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Company Formation in Dubai

First things first, this read will give you an overall idea what it takes to form a company in Dubai. What a consultant works on while working for your company formation in Dubai. This read will enable you to plan better for your new company formation in Dubai.

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What you will learn from this article?

First things first, this read will give you an overall idea what it takes to form a company in Dubai. What a consultant works on while working for your company formation in Dubai.

This read will enable you to plan better for your new company formation in Dubai.

Why you should form a Company in Dubai?

Company formation in Dubai is a great idea. The first and foremost reason for setting business in Dubai is that more and more businesses are moving to Dubai and it is becoming a landing place for investors and business people.

Dubai has invested much in investor-friendly environment. keeping in mind the global practices this motivates entrepreneur to invest more and more in great business ideas.

Dubai is a tax heaven as it has no income tax therefore you keep every penny of the profits you make. You can have best staff from multidimensional backgrounds as Dubai welcome over 180 nationalities across the globe.

By running your business in Dubai, you will obtain many opportunities that you may not get anywhere in the world. A company formation in Dubai has the capability to reach over a billion people from neighboring countries in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.

According to the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the UAE economic growth is increasing at rapid pace as compared with other Arabian Gulf countries.

These numbers, along with magnificent economic growth in last years, are attracting an increasing number of business to the country.

If you are thinking of joining them then the good news is that formation of company or setting up business in Dubai is speedy and simple process with multiple option of company formation in mainland as well as UAE’s free zones.

You would have to go through following simple steps to form a company in Dubai and it takes less than three weeks to setup whole business idea.

Business activity approval:

Your business activity will control the kind of license that you require. There are some types of licenses which are as follow;

  1. Commercial
  2. Professional
  3. Industrial license
  4. Ecommerce
  5. Freelancer
  6. Educational
  7. Media
  8. warehousing

The type of your license will define the basis of your operations.

In Dubai only a few commercial activities are not allowed. The department of economic development (DED) is responsible to decide, regulate, classify and issue licenses for all the economic activities.

However, food trading, jewelry trading, veterinary activities and legal consultancy need more approvals from other government departments furthermore there are 45 free zones in UAE, each has their own regulation and formalities.

Company name:

The company name should designate the nature of business however if it’s a branch of another company there are certain rules to follow when it comes to trade names.

Therefore before you decide a company name, make sure it conforms to rules of governing bodies. Any names that include offensive language are prohibited in Dubai.

You cannot choose your company name that refer any religion, sectarian or political groups, such as the FBI or Mafia. You also cannot choose your company name that has already been registered.

If you choose to name your business after a person, that person must be a sponsor or owner of the company and their full name must be used – no surname or abbreviations.

It takes around three days to register a trade name, and it is valid for a period of six months.

Choose the jurisdiction:

Dubai market is divided into many economic zones.

These are divided as follow

  1. Mainland,
  2. Free zone
  3. Offshore

These economic zones are also called jurisdiction. Each economic zone has its own laws and regulation.


As a foreign national, if you would like 100% ownership then you need to first get a license and location in one of many free zones as full ownership is not available in Limited Liability company in Dubai mainland.

If you need a local license to operate locally, you will have to obtain a license from the  department of economic development (DED).

DED license which is awarded to mainland businesses (companies other than of free zones) comes with some limitations on share of ownership for foreigners, based on different legal structures under Dubai Economic Department (DED).

Opening a legal consultancy firm can only be formed as a branch of company or as a separate company. A notable thing here is that sole proprietor is not allowed to take up this activity.

However every free zones has its own limitations regarding the company structure.

Find a local sponsor:

If you want to start business in mainland, it’s necessary to find a local partner for your company.

Local partner means a UAE national only. A UAE national will be 51% shareholder in your company or business who is called a local sponsor in order to obtain license from Dubai Economic Department.

