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Business Formation in Dubai: 2022 Guide

Despite a global pandemic, Dubai issued more than 55,000 new company licenses in the first ten months of 2021. Compared to the same period in 2020, this was a growth of 69 percent. These positive growth figures prove Dubai’s reputation as a place where businesses flourish.

If you plan to start a business in Dubai, you have made the right choice. The UAE’s expanding economy offers various attractive prospects for prospective entrepreneurs and established businesses alike in fields as diverse as healthcare and hospitality, technology, trade, and finance.

Here’s everything you need to know about starting a business in Dubai in 2022, from the primary benefits to naming your company and applying for licenses and visas. In this article, we will cover the following topics:

    • Benefits of forming a company in Dubai
    • Steps to start a business in Dubai
    • Documents required to start a business in Dubai
    • Cost of starting a business in Dubai
    • Working with Creative Zone

Benefits of forming a company in Dubai

There are several significant advantages to forming a company in Dubai. Among them are:

1. Quick setup: The process of forming a company is fast and straightforward. In about 90 minutes, you can register your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED). The typical setup time is between four and five days. However, various issues can slow down the process, including government certifications.

2. Range of business activities: Choose from 2,000 DED allowed economic activities to start your business.

3. Tax benefits: Companies in the United Arab Emirates are exempt from paying any taxes – income or corporate.

4. 100% Foreign Ownership: Typical foreign direct investment regulations limit the foreign business investment to 49 percent of the business, while the local partner is entitled to 51 percent of the ownership. In the UAE, foreign business owners can own 100% of their company using a variety of corporate structures.

Steps to start a business in Dubai

Company formation in Dubai can be complicated, but if you follow a simple step-by-step process and with the right help, it can be much easier than you think. Creative Zone has assisted countless companies in establishing themselves in Dubai and can simplify the process into the six steps listed below:

1. Determine the type of business
The first step toward establishing your business and obtaining a license is determining the nature of your endeavor. Choose from 2,000 business activities under the industrial, commercial, professional, and tourism categories. You can find the entire list on the DED website.

2. Choose your company’s name
Your trade name is a critical component of the legal process. Unless the firm is a branch of another, the company name should ideally reflect the essence of the business. It is also critical to adhere to the UAE’s strict naming conventions. It is prohibited to use names that contain harmful language and are disrespectful to any religion.

3. Decide the jurisdiction
The UAE has three economic zones or jurisdictions – Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore. Each jurisdiction has its own set of business-related laws and regulations and caters to various company requirements. Choosing a jurisdiction for your business will depend on your needs and the nature of your business.

4. Legal structure
Choosing the legal structure for your business is critical when launching a business in the UAE. It establishes the framework for dealing with earnings and losses, and how to organise your resources and assets. You cannot apply for a business license until you have determined the legal structure of your business. The following are some of the legal forms or company structures available for registration in the UAE:

    • Limited liability company (LLC)
    • Sole establishment
    • Civil company
    • Local or foreign company branch
    • Free zone company branch

5. Submit all documents to the DED
Company formation and licensing occur together. However, the documentation and approval process has several steps. In this phase, you must obtain all necessary government approvals as needed by the Department of Economic Development. The required documentation varies by firm type and activity.

6. Process your visa
So, on to the last step of setting up a business in Dubai. You can also apply for your staff and family members along with your visa application. Assuming all of the information is in order, the process consists of four stages:

    • Getting an entry permit
    • Changing your status
    • Taking a medical exam
    • Getting an Emirates ID and a visa stamp on it

Documents required to start a business in Dubai

Regardless of whether you use a business formation agent or submit your application directly to the DED, you must include the following documents:

    • Passport copy of the investor
    • Passport copy of the local sponsor (if required)
    • No Objection Certificate (NOC) if any shareholder is working in a UAE company
    • Copy of Emirates ID of the shareholder(s)
    • Application form of registration from DED
    • An attested Memorandum of Association from public notary
    • A certified tenancy contract for the office premises (if any)

Get in touch with one of Creative Zone’s business setup managers if you have any questions about the prerequisites. They will assist you in setting up quickly while keeping you fully compliant.

Cost of starting a business in Dubai

So how much does a business license cost in Dubai? Not as expensive as you think it may be.

The cost of registering your company in Dubai ranges from AED 12,000 to 30,000. However, the outlay varies depending on the industry type and services. Additionally, an investor visa will cost between AED 4,000 to AED 5,500, and depending on the category of employees you hire, their fee is between AED 5,000 and AED 7,000 per visa.

Contact Creative Zone to get an up-to-date price tailored to your individual needs for an exact quote. This way, you can be sure you are getting precisely the price that matches the activities you want to carry out.

Working with Creative Zone

There you have it: the essentials of forming a company in Dubai in 2022. While starting a business in Dubai appears simple enough, it requires qualified and expert professionals to handle all government-related work. They ensure a smooth setup of your new business.

Creative Zone is UAE’s oldest and most trusted business setup expert, having assisted over 44,000 entrepreneurs in successfully establishing their businesses since our inception in 2010.

We specialise in delivering solutions that best fit your needs when starting a business by providing quick, dependable, hassle-free, and experienced assistance.

Assisting your business setup in Dubai is only the first step. We also offer assistance ranging from tax preparations, legal counsel, HR services, and more.

The benefits don’t end there. When you become a client of Creative Zone, through our networking tool, CZ Connect, every client gets access to a thriving community of fellow entrepreneurs. This allows you to interact, network, and develop significant relationships with the region’s larger business community.

Take advantage of our free consultations today and get unbiased advice on UAE business formation, with the sole goal of finding the best possible fit for your needs.


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