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Steps for starting a business in Dubai Mainland, UAE

If you are wondering steps for starting a business in Dubai, you should know that it is not a very cumbersome process; and the best part is that it brings you many personal, economic, and professional benefits. It is important that you take into account certain things to be successful, among those planning, budgeting, and conceptualization. In addition, you can hire companies in Dubai that will guide you throughout the process.


In this article, you will see all the details on how to start a business in Dubai. The first thing will be to give you all the details of what you must do to be able to succeed in this task. In other words, you will see a step-by-step guide that you have to follow to better understand the entire process. In addition, we will show you in detail all the benefits that opening your business in this city will bring you.

1. Step-by-step guide on how to do the business setup in UAE

How to start a business in dubai

Currently, many people are interested in starting their business in Dubai. In case, you are part of this group of individuals, surely you are wondering how to start a business in Dubai. Next, you will see every one of the steps that you must follow to fulfill your dream of opening a business in this city.

1.1 Select a commercial activity

This can be considered the most important step of the entire list, the success of your company will depend on this. Currently, there are different highly sought-after business activities in Dubai. The best thing you can do is investigate what are the best business opportunities that currently exist in the UAE. Thus, you can choose the one that guides you to have a prosperous company.

1.2 Choose a good area in Dubai

In the UAE there are different economic zones in which you can establish your business. These are, free zone, offshore and continental. You should know that each one of them contains a regulation and a set of laws regarding the opening of businesses. Once you decide in which economic zone you are going to establish yourself, you must investigate what these regulations are and the requirements to be able to comply with them. In addition, each of them has a limitation concerning commercial activities.

1.3 Choose the legal form of your company

The legal form that you choose for your company will be what decides the tone and structure of how income and expenses will be handled. In addition, it is what will tell you how you should organize all the resources and assets of the company. In conclusion, this step is what is going to help provide a design for the company. It is important to add that without this you cannot apply for a business license.

1.4 Obtain business activity and company name approval

When you ask yourself the question of how to start a business in Dubai, at first, you surely thought of two things; the name and commercial activity. Bearing this in mind, you must have the approval of the Department of Economic Development (DED). Without this, you cannot continue with the process of starting a business in Dubai.

1.5 Business License Application

Currently, there are five commercial licenses, from which you can choose depending on your commercial activity. It is important to clarify that if you decide to settle in a free zone it will vary. Next, you will see a list of the different licenses that you can opt for:

  • Professional license.
  • Commercial license.
  • Industrial license.
  • Trade license.
  • Tourism license.

1.6 Company registration process

Once you apply for a business license, the company is registered simultaneously. Despite this, the approval and documentation process goes through different stages. In addition, at this time, all approvals from authorized government authorities are also obtained; as requested by the DED.

1.7 If you want, get a local partner

In the process of how to start a business in Dubai, they have made quite a few beneficial changes for the stakeholders. Among them, is the acquisition of a UAE citizen partner. This was previously a required step but is no longer required. However, they may request it and if that is the case, you can contact a company that offers these services.

1.8 Get external approvals

Generally, DED requests some additional approvals from additional government agencies. It should be noted that they can also come from non-governmental entities, everything will depend on their commercial activity. For instance, they may request approvals from embassies, and specific banks, such as international and others.

1.9 Assign a share capital to the company

For this, you must request a Memorandum of Association for your company, which decides what the minimum share capital is. It is important that you understand the complexity of this document. This is because it includes the mandates of the government in the UAE and its commercial interests. Therefore, before writing the Memorandum of Association, it is recommended that you contact expert advice.

1.10 Rent an office

The time has come to rent an office in the area of ​​Dubai that you have chosen to establish yourself. There are different options for the workspace that you should choose according to the needs of your company. For instance, virtual office or shared office space. This is a key point because it will determine the number of visas you can apply to the DED.

  • Obtain a rental agreement and ejari

An ejari is a lease that sets out the agreement between you and the real estate agency that got you the office space. The ejari is extremely important because they request it to obtain or renew the visas of your employees and family members. To obtain this document you must go to the online system governed by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).

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1.12 Hire employees

Every company needs employees in different sectors. In principle, what you are going to need is a manager who can oversee all the business operations of the company. It is important to mention that you should review all the documents well because, in the beginning, you may not be able to hire employees. If you can, many companies can help you meet people interested in working who are professionals.

