Company formation in Dubai

Company formation in Dubai

If you’re seeking for a space for your business in a strategically well-positioned marketplace, you’ll no doubt have considered company formation in Dubai.

The emirate is popular with entrepreneurs from every corner of the world and it’s not hard to see why. Once reliant on oil production for 50% of its gross domestic product (GDP), Dubai now makes less than 1% of its GDP from oil. It’s a much more diverse economy today- with a host of industries in the ascendant, from health and hospitality to trade and technology.

The business environment in Dubai is welcoming too. It owns a host of incubators, hubs, and initiatives designed to help companies grow, not to mention one of the most favorable tax regimes in the world. Add to that a strategic spot in the heart of the Middle East, perfectly placed to do business with the vast and emerging markets of Europe, Asia, and North Africa

What truly sets Dubai aside from other metropolitan cities, however, is the ease with which entrepreneurs can set up a business here. The whole process, of application to trading, usually only takes a matter of weeks and, in some cases, it is even possible to set up a Dubai-registered company without setting foot in the UAE.

Company formation in Dubai

The process is so simple that it can be completed in just six steps.

Company formation Process

It’s recommended to seek expert advice from a company formation specialist to guide you through the process, but this outline will help explain just how easy it is to establish a business in Dubai.

  1. Choose your business activity:

An obvious starting point, however, it’s best to be clear about the nature of the business you want to set up in Dubai before you go any further. There are many permitted activities listed by the Department of Economic Development (DED), including everything from agriculture and manufacturing to retail and consultancy. The reason it’s important to establish your business activity upfront is that it may have a bearing on where you set up. Some business types, for example, are better suited to the mainland as opposed to free zones. Likewise, if you wish to launch an import/export company, it may be helpful to set up near the airport or port.

  1. Deciding between free zone or mainland:

Once you’ve decided on the nature of your business, it’s time to choose where to set up shop. The two main options in Dubai are mainland setups moreover free zone setups. Both has its own benefits: mainland setups are more adapted to businesses that wish to trade directly with the local UAE economy, while free zones cannot trade directly with the local market only offer a host of other benefits such as 100% foreign ownership and import and export tax exemption. Another factor worth remembering is that to trade from the mainland you may require to find a UAE national to sponsor you and that would command an annual fee.

  1. Selecting a company name:

This step is usually overlooked but it is hugely significant, especially here in the UAE. Not only your company name stick in the memory and convey your brand values, but in Dubai, it must also conform to several naming conventions. Offensive language is strictly forbidden, as are religious references, or indeed references to any known organizations, eg ‘FBI’ or ‘Mafia’). Only full personal names can be included in your company name – so if you need to name your business after yourself, both first name and last name are required. If it comes to writing your company name in different languages, it must be written as it is sounded out, rather than translated. You’ll also require to check if your chosen name is available to register. A company formation expert can verify this for you.

  1. Submitting your license application:

By the moment you come to this step, things begin to move very fast, so you need to be fully prepared. If you’ve chosen to set up in the mainland, you can apply directly to the DED and, providing you meet the eligibility criteria, you could be registered within just 90 minutes. It’s that straightforward. Free zone license applications are almost as speedy, often issued in as little as two working days, and you’ll usually only need a passport copy and a few details to get started. As this is such an important stage of company formation in Dubai, it is best to work with a company formation expert, who will take care of your application for you so the whole process only takes a few hours of your time.

  1. Visas:

A company formation professional can take care of your visa applications too. It is possible to apply for visas for you, your employees and certain family members and domestic staff – the exact number will depend on your business activity and whether you have chosen to set up in the mainland or in a free zone.

  1. Opening a corporate bank account:

The final step. Once you’ve successfully applied for your license and established your business, you’ll be able to set up your corporate bank account. The application process for this is quick and simple too. You may approach any local or international bank by yourself, but if your business is in a free zone, the administration staff will advise you on the best bank to satisfy your needs and can even arrange meetings in-branch for you. You can also approach a company formation specialist to provide the same service.

Ready to get started?

Setting up your company in Dubai is easy, especially if you work with a company formation specialist. While the six steps above may strike you as a lot of work, an expert will take care of all the heavy lifting for you. There’s no need to meet with or apply to countless government departments and authorities to get the job done, all you need to do is submit some basic documents and work with a specialist who can help get everything finalized.

Your new company will be trading before you know it.

Starting your own business has never been easier. Arab Business Consultant takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 3336690, or send an email to

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