Set up a company in Dubai

Company Setup in Dubai

According to the best geographical location, Dubai is considered as one of the rapid-growing capitals in the world. As the most important business and economic hub of UAE’s, it is a best-suited place for various company startups. Among other unique facilities of Dubai, rapid expansion, steady economic condition, promising tax choices are the main attractive features.

The Dubai government offers a great business environment for entrepreneurs from all around the world. Being the world's best corporate center Dubai attracts more investors and businessmen than others. It is also a city known for providing the best opportunities for new company setups across different sectors. Hence for investors and foreigners opening a company in Dubai will not only be profitable but also be prestigious.

Though the company setup procedure in Dubai is a bit lengthy yet relatively hassle-free. Before beginning to set up any company in Dubai one must have a clear vision of the type of company they want to start. There are various company options are available for the businessman and foreigners in Dubai.

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Free Zone Company
  • Offshore Company
  • Joint Partnership
  • Branches
  • Representative Offices

Common types of company in Dubai

Common types of company in Dubai

Limited Liability Company (LLC):

  • Most common type of company in Dubai.
  • Allow a foreign company to become a shareholder.
  • Legal liability is limited.
  • Need highest of 50 partners to register company.
  • A client doesn't need to travel.
  • Local and global trade and services are permitted.
  • Need to elect a least of one manager and the highest of five managers for the company.
  • Approximately 2 months needed to set the company.
  • Must need to collect Trade License and Commercial Registration Certificate.
  • Allowed to rent an office in Dubai.
  • 5 weeks require to open a bank account for the company.

Free Zone Company:

  • Can have full foreign ownership.
  • Can enjoy 100% cent import and export tax privileges.
  • Doesn't have any currency restrictions.
  • Limited legal liability.
  • Can get UAE residence visas.
  • Can conduct all kinds of businesses including trading, service and industrial enterprises.
  • Cost Effective and affordable company type.
  • Can lease an office in Dubai.
  • Need to file the yearly tax return.
  • The time needed to set up the company is Approximately 2 months.
  • Can issue sales invoices in Dubai.
  • To open a bank account, need 5 weeks.

Offshore Company:

  • Also recognized as a non-resident company.
  • A perfect tax and cost-effective corporate structure.
  • Can have 100% foreign ownership.
  • Limited Legal Liability Company.
  • Can easily control multi-currency Bank accounts in the UAE.
  • Can own UAE property.
  • Don't need to file an annual tax return.
  • Can't lease an office in Dubai.
  • Can do trade internationally.
  • Isn't allowed to import or export assets.
  • Residence visa aren’t allowed.
  • Needed 2 weeks to complete the setup.
  • Not permitted to issue sale invoices in Dubai.
  • Can open a corporate bank account in 6 weeks.

Read: How to register a company in Dubai as foreigner

Short briefing on the requirements of Common company types to setup in Dubai

Requirements LLC Free Zone Company Offshore Company
Required least shareholders 1 1 1
Need local shareholder? YES NO NO
Needed least share capital US$1 varies US$1
Least allowed directors 1 1 2
Need annual financial statements? YES YES NO
Need any resident director? NO NO YES
Corporate shareholders acceptable? YES YES YES
Need any local sponsor? YES NO NO
Individual shareholders acceptable? YES YES YES
Require statutory audit? YES YES NO

Types of Licenses available for the company in Dubai

Types of business licenses in Dubai

According to the chosen company type investors need to select a suitable license for the company. Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) offers the following types of licenses for a company:

Trading & Commercial License:

  • Can be a common or particular trading.
  • Includes import, export, re-export, and distribution etc. of particular products.

Service/Professional License:

  • Can do particularized professional services.
  • Can also do activities like promotion, event or display organization, washing services, etc.
  • Needs a consultation with the sales administrators.

Industrial License:

  • Issued to function any investment activity.
  • Provide permission to import raw materials, production of specified products and trading the complete goods.
  • Permits the owner the equal status as a local inside the UAE.

Basic requirements to setup a company in Dubai

  • Among various available legal company type, choosing one type is the 1st task for company setup.
  • According to the chosen company type businessman need to determine which company activity will be suitable to obtain. Multiple business activities are permissible for one trade license Holder Company.
  • An investor can choose their company activity according to the list from the Department of Economic Development (DED).
  • In accordance with the activities, one needs to select a legal form.
  • Next, a suitable and non-offensive company name or trade name needs to be selected. The chosen name should be unique means not used by other company.
  • Investor will need to collect a Primary Approval Certificate allotted by the Government of Dubai.
  • A Memorandum of Association (MoA) needs to be prepared based on the company type.
  • It's a must to select a physical location in Dubai.
  • One must acquire and approve a suitable company license depending on the company type.
  • Finalizing other necessary documents. Such as, non-Objection Certificate (NOC), copies of passport (shareholders and directors), business plan summary etc.
  • Must open a corporate bank account for the company setup process.
  • Lastly, need to obtain visas for completing the company setup process in Dubai.

Estimated short costs chart to set up a company in Dubai

Service Costs
Registration and License 2,000 AED
Trade name approval 720 AED
Address Services 9,500 AED
Flexi Desk 16,000 AED
E-Channel Registration Deposit 7,150 AED
Residence Visa for one person 4,000 AED (approx.)
Global Resources Professional Fees 6,000 AED
Initial approval from economic department 220 AED

Dubai is one of a well-recognized country with a business-friendly environment to do business easily. It provides a state-of-art infrastructure and a very simple company setup process for both local and foreign investors. Setting up a company in Dubai will surely bring numerous business opportunities in Dubai for the businessman to flourish.


How much does it cost to set up a company in Dubai free zone?

The cost depends upon the free zone that you choose for your business. Usually, the licensing of a company in a free zone starts from 10000 AED.

How much does it cost to register a trade license in Dubai?

It will cost around 15000 AED to obtain a trade license in Dubai.

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Dubai?

Foreigners are only allowed to open a savings account in Dubai. However, if a foreigner has a registered company in Dubai, he/she is permitted to open a corporate bank account. To open a current account, a foreigner must have a permanent resident in Dubai.



Company Registration Expert Since 2012