6 Steps to registering a company in Dubai

Learn how to register your company in Dubai

The business landscape in Dubai has attracted envious glances from around the world for many years. Not only is the emirate well-known for its incredibly attractive tax regime – 0% on both personal and corporate income – but it’s also incredibly well placed to trade with every corner of the globe.

On top of this, the UAE as a whole is home to numerous initiatives and incubators aimed at helping businesses grow, along with easy-to-navigate legislation aimed to further support this goal. So much so that the Emirates regularly ranks in or around the top ten in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, winning praise for the ease with which it is possible to establish and run a company here.

Registering a company in Dubai is so straightforward that this in itself is a major pull for many of the entrepreneurs that flock to the region. The whole process is so easy, in fact, that it can be completed in just six simple steps.

How to register a company in Dubai

Step one: Choose your business activity

The first step before establishing your company in the UAE is to choose a business activity. There are over 2,000 activities permitted by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), covering all manner of sectors and sub-sectors.

Learn how to register your company in Dubai

While there is great scope in the activities that you can choose from, it is vital that you detail every activity that you wish to carry out. If you undertake multiple business activities then it is possible to list all of these under one license, depending on the type of license you apply for.

To save you sifting through the thousands of activities to find the right fit, a company setup firm can help with this step, suggesting the best option for your organisation.

Step two: Choosing the right setup

There are two steps to this stage of the process. The first is to establish the type of business license that you require. This is relatively straightforward. If you wish to conduct professional services then you will require a professional services license, it you intend to conduct industrial activities then you require an industrial license and so on.

Next, you need to decide if you would prefer to establish your business in the Dubai mainland or in one of the emirate’s many free zones.

Next, you need to decide if you would prefer to establish your business in the Dubai mainland or in one of the emirate’s many free zones.

There are advantages to each. Set up in the mainland and you are free to trade directly with the local UAE market and take on often lucrative government contracts. Establish your business within a free zone and as well as benefiting from the UAE’s 0% tax rate, you can also take advantage of full customs tax exemption, no currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate 100% of your capital and profit.

Step three: Choosing a business name

It might seem peculiar to include this as a step in itself – it is, after all, a fairly routine event that every business in the world has to undertake.

However, it is worth highlighting when setting up in Dubai as the emirate – and the wider UAE in general – has a strict set of naming conventions that will not be familiar to anyone outside of the region.

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 formation expert can help you with this step, making suggestions and checking that your chosen name is free.

Step four: Make your application

With the nature of your business and your trading name decided, it is time to submit your business license application. This can be done in a couple of ways, depending on the type of setup that you opt for – free zone or mainland.

With the nature of your business and your trading name decided, it is time to submit your business license application.

Free zone company registration in Dubai requires you to submit your completed application – along with some basic documentation about you and your company – directly to your chosen free zone. The free zone that is right for you will depend on your business activities – many are geared specifically towards certain sectors, for example.

If you decide on a mainland setup, you must instead send your application and documentation to the DED. The specific documents required in both cases with depend on a number of factors such as the size and nature of your business and possibly your nationality.

As the application process is very particular, it is again a good idea to work with a company formation expert at this stage. Such companies can handle every aspect of your application for you, liaising with all authorities on your behalf and advising on the type of setup that best suits your needs.

Step five: Apply for visas

With your business license secured you can apply for any visas you may need. This includes your own visa, as well as employee visas for your staff and those of your dependants.

In most cases, the number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your business and where you choose to set up. When it comes to applying for visas for dependants, the process is very straightforward providing you meet the eligibility criteria.

With the nature of your business and your trading name decided, it is time to submit your business license application

Step six: Open a corporate bank account

Opening a bank account as a foreign national in the UAE is not always easy. While there are many local and international banks to choose from in Dubai, all will have different application and acceptance criteria and navigating them can be a minefield.

Working with an expert can help here too. As well as advising on the most suitable bank for your business, such companies can often organise meetings with financial institutions too.

 Starting your business in Dubai

Setting up a business in Dubai is both easy and affordable. The cost of registering a company in Dubai will depend on the type and size of your business. However, if you wish to start up here on a budget, it is certainly doable.

                         Setting up a business in Dubai is both easy and affordable.

Be warned, however: while the application process isn’t difficult, it does require an expert eye. Any errors in your application could lead it to be delayed or rejected. That’s why it’s often a good idea to work with a company setup specialist to help you establish your business.

When you work with a company set up expert 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.

Trade License Zone is a one-stop-shop for business set up and after care solutions in the UAE. For more information, call us on 800 TLZ (800 859) or email us on hello@tlz.ae.