How to set up business in Dubai

Renter's Guide

Have you been tempted by the new professional journey in Dubai? Dubai is considered to be one of the most lucrative business destinations owing to its fast-growing economy and modern culture. With the rise of digitalization and the freelance economy, more people are considering starting their businesses. Starting a company in Dubai is as simple as it gets. If you want to set up your business in Dubai then you have to follow their rules and regulations. This blog talks about the procedure of setting up business in Dubai. We have put together a guide that explains all the steps that you need to follow to incorporate your business quickly and efficiently.

● Select the category of the business
● Find the legal form
● Choose a trading name
● Minimum investment
● Start with initial approvals

It's quite obvious that the very first thing that everyone starts thinking about when planning their own business is a company name and it makes perfect sense because the name will become a starting point for all the corporate identity.

 1. Choose a company name: If you are setting up a business in the UAE, you will first need to choose a trading name. The company name should ideally indicate the nature of the business unless it's a branch of another company. Start by talking to your local free zone authority or the Department of Economic Development, they will be able to tell you if your name is acceptable. All the rules regarding trade names can be seen on the DED official website (

2. Gathering all the documents and applying for a license: You have several options for company formation in Dubai given the type of business activity, legal framework, documentation, and other considerations like Free zones, Mainland, and Offshore. These economic zones are called jurisdictions, each jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations regarding business setup. Selecting a jurisdiction for your business depends on your business requirements and your business activity. To receive your application, the following documents must be submitted.

1)Memorandum of Association
2)License Application
3)Copy of your visa
4)Valid business documents.

3. Finalize the company structure / legal form: Choosing the legal form for your company is an important decision when starting a business in Dubai. It sets the tone and structure for dealing with profits and losses and how you should organize your resources and assets. Decide on the legal form or your company structure during the initial stages of planning, this will help provide a layout for your company. Some of the legal forms or company structures under which you can register your business in the UAE:
• Limited Liability Company ( LLC)
• Solo establishment
• Civil Company
• GCC Company Branch
• Foreign Company Branch

4. Apply for a business license: A business license is your legal permit to perform all the business activities mentioned in the license This opens the gate for several lucrative businesses opportunities in the UAE and your sheer dedication to succeed takes over from there. Business aspirants used to submit the mandatory documents (Name approval, initial approval, payment receipts) and approvals to be concerned. Business licences are applied based on your primary business activity.
● Content production
● Advertising
● Animation
● Corporate Film production
● Corporate Print Material
● Digital content production (e.g. CGI, 3D etc)
● Educational content material
● Film production
● Gaming development
● Graphic design
● Illustration
● Mobile media (e.g. content for interactive media services on mobile phones)
● Music production and recording
● Music videos
● Online electronic content production (e.g. websites, e-books, travel guides etc.)
● Performing arts and theatre
● Photography/videography
● Print content production (e.g. magazines, journals, periodicals, newsletters, guides, and handbooks etc.)
● Radio content production
● Scriptwriting
● Software development (e.g. applications)
● Songwriting and composing
● TV production
● Web design and development (e.g. portal, search engine, community site, web production, online library)

Other business activities
● Branding Agency
● Events/Festivals
● Exhibitions/Conferences
● Information Services (e.g. media related market research)
● Marketing Communications
● Media content management (e.g. digital archiving)
● Post Production (e.g. Film, TV, editing services)
● Professional Association (e.g. non-profit)
● Public Relations
● Rights Management
● Training (media related)

Publishing and broadcasting
● publish a book
● publish a magazine
● publish a newspaper
● broadcast a satellite/terrestrial television channel
● broadcast a satellite/terrestrial radio channel

The following types of licenses are available for businesses:
● Commercial/trade
● Consultancy/services
● Industrial
● Educational
● Media
● eCommerce
● Offshore
● Freelancer
● Warehousing
● Manufacturing.

In order to obtain a trade license, it takes a certain amount of time depending on how you conduct business,
what permits you to require from regulatory and non-governmental agencies, along with other factors.

• Open a corporate bank account: Opening a corporate bank account is an essential aspect of forming a company in Dubai. After completing the process of obtaining the business license, you will have to submit all required documents to the bank that you have chosen to set up your company account.. This bank account will help you manage all the monetary transactions in your company. Dubai corporate bank accounts can be opened in most currencies, making it easy and convenient to exchange currencies. For entrepreneurs, business accounts allow them to track their cash flow and transactions. It is important to compare the corporate accounts features of the various banks in order to select the bank that comes closest to meeting the particular needs of the company. Once all the required documents are submitted, the bank will authenticate every detail and then approve or deny the application.

• Prepare Memorandum Association: Memorandum Association is a nonbinding agreement that defines the responsibilities of each party in an agreement, provides the scope and authority in the agreement clarifies and outlines compliance issues. It is crucial to understand the complexities of a Memorandum of Association (MoA) to start a business in Dubai. The MoA should be drafted in accordance with the UAE government’s mandates. It is also a good idea to consider your business interests before you start a company in Dubai.

• Getting the initial approval: In order to set up a company in Dubai, one needs to familiarize themselves with the processes and policies set by the DED (Department of Economic Development). To get a license for starting a business in Dubai, you need to get initial approval from DED. This approval indicates that the UAE government does not object to you starting a business in UAE. If you do not receive this approval, you cannot proceed with the application process. Having this approval gives your company the legal right to perform a specific business activity or to buy a particular product. To find out the documents you need to provide or for more information, go to
Dubai is keen on attracting industries and companies that would help the economy flourish and contribute to positive growth and allows economic diversification Along the way, we have received emails from readers who wanted a practical guide on how to start setting up a business in Dubai. In this process, we realized that a blog can be a great way to share our insights and research in a timely manner. We hope this is a practical guide that will help you get the ball rolling especially if you are a beginner.