Frequently Asked Questions

What are my options for setting up a business in Dubai?

You have the option to set up in Dubai mainland (local market) or in a free zone. The freezone offer you 100% ownership, If you setup in the mainland, under Dubai Economic Department, you will need a UAE national to be your sponsor. For a trading company, this means the local sponsor must own 51% of the shares. For a professional company, the ownership is 100% for the investor, but a local service agent is still a requirement.

What difference will it make to my business operations if I setup in a free zone?

Firstly, your business activities must be permitted by the chosen free zone. Secondly, a free zone business can only operate within the free zone and outside the UAE, meaning no business can be conducted within Dubai or any other emirate. This poses a problem if your main market is Dubai/UAE.

However, you may legally appoint a broker or service agent for local market distribution. On the other hand, if you setup in the mainland, you may carry out business activities both locally and internationally.

What will be the cost of a new business setup in Dubai?

That depends on the activities in the business, investing partners, business location and various other factors. The cost will also change according to whether the business in the mainland or free zone.

What is the process of setting up my business in Dubai?

The licensing procedure happens in Four stages as follow:

  • Stage 1: Initial Approval, where you need to submit an application to get approval for the activities you intend to undertake in your business and provide a list of choices for your trade name.
  • Stage 2: Fulfil the legal requirements including MOA and local agent agreement, in addition to provide educational qualifications for the licensing authority if required.
  • Stage3: involves verifying the business premises, issuing the rent agreement and get it attested by Ejari
  • Stage4: Related payment license issuance

What are the documents required to get a business license?

  • Passport copies of all partners, and the manager
  • No Objection letter from current sponsor
  • Notarized and signed agreements (varied according to formation type)
  • Tenancy contract for the selected business premises
  • Attested educational certificates (if required)
  • 12 Passport size photographs

Other documentation may be requested by the relevant authority in the case of special activities or changed regulations at the time of license application

How much time will it take to setup my business in Dubai?

In general, initial approval is obtained within 2 days. The actual licensing process will depend on the department’s current schedule and under normal circumstances; a license is issued within two to three weeks at the most. If special approval or certificate attestation is required for your activity, this time will be lengthened accordingly.