Establishing a company in Dubai offers immense opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to tap into the city’s economy and strategic location. However, understanding the legal requirements can be complex. Here, we outline the essential steps and legal requirements for company set-up Dubai:

Choose the appropriate business structure:

The first step in setting up a company in Dubai is selecting the appropriate business structure. The most common options include:

  • Free zone company: Offers 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified setup processes within designated free zones.
  • Mainland company: Allows for trading and conducting business within the local market, but requires a local sponsor or partner.
  • Offshore company: Ideal for international businesses seeking asset protection, confidentiality, and tax optimization.

Determine the business activity:

Identify the specific business activities your company will engage in, as this will determine the type of license and permits required. Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) maintains an inclusive list of permitted activities, categorized by industry sectors.

Choose a trade name and reserve it:

Selecting a unique and meaningful trade name for your company is crucial. The name should reflect your business activities and comply with Dubai’s naming conventions. Once you’ve chosen a name, you must reserve it with the DED to ensure its availability and compliance with regulations.

Obtain relevant licenses and permits:

Depending on your chosen business activities and location, you’ll need to obtain the relevant licenses and permits from the appropriate authorities. This may include:

  • Trade license: Issued by the DED for conducting commercial activities within mainland Dubai.
  • Free zone license: Provided by the respective free zone authority for companies operating within designated free zones.
  • Professional license: Required for professionals such as consultants, engineers, and doctors.

Secure office space:

Having a physical address is a legal requirement for setting up a company in Dubai. Whether leasing office space in a commercial building or opting for a flexi-desk arrangement in a business center, ensure that the chosen location complies with zoning regulations and is suitable for your business activities.

Once you’ve fulfilled all legal requirements and obtained the necessary licenses and permits, you’ll need to register your company with the relevant authorities. This may involve obtaining approvals from government agencies, such as the DED, Dubai Municipality, and the Ministry of Economy, depending on your business activities.