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 Zoneis an authority where a business owner of any nationality can have 100% ownership of their company. 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 Different Free Zone Companies 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 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 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 the 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.
You can contact us 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 for My License in UAE?
If you are starting a mainland company, you need UAE national as your local agent. 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 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.
What is the Cost of License Registration in Freezone?
The type of license you apply for directly impacts the total cost to acquire a free zone license in Dubai. The cost varies as per the type of license like - General Trading, Commercial, Industrial, Service and so on. Usually, the cost of a free zone license in Dubai is approx. AED 10K to 50K.
You have options to choose among - a Free Zone Company (FZC), Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Branch of a Foreign Company, or Branch of a UAE Company if you opt for a Free Zone business structure. Based on the option you choose, your registration formalities and various other charges vary. The cost of registering a free zone company is approx. AED 15K to 50K.
What are the Costs for Office Space and Commercial Space?
You have the option to choose from a broad spectrum of office spaces available in Dubai free zones. The options include - serviced office spaces, fully furnished offices, Flexi-desk, private spaces, executive spaces, and many more.
You must choose your office space as per your business needs - official or commercial, whatever suits your type of business activity and your type of business setup in the Dubai free zone. Also, consider the size of the business entity, period of business and other essential factors. A free zone office space may cost you approx. AED 20K.
Contact our representatives to discuss renting cost-effective and budget-friendly office spaces.
What are the visa charges in Dubai for Free Zones?
The number of visas you can apply for depends directly on the size of your firm. For example, the visa authorities in Dubai (UAE) may charge you approx. AED 5K for a visa per person. However, obtaining a visa for a free zone cmpany is faster than a mainland company.
What is the cost of a trade license?
A general trading license will cost approx. AED 28,500.
Also, as per the new law of DED, a general Trading License can be 100% owned by an Expat.
To know the exact cost and understand the cost break-up better or any other assistance, you can contact us directly.
How can I start a company in Dubai?
You can start with three types of companies, i.e. mainland, free zone, or offshore company. For setting up any of these companies, you need to follow certain steps such as:

● Keep your essential documents handy
● Determine the trade name
● Find a local partner
● Get approval for the business process
● Receive preliminary approval
● Acquire business license
● Immigration and visa process

Get in touch with our team of expert business setup consultants for assistance and hassle-free service.
Why do we need a local agent, and how much do I have to pay for it?
The annual charges that a UAE national or local service agent expects from the foreign ex-pat depends on the nature of the business that the ex-pat wants to set up in Dubai. However, the average rate for a UAE local service agent starts from approx. AED 8000/- per year.
Is Dubai truly Tax-Free?
The United Arab Emirates does not have any federal income tax. That means there is no income tax on income generated in Dubai. Also, there is no sales tax on the majority of goods and services. However, it would be wrong to say it is a tax-free nation. The UAE is not a tax-free country. They have 5% VAT, import tax, Salik (road toll), service charges, municipal taxes, customs duties, etc.
Is Dubai an open trading hub?
Yes, Dubai is open to all for trading and business. UAE is among the top 3 business hubs worldwide, according to DMCC's Commodity Trade Index.
Can I open my company with 100% ownership?
Yes, it is possible. Let the authorities know your business needs.
Do I need to show any capital to start my business in Dubai, UAE?
There is no minimum capital requirement in Dubai (UAE), and it is variable. The capital requirement depends on the number of shareholders, business size, business activities and many other factors.
How many days are needed to start a business in Dubai?
According to most of the business consultants in Dubai, setting up a business takes 4 to 5 working days. However, it depends on several factors and certifications bound to the company's establishment.
What are PRO services?
PRO stands for Public Relations Officer. It is a service to help you with professional document clearing services for government documents and paperwork associated with businesses in the UAE.
Can I start my business from a remote location?
Yes, you can if you have obtained an e-trade license that will allow you to open your Business in Dubai but operate from any location of your choice, from anywhere in the world.
Do you need a local partner to incorporate a company in the Dubai Mainland?
Earlier, appointing local partners or service agents was necessary to incorporate a company in the mainlands. But, in 2021, the government introduced a new commercial law to relax this rule and today, Dubai mainland allows even foreign nationals to start businesses with 100% ownership. So, hiring a local partner is no longer necessary. However, there are a few specific businesses where special approvals are needed. You can consult with an expert business setup consultant to understand the process for the same.
What are the office space requirements for a mainland company?
A commercial lease contract is a necessity to establish and run a trade license under the Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai and also an Ejari (Dubai) or Tawtheeq (Abu Dhabi) – that is, a municipality lease contract. This is a common requirement to incorporate a company in order to acquire a DED trade licence (however, some licences allow companies to establish without a lease). Additionally, minimum size, location, and suitability requirements apply while renting an office space. For example, in Dubai, the minimum office space requirement is about 200 sq. ft., and for a warehouse, 500sq.ft. It varies from emirates to emirates.
Does an LLC need to be financially audited in the UAE?
As per the new UAE Commercial Companies Law, Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, Article 27, appointing auditors is necessary for every mainland company to audit their books of accounts. The person should be a licensed auditor registered under the Ministry of Economy in the UAE.
What kind of legal formalities an investor has to follow in Dubai to start a business?
An investor has to follow simple processes to set up a company in Dubai (UAE). Paperworks, approvals, and procedures are minimum and quickly processed to obtain licenses and register a company efficiently. Moreover, you will find business setup consultants to help you if you find it complicated.
Can anybody own land or property in free trade zones?
One can lease a property where business is located in the free zones.
Is annual audit compulsory for a free zone company?
Every free zone has its own rules and regulations. Therefore, you may or may not need a yearly audit, depending on your company type and free zone laws.
What commercial space do I require for a free zone trade licence?
The commercial space requirements depend on business size, location and business activities. For example, a Free Zone Enterprise (FZE) service or consultancy company may be formed in just a few days if you choose a Flexi desk or virtual office space, available at a low cost. However, in an Industrial or Logistics Freezone, you will have to rent an industrial area to get all the permissions needed to operate your business smoothly and legally. Therefore, the formation of industrial space can take several months, depending on the approvals you receive for the commercial space.
Can a free zone company conduct business anywhere in the UAE?
No, it cannot. A free trade zone company can work only with companies in the same free zone jurisdiction that has issued the licence and with companies overseas. Also, a free zone company cannot even conduct business with UAE mainland companies. However, for services companies specifically, it can be allowed if the UAE mainland company is willing to engage with the free zone company. In some jurisdictions, the free zone company can now apply for a Dual Licence into the mainland if eager to deal with mainland companies.
What are the office space requirements for a free zone company?
A commercial lease contract is required to form and operate with a trade license in all free zones. However, Flexi desk/virtual office spaces are available for a limited number of visas – which allows for up to 2 visas. This is good for the initial stage of company formation. However, if the company plans to expand and hire more than 2 staff, the requirement for physical office space will increase. Then a free zone company can increase the office rent requirements by about 10 sqm for every additional person hired on the licence.

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