Being one of the most fast developing states in the world, Dubai is becoming an attraction to not only many tourists around the world, but also to many businesses. Dubai has a number of free zones, or free economic zones where one can easily operate businesses with fewer regulations. So if you are looking for a guide on how to set up a business in Dubai, you have come to the right forum!
Before any formal step, you should carefully decide what sort of business will you be focusing on. Dubai offers three types of business licenses: commercial, professional and industrial. You will have to see which category best suits your business type. You can choose from the list of activities provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED) by checking their website.
Dubai offers both 100% ownership of businesses as well as sponsored ownerships. If you plan on setting up a business in a free zone, then you can have full ownership of your business. However, if your business is not in the free zones then you will need a sponsorship support from a local Emirati who will own your business with you. Make sure you check all the regulations of each free zone before deciding on the structure of your company: sole proprietorship etc.
Every business needs a catchy and a unique name to differentiate it with other similar companies or businesses. Not only does the name play an important role in attracting consumers and putting an impression on them but being in Dubai, you also need to impress the DED enough to approve your license! Yes, that is correct. You need to come up with a suitable name which gives the DED an idea about what your business does. You can apply for this by submitting a standard application form to the DED and wait for the trade name certificate.
So if you are lucky and successful enough with the above mentioned steps, the DED will give you an initial approval certificate after which you can start the paperwork for the license and go to the General Directorate of Residential and Foreign Affairs for a further approval, if you’re a non national.
Now that you have the certificate you should decide on the minimum capital in the Memorandum of Association. You also need to make with this sponsor, if you are getting one. You should attach your license application and other required legal documents with it and submit it to the DED. These steps may require some fees. The next step would be to wait. It takes some days for the license to be approved.
In the meantime, come up with a suitable location for your business and look for the premises. Try to make a list of suitable premises weighing their costs and benefits with each other. In free zones, you will get assistance to look for a place along with help in setting up amenities.
After completing all the formalities and the requirements, you may get your license. However, you need to pay the associated fees. Once this is done you can start with your business!
Now that you have your license, you may employ people (if need any) and begin your work! However, do keep in mind that some legal forms may require you to hire a manager before registration. So, keep a check on that. Moreover, we would advise you to hire a registration agent who will help out with the long and tedious process since the beginning. Having an expertise at hand can help because opening a business in Dubai may not be as easy as it may seem. Good Luck!