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Posted By: Jessica Augustin | 20 Mar 2018

Business Setup in Dubai- All You Need To Know To Get Started

Business Setup in Dubai

Business Setup in Dubai? Expert Answers & Facts for Foreign Entrepreneurs & Businesses to setup Business in Dubai


Ever Dreamt of a Business Setup in Dubai but not sure where and how to get started? Too much information on the internet but unsure which one is right? You to wish to expand your company setup in Dubai or in any one of the rising emirates in the UAE but have no clue how to get started?

Then this article is for you! Read to find out why Dubai is the perfect business location for your new startup, whether you should setup your business in Dubai Freezone or Mainland and the top 5 questions to get you started right!


Why Business Setup in Dubai is the ideal location in the Middle East?

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and welcoming everyone to make their dreams come true.It is often referred to as the city of gold. As per the demographic static of UAE more than 82%, the population is Expat. People are coming here as tourists, entrepreneurs and professionals/students who look for new experiences, business & career opportunities. Dubai is welcoming all and gives you a lifetime experience!

A few of the many reasons what perfectly describe why many companies and entrepreneurs selection Dubai for their company formation is as follows:

  • Dubai is a trade hub for the Middle East and Africa.
  • Dubai has most advanced logistics and transportation infrastructure in MENA region important for larger Business setups.
  • Dubai is ranked 1st in MENA region in ease of doing business, which includes company formation, trading across borders, taxes and dealing with permits.
  • Dubai has low taxes. Company registration in Dubai allows increasing profitability through minimum tax.

Should I Setup Business in Dubai Freezone or Mainland?

This is a question many companies and foreign entrepreneurs have.To start your business in Dubai there are a number of options available including business setup in Dubai Free zones as well as mainland company formation in Dubai. The type of business setup in Dubai totally depends on your own requirement and intentions of doing business.

Read on to understand the major difference and benefits of a freezone setup in Dubai as well as a mainland company formation often also referred to as a Dubai LLC or Onshore Company.

Free Zone Companies in Dubai For Foreign Entrepreneurs & Companies

A Business Setup in Dubai Freezone is the best options for those entrepreneurs who have only International Business Exposure and require UAE presence. New entrepreneurs who would like to test the UAE market and starting their business, are selecting Free Zone Jurisdictions. There are more than 40 free zones in UAE and majority of Free zones are established in Dubai. You can setup a free zone company by making minimum investment and formalities. Some free zones are providing cost-effective company license which starts from AED 13,500 with the eligibility of 1 visa.

Benefits of a Dubai Free Zone Company Formation

From the many benefits, below are some major points that you can consider when going for a freezone company formation in UAE.

➤   100% repatriation of capital and profits allowed

➤   100 % Foreign Ownership

➤   Zero personal or corporate Taxes, customs duties

➤   Shared services & Synergies with other companies in free zone

➤   State of the art infrastructure


Discover how a business setup in a Dubai Free zone Company contributes to increased Profits

➤   Access to over 1.5 billion customers with rapidly increasing demand

Dubai is a growing city and with the heavy inflow of expats choosing Dubai as their second home, the demand for Consumer Products, Services and Facilities increase.

➤   Easy availability of an experienced workforce

Home to over 200 nationalities Dubai has one of the largest numbers of diversified and experienced professionals from around the world.

➤   Abundant and inexpensive energy

Dubai believes in renewable energy and has proven strategies to continuously produce cost-effective energy supply.

➤   ‘One stop shop’ administrative service for each free zone

Every free zone has their own administrative center making it thus effective for business owners to communicate.

➤   You can operate your free zone company 24/7

Based on International time zones, free zone companies in Dubai allow you to operate non-stop.


When Should I Consider a Business Setup in Dubai Mainland?

A Mainland Company or DED license Company in Dubai is registered with the Department of Economic Development (DED). It is also known as onshore company formation.

Entrepreneurs are selecting Mainland legal structure also knows as a limited liability company(Dubai LLC) for their proposed company to capture the local UAE market as well as to get more preference in getting Government-Semi Government Projects.

Company registration in mainland Dubai under department of Dubai Economic Development has a restriction of foreign ownership. A Mainland or DED registered company in Dubai must have 51% Shares hold by UAE national & 49% shares hold by expat(s)

The Alternate Solution on the 51/49 % Ownership Rule for Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

Alternatively a mainland company formation can also be done under a Professional License- where the ownership is 100% to the expat & UAE National acts as Local Service Agent without holding any shares. However, ADAM Global provides the solution of 100 % financial freedom for a mainland Company through a Corporate Sponsorship

Mainland Companies can get work visas as per their business requirement. Banking for the mainland companies are easy and after fulfilling the bank’s requirement they can avail loan & LC facilities from the all major banks of UAE.

Types of DED Licences for Mainland Company Formation in Dubai

To register a company in Dubai Mainland lets understand the required selection of business type and business activity. Business type falls under 4 categories.

  1. Professional License in Dubai

These can include personally offered services like professional consultancy, beauty salon/spa , Coaching/Education Centre or even a Music/Sports Academy in Dubai.

  1. Commercial License in Dubai

Trading activities like retail sales fall under commercial license company formation in Dubai

  1. Industrial License in Dubai

The Industrial Licence is sought specifically for manufacturing or processing goods or packaging products for sale which often involve the requirement of a warehouse facility in Dubai.

  1. Business Setup In Dubai with a Foreign Branch or Representative Office 

Often Companies who would like to promote their presence in the Middle East opt-in to setup a branch of a foreign company in Dubai. Read more here

Legal forms to setup a company in Dubai Mainland

There are various legal forms of a business setup in Dubai Mainland and your consultant can always give you an expert advice on what is best suited to your needs.

  1. Individual Establishment (Sole Proprietorship)
  2. Civil Company
  3. Limited Liability Company
  4. Private Shareholding Company (Private Joint Stock Co)
  5. Public Shareholding Company
  6. Simple Limited Partnership
  7. Partnership Company
  8. Branch of Foreign Company
  9. Branch of a Civil Company
  10. Branch of Dubai Based Company
  11. Branch of U.A.E. Based Company
  12. Branch of GCC Company
  13. Branch of a Freezone Company
  14. Intelaq (UAE Nationals Only)

Unleash the Benefits of Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

Although the initial perception of foreign entrepreneurs raises a concern when it comes to the ownership of a mainland company formation, a Dubai LLC Company comes with many benefits;

  • No Corporation tax
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Trade locally in Dubai and UAE market
  • Operate your company from any part of UAE
  • Hassle free and easy visa processing for employees
  • Flexibility to choose office locations anywhere in Dubai
  • Easy legal procedures to get license and registration in Dubai
  • No currency restrictions in Dubai Mainland company

How Do I Start the Business Setup Process in Dubai?

In Order to get started, it is best to take advice from an experienced consultant from a reputed company. If you would like to know and understand what is best for you simply write to me on answering the following 5 questions:

  1. What is your proposed business activity?
  2. What is your target market?
  3. Do you require UAE residence visa?
  4. Do you require physical office space?
  5. When would you like to start working on this project?


 If you have enjoyed reading this article then you also will be interested in our other informative blogs:

Corporate vs Local Sponsor in Dubai – Which one is right for Mainland Company Formation?
A guide for starting your Medical Clinic/Spa in Dubai


About the author

This Article Has been Contributed by Jessica Augustin who is currently working as the Head of Marketing, PR & Communications for ADAM Global. She is also actively facilicating foreign partnership and businesses to expand in the Middle East, collaborating and synergizing with various Government departments. She is directly reachable via email on