Dubai continues to draw entrepreneurs from all over the world due to its booming economy and business-friendly atmosphere. There are many benefits to establishing a business in mainland Dubai, such as access to a varied market, cutting-edge infrastructure, and advantageous regulations. Here is a thorough guide to help you through the process if you're thinking about opening a business in this vibrant city.

Starting a business in ordinary ways involves a series of steps:

Choosing the business activity and legal structure.

Choose whether you want to engage in manufacturing, trading, or service-related business activities in Dubai. Choosing the right legal structure is essential because it affects ownership, taxation, and liability. The limited liability company (LLC), partnership, and sole proprietorship are examples of common legal forms. Speak with legal counsel to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each structure before selecting the one that best meets your requirements.

  • A business or investment may engage in multiple business activities.
  • In the UAE, there are over 2,000 different business activities available.

Trade name registration.

A trade name helps set one company apart from another. It also conveys the essence and structure of the company. Through the economic department’s website or mobile application, an investor can apply for the trade name in each emirate.

  • The Ministry of Economy registers the trademark, and the local department of economic development registers the trade name.
  • Certificates under a trade name are valid for renewal.

Obtaining Necessary Licenses and Permits:

When a business receives initial approval, it indicates that the UAE government does not oppose its establishment. It also enables the investor to move forward with the remaining business setup procedures. But it doesn’t give you the power to manage or carry out the business activity.

Prior to receiving the initial approval, foreign investors must secure the approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs.

Before applying for the first approval, some activities need further clearances from relevant government agencies. These encompass endeavors pertaining to legal matters, security matters, and financial commodities and securities.


A completed and signed Memorandum of Association (MoA) or Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA) of the business is required, depending on the legal form of the business. The following business legal forms require the memorandum of association:

  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Public joint stock company (PJSC)
  • Private joint stock company (PrJSC).

Find a suitable location.

To conduct business, all UAE-based companies need a physical address. The business location and premises must adhere to the land planning laws of the surrounding municipalities as well as the specifications set forth by the Department of Economic Development of the relevant emirate.

Rental agreements for offices and warehouses must be submitted. Attestation of the agreements is required in certain emirates. The agreement needs to be registered with Ejari in Dubai.

Get additional government approvals.

In certain instances, extra permissions from governmental bodies in charge of specific business activities are needed.

Collect the business license.

After completing the above steps, investors can collect the business license from service centers of the economic departments or through their websites.

Open a Corporate Bank Account:

Open a corporate bank account with a reputable financial institution in Dubai to manage your business finances efficiently. Provide the necessary documentation, including your trade license, passport copies, and proof of address, to fulfill the bank’s requirements.

Comply with Tax and Regulatory Obligations:

To make sure you are meeting your financial obligations, familiarize yourself with Dubai’s tax laws and regulations. Value Added Tax (VAT) and customs duties are two examples of taxes and fees that might be applicable in Dubai, even though there is no personal or corporate income tax there. To maximize your tax position and stay out of trouble, keep precise financial records, file your tax returns on time, and get professional advice.

Promote Your Business and Build Networks:

Create a thorough marketing plan to advertise your company and draw clients to Dubai’s competitive industry. Make use of social media, networking events, and digital marketing channels to build brand awareness and interact with prospective customers. Form strategic alliances with other companies, trade groups, and governmental organizations to pool resources and broaden your influence.

In conclusion

Setting up a business in mainland Dubai offers immense opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to tap into the city’s vibrant economy and strategic location. By following these steps and seeking expert guidance when needed, you can establish a successful business venture and contribute to Dubai’s thriving business community.

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