Start Business In Dubai As Expat

How to Register a Company in Dubai Mainland as an Expat

Dubai is a familiar name to investors globally nowadays. Year by year, more foreign investors and businessmen start their business in this city to benefit from its unique business environment. The benefits of running a business in Dubai are numerous:

  • 0% tax rate,
  • Strategic global location,
  • Simple incorporation process,
  • 100% business ownership,
  • Long-term visas.

 

Although starting a business has been significantly facilitated in recent years; still, there is expert knowledge and information required to establish a business in Dubai. 80% of Dubai’s local population are expats, and many do own their own local business. This is mainly due to the exceptional opportunities and laws implemented in the past few years for encouraging foreign investors to initiate their business in the UAE. Due to the high rate of demands, many company formation experts and setup agents guide interested investors about how to apply for a visa, form a company, register licenses, and incorporate businesses. 

 

 

It is quite important to familiarize yourself with the local business environment and practices. The regulation behind picking a name for a business or company is a good example of why this step is necessary:

  • The selected name must not violate the public morals or the public order of the country,
  • Must follow the company’s legal form (LLC, FZE, etc.)
  • The name must not have been registered before,
  • Must be in line with its type of activity and legal status,
  • Must not contain any religions, governing authorities, names, or logos of any external bodies.
  • If the selected name includes the investors’ name, it should be in its full form rather than initials or only surname. 

 

These are the delicacies in each step that need experience and expert knowledge, which can only be provided by a legal setup agent. 

Business licenses in Dubai Mainland (Dubai DED)

Although the most common trade licenses in Dubai are commercial, industrial, and professional, there are many trade license types. Each has its own unique benefits and may align better with a certain sort of business. The types of businesses are mainly determined by their affiliated business activities, and based on these activities; they fit into each license category. Once the type of business is selected, the license application can be made. Full foreign business ownership is possible in many cases if foreigners run their business in the Dubai Mainland. Still, it is 100% guaranteed in all cases if foreigners conduct business in free zones. Thus, usually, the foreign investors choose the latter option.

There are several benefits to starting a business in Dubai:

  1. Zero percent tax regime, 
  2. Customs tax exemption, 
  3. Complete lack of currency restrictions, 
  4. Possibility of repatriating all capital and profit.

For making the free zone application, investors should provide their setup agents with the necessary documentation and few details of their business. 

Required documents for starting a business in Dubai  

The rules applied to an established business fall under regulations set by the respective free zone. This also holds true for the necessary documentation that needs to be submitted. However, basic documents include:

  1. Completed application form,
  2. Business plan,
  3. (For local/existing companies only) a copy of the trade license/registration certificate 
  4. Passport copies and specimen signature of the new company’s manager or director and shareholders 
  5. Audited financial reports for company entity (at least two years) or the shareholder’s certificate of reference from a personal bank
  6. (Only for individuals) NOC from the current sponsor

 

Dubai Company Formation Costs

The cost-effective and relatively low cost of operating business in Dubai is another reason for its popularity among foreign investors. A trade license costs about AED 8,000 to AED 30,000 (not considering many business factors involved, such as the type of business and the number of employees). Generally, the costs of running a business in free zones are lower compared to the Dubai mainland. 

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