Business setup services in Dubai – 2019 guide

Business setup services

With tens of thousands of businesses setting up in Dubai every year, it’s hardly surprising that the emirate is home to many business setup services. However, not all business setup services are the same.

Some will provide specific advice on company incorporation in Dubai, others will specialise in a certain industry or setup type while others offer a full service – including making and managing your license and visa applications on your behalf.

Also known as company formation specialists, business setup companies provide a valuable service, helping entrepreneurs to understand the specific implications and requirements of the varying company types and locations available in the UAE. Below are just some of the topics that a reputable company formation expert will cover when helping you to establish your business.

Business setup in Dubai

One of the first steps in the process of company incorporation in Dubai is to outline your business activities. There are thousands to choose from covering a wide range of sectors and sub-sectors.

This is an important first step on your journey to UAE business ownership as the types of activities you wish to undertake will impact where you can set up and the type of license that you require.

A business setup expert can save you time by helping you to ascertain the permitted activities that best suit your business.

Next, you’ll need to choose a company name. While this may be an entirely personal choice elsewhere in the world, here in the UAE it requires an expert eye due to some rather particular naming conventions.

When choosing a name for your Dubai business, you must keep in mind that it cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language, nor any references to Allah or Islam. If you wish to include your name in your company name, you must use it in full rather than just your surname or initials.

Finally, you must check that your chosen name is available to be registered. Again, a company setup expert can help you with this step, making suggestions and checking that your chosen name is free. 

What are the types of business licenses available in Dubai?

With your activities defined and your company name chosen, it’s time to apply for your business license. There are several types readily available in the UAE. The most common are commercial, industrial and professional.

In simple terms, if you wish to manufacture goods you will need an industrial license, if you wish to trade goods you will require a commercial license, and If you wish to provide services you will usually need a professional services license.

Another license option that is fast growing in popularity is the freelance permit. This allows you to start a registered business in your own name. The freelance permit can be converted to a full license at a later date if required. Once again, a company formation company can help with this step, advising on the best license type for your industry and circumstances.

Types of company formation in Dubai

Once you know which license you require, you must now decide on your preferred company setup type. This best fit for you will depend on many factors including your business activities, company size and budget.

The most popular setup types are:

Free zone company

As the name suggests, a free zone company does its business from a free zone. Often regarded as the most cost-effective way to do business in the UAE, free zones offer a number of attractive advantages to business owners.

Along with 0% corporate and personal income tax, Dubai’s free zones also offer:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • No paid-up share capital requirements
  • Physical presence in the UAE not required for incorporation
  • No NOC requirement from current visa sponsor
  • Low startup and operational costs
  • No mandatory office rental requirements
  • No visa restrictions
  • No annual audit requirement
  • No currency restrictions
  • Access to state-of-the-art facilities

Offshore company

An offshore company offers many of the same benefits as a free zone setup. However, while free zone companies can trade from within the free zone, offshore setups are not permitted to carry out any business activities within the UAE.

Offshore companies are best suited to entrepreneurs that value added confidentiality and greater tax efficiency but who do not need to trade within the UAE.

Mainland company

A mainland company allows you to set up anywhere in the UAE mainland. While it does not offer many of the benefits of a free zone setup – such as customs and import/export tax exemption and freedom to repatriate profits – it does allow you to trade directly with the UAE market without the need for a local distributor.

Business setup services in Dubai

While the process of starting a company in Dubai has been designed with simplicity in mind, it does take some in-depth knowledge of the UAE and its many customs and regulations.

That’s why it’s always advisable to acquire the services of a business setup company who can not only advise on the process but also seek out the most suitable license and setup type for your business, based on your needs and your budget.

When you use business setup services, you also gain peace of mind that your license and visa applications are free from errors and omissions – both of which can lead to delays and rejection.

When you work with a company setup specialist, all you need to provide is some basic documentation and a little information about the nature of your business. Then, sit back and let the experts take care of the rest – managing your license and visa applications, communicating with all relevant departments and authorities, and reporting back when you’re ready to start trading. It really is that simple.