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Business Setup Guide

Set up your business in 3 quick steps

If you are an entrepreneur seeking for business setup, you have landed at the right place. This is a complete guide to business setup in Dubai, and you shall have all your small or big questions answered in this piece of article. Business setup in any foreign country isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. You definitely need endless support, guidance, and help from the beginning to the end. However, relying on someone before having good knowledge about anything isn’t a good idea and so is this guide, your helping hand, and advocate. This article is focused on some necessary information regarding the business setup in Dubai and how one can carry it out individually or with the right professional help.

Dubai, as we all know is a entrepreneurs’ hub. Entrepreneurs from all parts of the world seek opportunities to set up their businesses in Dubai. Not only is Dubai a flourishing trade and business centre of the Middle East region, but is also a perfect place to succeed in the newest business trends. Dubai has been setting up new benchmarks each year for business success rates, GDP, and opportunities and we believe that, if you wish to be a part of it, you sure must be; and here’s how:

Select the right setup zone for your business

When it comes to setting up a business in Dubai, you have got two choices: Free Zones and Mainland. By understanding the difference between the two, you can easily understand what suits best for your business type.

Free Zones

You can have complete ownership of your business/company

It is developed especially for the foreign investors by the Dubai Government

You can have 0% tax benefit and other subsidies

You need not/cannot carry out business operations with the local markets of Dubai

You can apply for a license for your business according to the different categories of the free-zones


You can carry out business activities outside the UAE and not inside of UAE

No pre-requisite for minimum capital investment

You require a sponsor to set up your business

You shall have foreign ownership of 49%

License to acquire

Once you have identified the zone for setting up your business, it becomes necessary for you to acquire the mandatory documents, license, and permissions from the authorities depending on your business type. There are three main types of license:

Commercial License

If your business deals with trade activities such as the sale of goods, buying and selling of goods, real estate, travel, logistics, store of goods, etc. you need to acquire a commercial license.

Professional license

If you are an artist, service provider, craftsman, or technician, you need to acquire a professional license..

Industrial license

If your business includes activities of manufacturing goods from a particular resource, like textile mills, paper industry, etc. you need to acquire an industrial license. The manufacturing of goods can either be manual or automatic.

Some final decisions and actions:

Here are a few important decisions and actions that you’ll need to take before you dive into the actual phase of setting up a business in Dubai. Hope this helps you in a long run.

Business Type

Decide the business type, category of your business, and the sub-category of the business if any

Business Setup Zone

Decide if you wish to set up your business in the free zone or not. Do consider the pre-requisites mentioned above before you decide

Business Identity

According to the business type and the nature of your target audience, finalize a company name for your business

Initial Approval

Apply for the initial approval for the business set up in Dubai to the Dubai DED. It is only after getting this approval that you can proceed with the next legal process of licensing and documentation. The initial approval process can be carried out online and you need not move out from your country

Bank Account

Once the initial approval for your business is acquired, the first important task for you is to open a corporate bank account at a recognized local or international bank in Dubai.

Office Location

Now that you are done with your decision on the business setup zone, it’s time to decide the geography where you wish to set up the actual business. When it comes to setting up a business in Dubai, having a physical space for work is mandatory

License, documents, legal procedures

According to your business type and category you need to get the necessary permissions, grants, documents, and approvals to proceed further. Most procedures are online these days, but you might need the support of agents or agencies to have it done in a smoother way

The final approval

Once all your documents and procedures are successfully completed, along with business address, etc. you need to proceed with the final approval process

Having got the final approval from the business setup authorities in Dubai, you will be free to run your company in Dubai and chase the endless opportunities that stand before you.

We are quite sure that the outputs of going through this long process are going to be tremendous and fruitful!

We welcome dynamic entrepreneurs like you now and always!

Connect With Us Today

If you are looking for dedicated and professional assistance in setting up a business in UAE, get in touch with us. Our expert consultants can get your business registered and help you further for a smooth operation.

Mail Us info@efirst.ae Call Us +971 50 347 2388 +971 54 206 1008

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Emirates First offers assistance in commercial
licence application and related services in
Dubai, UAE