In the past two decades, Dubai has become a global business hotspot. Aspiring and skilled entrepreneurs from across the world desire to start their business in Dubai.
The reason for this is clear – the government has worked tirelessly to make the Emirates an extremely favorable corporate environment. These efforts include:
- State of the art infrastructure
- Tax-free environment
- Low capital investment requirements
- Various company structure options (free zone, mainland, and offshore)
- Strategic location and numerous ports for international trade
- Licenses for commercial, manufacturing, professional, and service businesses
- Transparent corporate laws and regulations
Clearly, running a business in Dubai has multiple advantages. However, aspiring business owners often shy away from making the big leap to form a business in the Emirates due to the lengthy and seemingly complicated setup procedures.
Luckily, company formation in Dubai has been made easy through IBG Consulting, the leading company formation agency in Dubai. We take care of the entire business setup process, from beginning to end, giving you time to focus on perfecting your offered products and services without worrying about the cumbersome paperwork and complex legal procedures.
We break down the company formation process into few easy steps. They are:
1. Get a (Free!) Consultation
The first step to your company formation journey in Dubai is a free consultation! This step is easy: we will get to know you, find out your business objectives, and share your vision for your company in Dubai. This way, we will be able to identify the best license package, guide you through the business setup process and help you choose the best jurisdiction and company structure to meet your current and future business goals.
2. Select Your Company Type & Jurisdiction
The second step is to choose the company type and jurisdiction for your business in Dubai. This will depend on your company’s goals, priorities, industry, business operations, and trade requirements. The main jurisdictions in Dubai to choose from are:
- Mainland – allows onshore trading. 100% foreign ownership in the mainland is available.
- Offshore – Dubai-based business that you can operate from your home country
- Free Zone – no taxation, complete ownership of business, however, operation is limited, allowing trading activities within the free zone and abroad.
Each jurisdiction has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons to your business activities and goals and decide accordingly.
3. Obtain Your License
Once you have established where you want to setup your business in Dubai, the next step is to obtain your trade license. If you opt for a company formation in the mainland, you must obtain your trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) of your chosen Emirate. Should you wish for a free zone setup, then the license will be issued by the relevant free zone authority.
Here is an overview of the steps for getting a trade license in Dubai:
- Select a name for your company. The name must be aligned with the government regulations. This means that you cannot associate your name with any religious or political body.
- Choose the type of business activity that you plan on carrying out. Generally, you can carry out up to 10 business activities within one trade license
- Research different kinds of trade licenses and pick one that meets your requirements (commercial, professional, manufacturing, etc…)
- Complete the application form, fill it up and submit it to the relevant authority for initial approval of your company.
- Gather all necessary documentation and paperwork, including the application, local sponsor Memorandum of Association (MOA), tenancy contract, etc.
- Lease an office space that best suits your needs and obtain a tenancy contract from the Ejari or the Dubai Land Department. A valid office address is necessary in order to complete the registration process
- Get your tenancy contract approved by the Ejari.
- Submit the complete documentation and application to the Department of Economic Development (DED), in case of mainland setup, or to the relevant free zone authority for free zone company formation.
- Wait for the final approval and get your trade license fee voucher
- Pay the appropriate fees. The fees will depend on your type of license and business activities
After you receive the trade license, you can move on to the next step in the company formation process, which involves opening a corporate bank account, obtaining your Emirates ID card, and being issued residency visa for yourself, your family, and employees.
Typically, the major requirements that you would need to present during the trade license application process are as follows:
- A Department of Economic Development signed letter provides initial approval for the business
- Completed application form, signed and attested by the company’s legal representative.
- The tenancy contract for your office attested by the Ejari
- Copies of the passports of all stakeholders of the company.
- Memorandum of Association with a local sponsor (in case of Mainland company formation)
The trade license application process may seem long, but with IBG Consulting, you need not to worry of the entire process. From getting initial approval to completing paperwork and gathering all required documentation, we can complete the trade license application process in no time!
4. Open Your Bank Account
Once you have received the trade license for your business in Dubai, you are eligible to open a corporate bank account. Dubai is home to both local and international banks, giving you plenty of options to choose from. IBG Consulting can link you up with the best financial institutions and take care of the corporate bank account opening process.
5. Visa Processing & Stamping
In order to legally live and operate your business in Dubai, you must have a valid residency visa. Therefore, visa processing and stamping is the last step in the business formation process.
You must obtain a residency for yourself, as well as your family and all employees and shareholders in your business.
The process for obtaining a residency visa is as follows:
- Register to the E-channel services in order to apply for the residency visa
- Activate your entry permit, by obtaining a temporary employment visa which will be valid for 60 days.
- After getting your temporary visa, you must apply for a change of status.
- Complete the medical examination. The medical exam includes screening for infectious diseases via a blood test, as well as a chest X-ray. Once the medical test is complete, you will receive the result in three days
- Receive your Emirates ID card. The Emirates ID is an important document to start your corporate or personal bank account. Additionally, it will be required for a number of official uses as well.
- The final stage involves visa stamping. You will be getting the visa sticker plastered on your passport. This stage may take up to 15 days.
The total process for obtaining the residency visa can take up to three months. Once you have received your visa, you can move on to obtaining visas for your employees, family and anyone else you wish to sponsor.
This concludes the Dubai business setup procedure. Once all these steps are completed, you are free to conduct business operations in the Emirates. Keep in mind that you must renew your trade license annually in order to continue operating in the UAE and to avoid any penalties and fines.
Our dedicated teams at IBG can take care of all PRO services and trade license renewal, even after the initial business setup, so you never have to worry about running into any legal complications while running your company.
Ready to get started? Simply contact us here at IBG Consulting today and we will happily walk you through the company formation process and setup your Dubai business in no time!
Book a free consultation with us today!