Incorporation Process in the UAE

incorporation process in the uae explained

The UAE is one of the preferred choices for ambitious entrepreneurs from the world over.

It’s easy to see what makes the country such an attractive prospect. As well as its famed low tax environment – with 0% tax on both personal and corporate income – the UAE also benefits from an ideal trading location.

At the heart of the Middle East, the UAE is perfectly placed for international trade, with the Asian, African and European markets in easy reach. Home to two of the world’s busiest airports, the Emirates is also easily accessible for international business travellers from every corner of the globe.

Then there is the UAE’s welcoming business environment – regularly ranked favourably in the global Ease of Doing Business Index. Provided you seek the right guidance, starting a business here can be an incredibly straightforward process.

To ensure you’re in the know before you take your first steps into company formation in the UAE, here’s our simple guide to starting a business here.

Business incorporation process UAE

The company incorporation process in the UAE consists of six simple steps. While these steps may not be complex, they do require a working knowledge of business practices in the country. For that reason, it is a good idea to work closely with a company setup specialist along the way.

Step 1: Choosing your business activity

The first, and one of the most important, steps when setting up here is choosing your business activities. These will determine where you can set up and what license you require.

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) lists thousands of activities that you can choose from. You are free to select more than one, but it is vital that you list every activity you wish to undertake. Failure to do so could lead to licensing issues further down the line.

There are several licenses available in the UAE. The one that is right for you will depend almost entirely on your chosen business activities.

Step 2: Deciding on a free zone or mainland setup

There are two common business types in the UAE – mainland companies and free zone companies.

There are many advantages to both. Free zones offer benefits such as a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions. Meanwhile, mainland businesses can trade directly with the UAE market and take on potentially lucrative government contracts.

The setup that’s right for you will depend on the nature of your business.

Step 3: Making your license application

The most pivotal step in company formation is applying for your license. If you haven’t already, it is strongly advised that you make use of business setup services in the UAE.

Your business setup partner can make and manage your application for you – applying either to the relevant Department of Economic Development or the managing authority of your chosen free zone.

Whether making your application yourself, or through a company formation agent, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos.

Step 4: Submitting your documents

Once all the documentation is ready, it will be submitted to the relevant authority for getting your business license approved.

Step 5: Applying for your visa

Just like applying for your trade license, with the right guidance, the process of applying for your own visa, as well as those of your employees, is particular, yet straightforward. Again, an expert in UAE company formation can help you with this step.

As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas too. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.

The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.

Step 6: Opening your business bank account

Strict money laundering regulations can make it difficult for overseas entrepreneurs to access corporate banking facilities. Working with an expert in the field makes for a much smoother process.

When you work with a company formation expert, you get access to their connections with both local and international banks. Many company formation agents will also arrange meetings for you in branch if required.

If you are in the market for a new company setup in the UAE, you should contact in order to receive the best quotes based on your needs.

Start your incorporation process in the UAE

If you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a business in the UAE doesn’t have to be overly complex.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation consultant such a when establishing a new company in the UAE.

You can fill all the info using our free form to receive the best affordable quotes to start your dream business in the UAE.5

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