The Definitive Guide to Initiating Your Business in Dubai

Business in Dubai

Dubai is like a global magnet for business! Many businessmen and industrialists from all over the world are choosing this city to start their companies. Being an ideal location for business, companies come here with dreams of growth and success. It has a good mix of trading, tourism, construction, and financial services. There are many benefits to having a Business in Dubai including access to a wide and diverse consumer market, a good strategic location that provides access to many Western countries including Asia and Africa, and a business-friendly environment. Additionally, the UAE government also offers additional benefits to companies such as 100% foreign ownership, no corporate tax, and no currency restrictions.

Benefits of starting a Business in Dubai:

If you are looking to start your own business in Dubai, we can help you navigate the process. In which we will provide you all the support. There are many advantages of starting a business in Dubai, some of them are:

Diverse Consumer Market & Workforce

Businesses in Dubai provide wide access to a large and diverse consumer market. The population of Dubai is about three million people, and with its best strategic geographical location, it acts like a bridge or a gateway to the larger Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which makes Dubai an ideal location for many businessmen and Entrepreneurs to expand their reach and enters into the new market.

Diverse Consumer Market & Workforce

Strategically Situated

The strategic location of Dubai provides another advantage of doing business in the city. Dubai is located in the heart of the Middle East and acts as a gateway to Europe, Asia and Africa, making it an ideal location for businesses seeking easy access to trade modules and expanding their international reach.

Over 1,000 daily flights make the city one of the busiest airports in the world, with thousands of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport every day. It makes it easier for businesses to transport goods and services to other parts of the world.

Tax Incentives

Apart from its strategic location, Dubai also offers tax-friendly incentives for businesses. Dubai has no personal income tax, and a corporate tax rate of just 9%, effective from June 2023. Additionally, many businesses in Dubai are not required to pay corporate tax, making Dubai a top choice for those looking to keep taxes low and profits high. What’s more, the city has several free zones, which offer additional tax benefits and incentives for businesses. Moreover, several special zones allow businesses to operate with 100% foreign ownership which provides foreign investors to enjoy tax incentives and customs duty benefits.


After starting a business in Dubai, you can also take UAE residency. The benefit will be that you will have visa-free travel to certain countries, access to a UAE bank account, and access to UAE public services, along with UAE residency. You will also benefit from living in a country with an international and developing economy and will be able to support family members.

Steps to start a business in Dubai:

A businessman or Entrepreneur in Dubai can easily apply online to start his own business on the UAE mainland within 15 minutes. Starting a business in Dubai mainly consists of ordinary ways that requires a series of steps, procedures, and approvals from the Economic Department and other government entities. This page provides such steps and the procedure to start a business in Dubai:

Starting a business online

The UAE government has introduced the Bashr service to start business in Dubai. Bashr is an integrated service, which enables businessmen and entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in the UAE within 15 minutes through an online platform. The platform is connected to federal and local government agencies, which provide commercial licensing services.

Starting a business regularly

To start a business in ordinary ways consist of series of steps which are given below:

Identify business activity

Business activity is the most important steps in starting business in Dubai, which is the basis for selecting the legal form and type of license, whether commercial, industrial or professional, etc. There are six types of licenses which includes:

  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Professional
  • Tourism
  • Agricultural
  • Occupational 

It is important to note that an investment/business can have more than one business activity and, there are more than 2,000 business activities to choose from in the UAE.

Select the legal form

This part of the procedure i.e. selecting legal form is the most important part of the requirements for starting a business in Dubai. Furthermore, it is the basis for identifying applicable laws and regulations. The business activity should match with the legal form. In the UAE, a businessman or entrepreneur can select one of these legal forms:

  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Public joint stock company (PJSC)
  • Private joint stock company (PrJSC)
  • Civil company
  • Local company branch
  • GCC company branch
  • Foreign company branch
  • Free zone company branch
  • Sole establishment
  • Holding companies.

Register the trade name

The name of trade distinguishes one business from another. It also provides information about the nature and the form of the business. The businessman should apply for the name of trade through the economic department, which will be applied through its website or mobile application to start a business in Dubai.

Provisions for selecting the trade name:

The name of the trade will be registered by the local Department of Economic Development, while the trademark will be registered by the Ministry of Economy. The name of Trade certificates are renewable. A payment voucher or transaction number will be issued during the application process, which will be used as a reference when you pay.

The trade name must:

  • Do not include the names or logos of any external organization, religion, governing authority, or organization.
  • The type of activity and the legal status of the company or business entity shall be compatible.
  • The name of trade should be followed by the business structure acronym which is legal form of the company which includes: LLC, EST, PJSC, PrJSC.
  • This should not be previously registered.
  • The trader name should not violate the public morals or the public order of the country.

