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Last Updated on May 8, 2023

Registration of a Company in Dubai

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Dubai is one of the fastest-growing business hubs in the world, offering businesses lucrative opportunities and an excellent ecosystem for growth. If you’re looking to register your company in Dubai, this article outlines the steps you need to take.

Steps to Establish a Company in the UAE

  1. Choose Your Business Activity
    The first step in registering your company in Dubai is to choose your business activity. Dubai offers several business activities, such as trade, manufacturing, services, and more. You will need to provide precise details about your business activity so that you can obtain the right license.
  2. Choose Your Legal Structure
    Dubai allows businesses to register under several legal structures, such as sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), and free zone company. Each legal structure has its benefits and drawbacks, so it is essential to understand each option to make an informed decision.
  3. Get Approval from the Department of Economic Development
    Once you have chosen your business activity and legal structure, you will need to apply for approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This process involves obtaining a trade name certificate and an initial approval certificate.
  4. Reserve a Trade Name
    You will need to reserve a unique trade name for your company. The trade name must be approved by the DED, and it should reflect the type of business activity you plan to undertake.
  5. Obtain Initial Approval
    After reserving your trade name, you will need to obtain initial approval from the DED. This approval confirms that your company complies with all the legal requirements for registration.
  6. Prepare Your Memorandum of Association (MOA)
    Your MOA outlines the essential details of your company, including the name, purpose, activities, and capital. It also specifies the ownership structure, the distribution of profits and losses, and the roles and responsibilities of the company’s managers.
  7. Obtain Your Business License
    Once your MOA is complete, you can obtain your business license. You will need to submit your application for a business license to the DED and provide all the required documentation.
  8. Register with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    After obtaining your business license, you will need to register your company with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The registration process involves submitting your company’s details and paying the required fees.
  9. Register for VAT
    If your company meets the annual revenue threshold, you will need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a tax on the consumption of goods and services, and it is mandatory for companies in Dubai to register for VAT if their annual revenue exceeds the threshold set by the government.
  10. Open a Corporate Bank Account
    You will need to open a corporate bank account to conduct your business transactions. To open an account, you will need to provide several documents, including your business license, MOA, and proof of address.
  11. Hire Employees
    If you plan to hire employees, you will need to obtain work visas for them. The process involves submitting the necessary documents and obtaining approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  12. Find Office Space
    Finally, you will need to find office space for your company. Dubai offers several options, such as serviced offices, co-working spaces, and commercial properties. Choose a space that meets your business needs and budget.
    In conclusion, registering a company in Dubai involves several steps, from choosing your business activity and legal structure to obtaining a business license and hiring employees. Make sure to follow these steps carefully to ensure a smooth registration process.

Establish Companies in the UAE

Officel Website
Registration of a Company in Dubai what you should know

Tips for Registering a Company in Dubai

Now that you know the steps involved in registering a company in Dubai, here are some tips to help you navigate the process smoothly:

1. Seek Professional Help The process of registering a company in Dubai can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal system and business environment. Consider seeking professional help from business consultants or lawyers who specialize in company registration.

2. Research the Market Before starting any business in Dubai, it’s essential to research the market thoroughly. Identify your competitors, understand their business models, and analyze the demand for your products or services.

3. Understand the Legal Requirements Dubai has specific legal requirements for registration, and non-compliance can result in hefty fines or penalties. Make sure to read up on the requirements and ensure that your business complies with all the regulations.

4. Build a Strong Network Networking is crucial in Dubai’s business landscape, so make an effort to build strong connections with other professionals in your industry. Attend business events, join industry associations, and participate in trade shows to expand your network.

5. Be Patient Registering a company in Dubai can take time, so be patient throughout the process. Some steps may take longer than expected due to bureaucracy or other factors beyond your control. Keep calm and stay focused on your business goals.

6. Renew Your License After obtaining your business license, you will need to renew it annually. You will need to provide the necessary documentation and pay the required fees to ensure that your company remains in good standing.