However in terms of free zone, your company would need a local service agent, who will help you to setup your business with a minor fee. So it’s better to sign an agreement with a silent partner- this will give security and complete control on your business.

A sponsor will help you to promote your business as well.;

Choose office space:

Another process which will require you time, attention and financial resources is that for company formation in Dubai you will have to choose a suitable area for your office space and get tenancy contract.

The tenancy contract, Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA) documents, and EJARI needs to be submitted to get approval by the DED. You will get trade license with valid company address of your physical office space.

In term of offshore company the address of the registered agent become the company official address. You can find your office space based on cost, size, location and other details.

For example, If your business relies severely on import and export, you can settle your office space in area that situated near an airport or port

Decide the company legal form:

Another important step to take is deciding the legal form for your business which normally should be the first choice of business setup planning in Dubai.

Legal form of your company sets the tone and structure for dealing with profits and losses and how you should manage your resources and assets.

You cannot apply for trade license without decide your company’s legal form.

Here are some company structure or legal forms under which you can register your company in Dubai:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Free zone company
  • Holding companies
  • Local company branch
  • Sole Establishment

Obtain Memorandum of Association:

MOA is a company’s corporate document in which it defines the company scope of powers and structure.

It is mandatory for you to draft and submit a copy of memorandum of association to make your company registered. MOA describes the power and object of the company. All the investors sign the Memorandum of Association.

MOA is a legal documents and should be drafted with the help of a legal advisor. They also need to be translated in Arabic.

Required documents of business setup:

Here is list of documents which you should be keep handy while starting your journey to setup your business in Dubai United Arab Emirates.

  • Licenses Application
  • Attested LLC agreement
  • Name reservation certificate
  • Initial approval certificate
  • External departments approval
  • Tenancy contract
  • EJARI registration certificate
  • Passport copies partners and NOC for partners (if any)
  • Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Registration
  • Endorsements from Governmental Agencies (For Gas and Oil Companies)
  • UAE Central Bank Approval and License (For Financial Institutions)
  • Finance and Industry Ministry Certification (For Manufacturing Companies)
  • Economy and Commerce Ministry Certification (For Insurance Companies)
  • Health Ministry Certification (For Medical & Pharmaceutical Firms)

Submit Documents to get your license:

Obtain all required documents and certificates and submit to the Department of Economic Development and pay the license fees.

Though in Some free zones you may be required to produce some extra documents, such as a business plan or Non-Objection Certificate (NOC).

Non-Objection Certificate is a letter of confirmation from your current partner that you are allowed to setup another business in the UAE if you are already having a business.

License notification:

Once Department of economic Development (DED) approve your business license application on the basis of all your submitted documents, DED will issue a payment voucher.

You will have to pay for your trade license within 30 days of receiving a payment voucher. If you will not pay for six months than the transaction is automatically cancelled.

Once you make the payment, Depart of Economic Development of Dubai will issue your company license. You will also notified through SMS & Email.

 If you are setting up your company through a business setup company then they will notify you when your documents are ready for collection.

Congratulations, now you have been granted all the rights to start your business. 

Visa process:

Visa process is the final step of your company formation in Dubai. For setting up a business or company you must have a partner visa.

In a free zone the number of visas you can get for your company varies among different free zones .

However the same in mainland depends on space of your office, showroom or warehouse.

The process might take up to 3 to 7 days for your application to be approved. Here are four simple and easy steps for visa application:

Entry document,

Status change

Medical fitness test,

Emirates ID registration

Visa stamping.


We walked you through from all the stages you will face while forming a company in Dubai.  You can also find information regarding cost of company formation in Dubai.

The good thing is that if you have a new question in your mind then you are much closer to find the answer as well.

If you have any confusion, do leave us a comment we will try to respond at our earliest.

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Company Formation in Dubai

First things first, this read will give you an overall idea what it takes to form a company in Dubai. What a consultant works on while working for your company formation in Dubai.
This read will enable you to plan better for your new company formation in Dubai.

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