1.13 Acquire initial approval

To obtain a business license and start your business in Dubai, you must first get initial approval from the DED. This approval lets the DED know that the government in the UAE is not opposed to opening this company. If you do not receive this document, the business license application process will be stopped.

1.14 Finally pick up the business license

The last step will be to have access to your business license, for this, you must send the following documents to the DED.

  • Memorandum of Association (MoA).
  • Important or relevant forms of government.
  • Business License Application Form.
  • Certificate proving the reservation of the trade name.
  • Certificate of initial approval issued by the government in the UAE.
  • All external approvals that are requested.
  • Ejari Certificate of Registration.
  • Photocopies of the passports of all partners involved.
  • If there is one, the NOC for the partners.
  • Any other requirements that the DED needs.

Once you deliver all these documents to the Department of Economic Development, you must pay all government fees. In addition, you must deliver the respective proof of payment.

Surely, you are wondering how long this whole process takes. The truth is that it is not much that you have to wait; Generally, it is only four to five business days. However, you should know that this will depend on different factors that can cause a delay. For instance, certain mandatory certifications to establish the company.

2. Learn about all the benefits of setting up a business in Dubai

How to start a business in dubai

In Dubai, you can find business environments that are incredibly helpful and friendly. Additionally, in Dubai, it was possible to observe the launch of more than 20,000 new businesses in 2017. In this way, you can see why Dubai is considered the best place in the UAE to invest.

In this case, as expected, many of these businesses were registered by different businessmen from abroad. It can be seen that in the UAE, between 80% and 90% of the workforce is made up of foreigners. This makes it possible for many visas to be granted to workers. In addition, they can apply for a family visa and manage to live with their immediate family.

Thousands of owners decide to start a business in UAE. In this way, they can launch their companies with great benefits. Next, we will look at the reasons for not only starting your business in the UAE but also specifically starting a business in Dubai:

2.1 Low taxes

People in the UAE take pride in the fact that both corporate and personal income is tax-free. VAT was implemented in January 2018 and is currently set at 5%. This is the only important tax to be taken into account in the Emirates.

2.2 They have a dynamic economy

In the Emirates, you can find what is known as the second-largest Arab economy in the world. It ranks second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of GDP, at around AED 692 billion. Counting from medical care and hospitality to technology and commerce.

In addition, there are a large number of different industries in which you can start your business. For this reason, it is important that you know why setting up the business in the UAE can bring you many benefits.

2.3 Offers high quality of life

The UAE ranked as the 23rd country in the list of the best countries. This happens thanks to the great opportunities offered to its citizens and foreigners. Offering various job opportunities, entrepreneurship facilities, and many other benefits of living in this nation.

2.4 They give great support to start-ups

You can find that the UAE is home to a large number of funding programs and incubators. All this is to help with the creation of new companies in Dubai. Businesses in Dubai today have a bright future.

The UAE is expected to lead economic growth this year in the Arabian Gulf. Counting on an increase of 2.5% according to the International Monetary Fund or IMF. Placing well above Saudi Arabia, which is expected to have a growth of just 0.4% this year. It is important to note that these are currently the largest economy in the region.

Taking into account all the benefits that starting a new business in Dubai brings us, we notice its importance worldwide. In this way, it can be understood why many foreign companies decide to invest in Dubai and not in other countries. However, it is important to keep in mind the challenges of doing business in Dubai and prepare for the best start.

3. How can ConnectME help you start a business in UAE?

If you are thinking about how to business setup in Dubai Mainland or different freezone then we can provide you with all the guidance you need. Hand in hand with qualified people ready to answer any questions you may have. In addition, we can guide you if you need help with another essential service of your company. For instance, obtaining visas, outsourcing human resources, acquiring your workspace, and many more.

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If you wish, you can contact ConnectME through the following telephone number +971 43 316 688. By calling this number, you will be able to obtain much more specialized attention. In addition, you can contact us via email at and receive any information you need about our services.

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Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping you navigate the local laws and regulations and provide you with customized solutions that suit your unique business needs. We believe in building long-term relationships with our clients, and our commitment to their success is at the core of everything we do. Whether you are a small startup or a large corporation, we are here to support you every step of the way.

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