7. Comply with Local Laws and Regulations As a registered company in Dubai, you must comply with local laws and regulations. Make sure to stay up-to-date with any changes to the legal framework and ensure that your business operations are in line with all relevant requirements.

8. Consider Hiring a Professional Services Firm Registering a company in Dubai can be a complex process, and it may be beneficial to hire a professional services firm to assist you. A firm can help you navigate the legal framework, obtain the necessary approvals, and ensure that your business complies with all local laws and regulations.

By following these steps and seeking professional assistance if necessary, you can successfully register your company in Dubai and take advantage of the many business opportunities that the city has to offer.

Frequently asked questions

Is possible for foreign investors to start a new company in the UAE?

Yes. Foreign investors can start companies in Dubai or choose a Dubai free zone. Complete foreign ownership is permissible in Dubai free zones.

What is a UAE free zone?

This refers to a free trade zone that has specific geographic limits in each emirate. The free zones are regions where international businesses can set up and enjoy 100% ownership.

In Dubai, what company structures are possible?

Technically, there is no limit to the company structure an individual can incorporate in Dubai. Company registration in Dubai is under the categories: Dubai mainland company, free zone establishment, or offshore company. Generally, within the free zone itself, there are two types of companies:

  • Free zone limited liability companies
  • Free zone establishment

What are the steps to accomplish company registration in a UAE free trade zone?

  • Obtain necessary permits from the relevant authorities.
  • Choose and reserve a company name or trade name.
  • Obtain documents of incorporation.
  • Notarise documents at the public courts.
  • Send an application for a trade license.
  • Register the company for VAT (if required).
  • Obtain a business visa.

What is the minimum share capital to incorporate a company in Dubai?

Share capital requirements might vary depending on the nature of the company you want to start. Limited companies in Dubai do not have a minimum share capital requirement. However, public and private joint stock companies must maintain a share capital of at least 10 million AED or 2 million AED respectively.

What are the types of UAE business or Trade licenses?

There are four different types of licenses in the UAE:

  • A Commercial license that is issued to a company engaged in a trading activity.
  • An industrial license that is given to a company whose primary activity involves manufacturing or industrial activity.
  • A Professional license that is issued to service providers, artisans, craftsmen, and other professionals.
  • Tourism license typically issued to travel, hospitality, and tourism companies.

How much time does THE registration in A Dubai FREE ZONE process TAKE?

Depending on a number of factors, including whether or not you have a professional UAE company registration service provider, it can take anywhere from 1- 4 weeks.

Do I have to visit the UAE to undergo the company registration process?

No, you don’t have to physically travel to the UAE to process your company registration. Essentially, you can easily higher a local agent to help you with the entire process.

How can I find the right agent to help me with the company registration process?

There are many qualified agents whose portfolios and business contacts are available through a simple google search. Alternatively, you might ask for a recommendation from the Dubai authorities.

Does my company require a resident director?

No, this is not a requirement for the company registration in Dubai process.

Do I need to rent premises in Dubai for my business activities?

Aside from a Dubai offshore company, others must rent premises in the UAE.

Will I undergo a full audit if a set up a business in the UAE?

Yes, most business entities that operate in the middle east must submit audited financial statements.

What are the tax implications of company registration in Dubai?

Company registration in Dubai is typically a guarantee of tax exemption. This includes exemption from capital gains tax.

However, the case might be different depending on the volume and nature of the business activity. Consequently, some companies are liable for value-added tax (VAT) or customs duties.

Which UAE business banks are the best to open a bank account?

Opening a corporate bank account in Dubai is not a challenging process. There are many banks in the UAE that provide excellent service.

The most notable companies to visit for bank account opening are Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi commercial bank, HSBC Middle east UAE, BNP Paribus Dubai, and others.

What length of time does a UAE residence visa issued for business activities last?

A UAE residence visa lasts an average of 2-3 years.


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