 Initial approval

The UAE government has no objection to setting up a business in the country which means you have got initial approval. After getting initial approval, the businessman or entrepreneur is allowed to proceed with the next steps of setting up the business. However, it does not authorize the conduct or practice of business activity. Foreign businessmen or entrepreneurs must obtain the approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs before getting the initial approval. Moreover, some of the business activities may acquire additional approvals from government entities before applying for the initial approval. These include activities related to legal affairs, security affairs and financial securities and commodities.


A completed and signed Memorandum of Association (MoA) or Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA) of the business is required which depends on the legal form of the business. It is important to note that UAE-based law firms, courts and notary public prepare and attest MoAs and agreements. Moreover, that business which is completely owned by non-GCC residents also requires a local service agent from the UAE. The Appointment of a local service agent will be under an agreement which is attested by the notary public or the court. Following business legal forms are required by a Memorandum of Association:

  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Public joint stock company (PJSC)
  • Private joint stock company (PrJSC).

To start a business in Dubai, you must have a physical place to operate. The premises and location of the business must comply with the requirements which were defined by the respective emirate’s Department of Economic Development, and the land planning regulations of the local municipalities. The rental agreement of the office and warehouse must be provided. Sometimes you have to attest the required documents, as well as this agreement must be registered with Ejari.

Get additional government approvals:

Sometimes additional approvals are required from government agencies that regulate business activities. Examples of such activities organized by the Ministry are as follows:

Ministry of Interior

The approval of General transport – driving schools, fire equipment, alarm and safety systems, used-car dealers, used auto parts, and car rental, will be issued by the Ministry of Interior

Ministry of Justice

Legal activities and legal consultancy

Local municipal department

Architectural and engineering affairs

Executive Council

The Approval of Travel and tourism, charter trading, general services, ship and maritime agencies, car clubs, charter air transport and foreign company branches will be issued by Executive council.

Ministry of Economy

Insurance activities and insurance consultancy

Local health departments

Health-related activities

Supreme Petroleum Council

Supreme Petroleum Council issued anOnshore and offshore gas and oil-field services and onshore and offshore oil drilling operations

Collect the business license

After completing the above steps, the businessman can obtain a business license through the service centers of economic departments or their websites.

Essential Documents for Acquiring a License across All Legal Structures:

It is important to note that you have to pay for your trade license within 30 days of receiving the payment voucher. The application will be canceled in case of non-payment in a specific period. The essential documents which are required for acquiring a license for all legal forms are given below:

  • Receipt of Initial Approval and all Documents Previously Submitted
  • Lease Contract Copy Validated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in Dubai
  • Duly Attested Memorandum of Association (Applicable to All Company Types)
  • Necessary Approvals from Relevant Government Entities, as Appropriate.
  • Attested Service Agent Contract (Required for Civil Establishments and Companies 100% Owned by Non-GCC Nationals) in the UAE Involving a Local Service Agent.

The Abu Dhabi Business Centre offers entrepreneurs a quick and convenient instant license service. This allows individuals to initiate and acquire their commercial license online, eliminating the need for a visit to the service center. Dubai Virtual Commercial City programme (VCC) which were introduced by the department of Economy and Tourism along with other Dubai government entities. The purpose of this program is to start a virtual business in the UAE, even if entrepreneurs and freelancers do not live in the UAE.

Open an Account for Your Business:

The next step is to set up a business bank account after receiving of documents from the government of UAE. Several local and international banks are present in the United Arab Emirates. The banks of UAE include the Commercial Bank of Abu Dhabi, Emirates NBD, and global giants like HSBC, Citibank, and Barclays. To start a business in Dubai, it is very important to have a business bank account. The process of opening a bank account in the UAE typically takes two to four weeks.


Dubai warmly welcomes businessmen and entrepreneurs to start an exciting business journey. Initiating a business in Dubai requires careful planning and execution. To confidently start your venture, familiarize yourself with different business structures, the formation process, and the necessary licenses. The economic landscape of Dubai offers huge opportunities for growth and prosperity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the key industries and business sectors in Dubai, and how do I choose the right one for my business?
    • Provide information on the prominent industries in Dubai, such as tourism, real estate, technology, and logistics. This FAQ should guide entrepreneurs in selecting a suitable sector for their business based on market trends, opportunities, and personal interests.
  2. What is the process for obtaining a business visa and residency in Dubai?
    • Address the procedures and criteria for obtaining a business visa and residency in Dubai. Include information on the different types of visas available for entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors, as well as any financial requirements or sponsorship obligations.
  3. What are the taxation and financial considerations for businesses in Dubai?
    • Offer insights into the tax structure in Dubai, including corporate tax rates, VAT, and any other relevant financial considerations. This FAQ should help entrepreneurs understand the financial implications of running a business in Dubai and how to manage their finances effectively.
  4. How can I find suitable office space and recruit local talent for my business in Dubai?
    • Guide finding office spaces, whether through leasing or other options, and offer insights into the local job market for hiring employees. This FAQ should cover aspects such as labor laws, recruitment procedures, and resources available for entrepreneurs looking to establish a presence in Dubai.

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