How to set-up a business in Dubai

Starting a business in the UAE is not difficult as you might think and in any case it should not take you more than a week once you have sorted all your legal procedures.

First of all, it has to be clear with you which type of business you intend to carry out in order to determine the kind of license you require.However, while selecting, remember that certain activities require further approvals from other governmental departments.

There are about 2100 activities recognised by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai you can choose from.

Free Zones in Dubai are special economic zones offering tax free, 100% foreign ownership and free customs duty benefits to expatriate investors. Each free zone has its own regulations and approval formalities. The Free Zone company’s setup in Dubai and UAE is not subject to commercial companies Law since Free Zones are considered to be outside the jurisdiction of UAE.

Setting up a Free Zone company from another country may have some specific consideration to be done.

If you would like to open an activity in a free zone, you need first to get a license. There are specific kinds of activities that each free zone caters to and clarity in the first step will help you find your best option.

If you need a local license or need to operate locally, you have to get a license from the Department of Economic Development (DED). The DED license comes with certain restrictions on share of ownership for foreigners.

Depending on your location and type of business, there are rules regarding the make-up of your firm. For example, if you plan on a legal consultancy firm, this can be done only as a branch of company or as a stand-alone company. A sole proprietor is not allowed to take up this activity.

Each free zone has its own restrictions regarding company structure and you can look these up on the official website of the zone.

Your trade name is a very important part of the legal procedure. The company name should ideally indicate the nature of business, unless it is a branch of another company

In most cases, you do not need to pay minimum capital at the time of setting up. Once you have your legal procedures and forms ready to go, it would be best to shortlist some offices with costs and other details. This would mean a clear path forward once you get your legal formalities out of the way. In free zones, you will get assistance to find premises suitable to your requirement along with help to set up electricity, internet, water and other amenities.

You need to hire a manager to oversee operations and have him ready to be on board before your registration is approved. But in other cases, you may not be allowed to hire at all.

To get more information about professional company formation in Dubai and in UAE please contact us.



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