses to obtain.
  • The UAE Offshore is the third jurisdiction or economic zone in which investors can set up their companies in the UAE without their physical presence. They can also conduct their operations that take place inside UAE, while being outside UAE.
What are the benefits of setting up a free zone company in Dubai or a Freezone company in the UAE?

Benefits associated with free zone company formation are listed below.

  • Complete foreign ownership: foreign investor does not need a UAE national sponsor for company formation
  • Absence of currency regulations: the government will not impose any kind of currency-related restrictions on foreign transactions
  • Import and export duty exemption: for free zone companies, import and export duty is not applicable
  • Tax benefits: a free zone company has a major benefit of 100% tax exclusion
  • Smooth labor recruitment: A free zone company can recruit foreign nationals, and the company can conduct this recruitment without any formalities 
  • Trouble-free immigration process: immigration facilities for free zone companies are efficient and saves time
  • Readily available workspaces: in the case of free zone companies, warehouses and workplaces are easily available
How can I start my own business in UAE?

 To start your own business in UAE, you should have a thorough knowledge of the initial cost of business setup and market trends in the UAE. Setting up a business in a free zone can be a bit different from that of the mainland. Here are the few steps that you should take to start a successful business in UAE. 


  • Determine the type of your business; legal entity 
  • Choose a trading name that you can get registered 
  • Apply for a business license to start operations legally 
  • Decide whether you want to lease or buy office space 
  • Try to get preapprovals from authorized bodies 
  • Comply with the rules of the respective territory 
  • Register your business after getting initial approval. You need to pay a minimal amount of registration and license fees.


These are some general steps that every business owner has to take to start a business in UAE. However, certain activities may differ depending upon the area in which you want to set up the business.

What are the different types of business licenses that can be applied for?
  • Commercial license: Businesses involved in the trading of goods are issued commercial licenses. Few business activities that fall under the commercial license are the trading of goods and commodities, manufacturing and exporting products, real estate, logistics, and more.
  • Tourism license: Businesses dealing in the travel and tourism industry, such as travel agents, tour operators, hospitality industry, etc. are required to obtain a tourism license.
  • Professional license: The professional license is a mandatory license issued to those individuals looking to engage in providing any type of service. Since this is a service-oriented license, it’s crucial for individuals to submit proof of expertise or some form of educational qualification to certify their knowledge in the field.
  • Industrial license: businesses that are involved in industry-related services such as manufacturing, converting natural resources, or altering raw materials. A key requirement to obtain or work with an industrial license is that a business must have a warehouse within the UAE.
Can I set up a branch for a foreign company in Dubai?

You are mainly required to have the documents of your parent company, or holding company attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to kickstart your branch setup process. After that, it’s important you reserve a trade name, get approval from the Ministry of Economy and the Department of Economic Development (DED). Once that’s done, you need to lease an office space, and you can start your operations in the country.

Do I need to rent an office space to be issued a business license?

On paper, it is required for you to have an office address in order to have a business license issued for your business. However, you don’t necessarily require an office space to apply for a business license. Depending on your business activity, if you don’t require an office to carry out your day-to-day activities, you can obtain a virtual office license that will serve as an address you can use on your business license, which can also be the space in which you can have business meetings, if required, and can use it as a mailing address too.

How much does it cost to set up a company in Dubai?

There are different prices for different Free-Zones. It also depends on the activity and amount of visa’s you require. Additionally, there are costs such as Trade License, Establishment Card, Visa, Office Expense, etc.

You can expect to pay +AED 25.000 all inclusive for a simple business setup in Dubai and company formation in UAE.

How can I open a bank account in Dubai/UAE?

To open a corporate bank account for your business, you are required to have an multiple documents, incl personal bank statement, residency in UAE, visa, etc. For a personal bank account, a residence visa/employment visa is required.

Is it good to invest in Dubai?

Yes, investing in Dubai can be one of the best decisions of your life. Dubai is the world’s fastest-growing market and has one of the most stable economies in the world. It’s a tax-free city which makes it exceptionally attractive for everyone. Many people from all over the world come, work and invest in the property sector in Dubai. Because of free zones, foreign investors keen to invest in Dubai can take benefits from the amazing infrastructure. It has many tourist attractions like beaches, five-star hotels, shopping malls.

The high standard of living, tax-free income, great weather conditions, world-class infrastructure, free zones to attract investors, strict policies against crimes, regulated market, mature and stable property market make it a great option to invest.

The MENA region is among the most transparent real estate market. The government is striving to improve transparency to increase the level of foreign investment. The Open Data Law makes an effort to promote the non-sensitive data between non-government and government bodies to ensure that the investors can make an informed decision. 

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