Frequently Asked Questions for Business Setup

What is the difference between Commercial License and Professional License?
A professional license is for qualified professionals or individuals (like Consultants, Engineers, Architects, Teachers, Doctors, etc.). The license permits them to perform their job in their area of expertise in Dubai. Commercial license business owners can engage in commercial activities like trading of, goods and services, construction, renting, etc. in the United Arab Emirates.
Who can be appointed as a local service agent for a foreign company branch in Dubai or Abu Dhabi?
Only UAE nationals or companies that have 100% ownership of UAE nationals are eligible to be appointed as local service agents.
Can a branch office of a local company be opened in any other Emirate or same Emirate?
Yes, a branch office with a similar business activity can be opened in the same Emirate or other Emirate. However, the location/address of the branch must be different. The business activities mentioned in the license must have approval from the Economic Development Office. To apply for business set up of a branch, the company formation and registration documents of the parent company are necessary.
How do I open a bank account for my new business established in the UAE?
After your company formation, registration and business setup processes are done, you can contact a bank directly, or get in touch with an agent who can help you in the opening of a bank account with international & local banks as per your business needs.
Is there a provision to make amendments in the license later when needed?
Yes, but only after approval by the authorised bodies.
What is a Free Zone Company in UAE?
Free Zone is an authority where a business owner of any nationality can have 100% ownership of their company, which is not a possibility in Mainland jurisdiction. The companies in the free zone are exempted from import and export duties. They are also given a designated area to function. Additionally, there is 100% repartition of capital and profits.
What is the major disadvantage of a Free Zone Company?
Free Zone Company cannot go into direct business with the UAE local market. They can undertake local business through the locally appointed distributors. For a local business, the customs duty of 5% is levied.
What is the number of visas/work permits a Free Zone Company can get?
The number of visas/work permits depends on the jurisdiction the company is registered within the free trade zone. Also, the office space size that enterprise has leased for the purpose.
What are the Mainland business categories in Dubai, UAE?
The six categories are:-

● Sole Proprietorship
● Civil Company
● Limited Liability Company
● Private Shareholding
● Public Shareholding
● Branch of foreign companies
What are the free zone business categories in Dubai, UAE?
The different types of companies that you can set up in the UAE free zones are:-

● Private free zone company
● en-commendam branch of an international company
● Branch of the company already working in Dubai
● Professional services
What is the cost of the Mainland & Free zone business setup in UAE?
The business setup cost for the Mainland depends on the business activity, size of the business and the location you choose for your office space.
In case of a Free zone, the cost varies from free zone to free zone and it also depends on the number of visas. So, 100% estimation is not possible, however, you can hire a business setup consultant to know the exact amount.
What is the process of Trade Name Registration in the Mainland?
You will need to apply for the registration of your Trade Name in the related Department of Economics in the emirates you have chosen for the business. The booking takes one day, and it is valid for six months.
How many business activities can I do under a single license in UAE?
In most of the free trade zones, you can run only two business activities under one license. On the other hand, on the Mainland, you are allowed to undertake 10 activities. However, the activities must be as per the DED standards.
Do I need a local agent/local sponsor for my license in UAE?
If you are starting a mainland company, you need UAE national as your local agent or local sponsor. Whereas, in free trade zones, you get 100% ownership of your company.
Which department issues trade/business license in Mainland Dubai?
The Department of the Economic Development issues the trade license of all the three categories.
What are the types of licenses to set up a business in UAE?
There are three different types of license required as per your business activities:

● Commercial license to engage in the trading business
● Professional license for professional services
● Industrial license if you have a manufacturing or industrial business.

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