How To Set Up A Business In Dubai

Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) known for its impressive architecture, luxury shopping, and vibrant nightlife. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, attracting tourists and businesses from around the globe.

Dubai’s economy is based primarily on trade, finance, and tourism. The city has a thriving business environment, with a range of incentives and benefits for entrepreneurs and businesses. It is home to several free zones, which offer 100% foreign ownership and tax exemptions, making it an attractive location for businesses looking to expand globally.

In addition to its business opportunities, Dubai is also known for its cultural attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the world. The city also hosts a range of international events, such as the Dubai World Cup horse race and the Dubai Shopping Festival, which attracts visitors from around the world.

Steps on how to set up a business in Dubai

Here’s a comprehensive overview of how to set up a business in Dubai:

Choose the type of business:

The first step is to decide on the type of business you want to set up. Dubai offers several options, including sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and branch of a foreign company.

Choose a business activity:

You’ll also need to choose a business activity that best describes your business. This will determine the type of license you need and the regulatory requirements you’ll need to meet.

Choose a location:

You’ll need to choose a location for your business. This could be in a free zone or on the mainland. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and choose the option that best suits your needs.

Apply for a trade name:

Once you have decided on the type of business and location, you’ll need to apply for a trade name with the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Apply for initial approval:

If you’re setting up your business in a free zone, you’ll need to obtain initial approval from the relevant free zone authority. This will allow you to proceed with the registration process.

Obtain necessary licenses:

You’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses to operate your business. This could include a trade license, a commercial license, or a professional license, depending on the type of business you’re setting up.

Register with the DED:

You’ll need to register your business with the DED. This involves submitting the necessary paperwork and paying the required fees.

Get visas for employees:

If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to obtain visas for them. The number of visas you can obtain will depend on the size of your business and the type of license you have.

Open a bank account:

You’ll need to open a bank account in Dubai to operate your business. This will allow you to receive payments and pay expenses related to your business.

Benefits of Setting Up a Business in Dubai:

Supportive business ecosystem:

Dubai has a highly supportive business ecosystem, with world-class infrastructure, advanced technology, and access to skilled professionals. The government of Dubai also provides a range of incentives and subsidies to support businesses, including grants, loans, and other financial assistance.

Wide range of business sectors:

Dubai offers a wide range of business sectors to choose from, including tourism, real estate, finance, healthcare, logistics, and more. This makes it easy for businesses to find the right industry to enter and thrive in.

Easy company formation:

Dubai has a streamlined company formation process, with a dedicated government agency, the Department of Economic Development, responsible for registering new businesses. This makes it easy for businesses to set up quickly and efficiently.

Access to global talent:

Dubai is home to a diverse and highly skilled workforce, with professionals from around the world. This provides businesses with access to global talent and expertise, which can be invaluable for expanding and growing their operations.

High quality of life:

Dubai is known for its high quality of life, with world-class amenities, entertainment, and cultural attractions. This makes it an attractive location for businesses looking to attract and retain top talent.

Political stability:

Dubai is known for its political stability and security, with a strong and stable government that is committed to supporting businesses and promoting economic growth.

Documents Required

Passport copies of all shareholders and directors:

All shareholders and directors of the company will need to provide a copy of their passport.

Proof of residency:

All shareholders and directors will also need to provide proof of residency, which can be in the form of a utility bill or other government-issued document.

No-Objection Certificate (NOC):

If the shareholders or directors are sponsored by another company, they will need to provide a NOC from their sponsor.

Memorandum of Association (MOA):

This is a legal document that outlines the company’s name, objectives, shareholders, and other key details.

Shareholder agreement:

This is a document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder in the company.

Proof of share capital:

The company will need to provide proof of their share capital, which can be in the form of a bank statement or letter from the bank.

Trade license application:

The company will need to submit a trade license application to the Department of Economic Development.

Office lease agreement:

The company will need to provide an office lease agreement, which shows that they have a physical office space in Dubai.

The specific documents required may vary depending on the type of company and business activity.


Setting up a business in Dubai can be a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs, given its strategic location, strong economy, and supportive business environment. However, the process of company formation can be complex and time-consuming, with several legal and regulatory requirements to fulfill.

This is where Business Diaries comes in, offering a wide range of services to simplify the process and help entrepreneurs get their business up and running quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re looking to set up a mainland, free zone, or offshore company, Business Diaries can provide expert guidance on legal structure, licensing, visas, and other essential aspects of company formation. With Business Diaries by your side, you can be confident that you’re making informed decisions and taking the right steps towards a successful business venture in Dubai.