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How to Start a Business as a Foreigner in Dubai?

Dubai is one of the most preferred business hubs in the world for the global business community today. The strategic location, flourishing economy, favorable business environment, easy tax system, and world-class infrastructure are some of the key reasons foreign investors are looking for a business setup in Dubai.

The list of benefits for investors in Dubai is endless. Though there are some restrictions, the benefits provided to foreign investors overpower them. Setting up a company in Dubai is quite an easy process, and incentives that come along make it more appealing to investors.

If you are a foreign investor looking to start your business in Dubai, read on to understand the steps and process.

Steps to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

  1. Make a Business Plan

Starting a business in a new country or a foreign land is not easy. Therefore, it would help if you had a lot of planning and preparations before forming your company. First, you will need to make a business plan and the formats of your company’s basic structure.

  1. Get Your Visa

The next step is to get your visa in Dubai by consulting the local embassy.

  1. Get Your License

The license is an essential document to start a business in Dubai. First, obtain your business license from the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Business License Types

There are 3 main types of business license:

  • Professional license
  • Commercial license
  • Industrial license

Documents Needed to Setup Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Standard documents necessary to start a business in Dubai:

  • Application form
  • Business plan
  • Coloured copies of passports from the shareholders and appointed manager/directors
  • Two years of audited financial reports for a corporate entity
  • NOC from the current sponsor
  • Specimen signature of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director

Documents You Need to Submit to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

The UAE government has introduced several incentives for business owners to set up their business in Dubai. The formation of a company is easy and quick. However, if you find the process complicated, you can always hire business setup consultants in Dubai for expert services.

Before starting your company formation, you will also need to apply for a Dubai visa to make your entry into the country valid. And a visa will allow you to enter multiple times.

Documents that you will have to submit to the Immigration Department:

  • Completed visa application
  • A set of colour photographs
  • Your passport
  • Ticket details
  • Details on the purpose of your visit
  • Your business plan
  • Security amount
  • Bank statement
  • Other information may be required

The Process to Follow for a Business Setup in Dubai

  1. Determine Your Business Entity

This will help you determine what type of business license you will need to operate in Dubai.

  1. Select a Business Name

This will give your business identity. It must reflect the nature of the business.

  1. Find a Local Partner/Sponsor

If you choose a business setup in Dubai mainland, you will need to find a local sponsor. The sponsor will hold 51% of your company’s share. The remaining 49% can be distributed among you and other shareholders. This is not required if you are setting up your company in a Free Zone.

  1. Get Initial Approvals

Obtain initial approvals of your application and supporting documents from concerned departments.

  1. Draft your Memorandum of Association

The Memorandum of Association (MOA) is a document that states the additional activities of the company. Notarise this in a Dubai court.

  1. Make Payments

You will receive a payment voucher after you have submitted all your documents. However, you will have to make payments for your license within 30 days of receiving the payment voucher.

  1. Complete Business Registration

After all the abovementioned steps are done, register your business at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Also, note that there might be additional steps that you may need to accomplish, depending on your business activity. So, it is recommended you consult with a professional business setup consultant to avoid any confusion or delays.

Benefits of Setting up Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Here are some benefits of setting up a business in Dubai as a foreign entrepreneur:

  • Strategically located, Dubai is a perfect connecting point to do business for the entire world. It also serves as a gateway to both Africa and Asia.
  • World-class airports and seaports, making trading with the world more convenient, especially in the Middle East and Asia.
  • Easy corporate taxes, import or export taxes, and capital gains tax.
  • Investment-friendly laws
  • The economy is extremely diverse. Dubai today is looking beyond petroleum or natural gas reserves. Sectors like innovation, technology, trade, tourism, transportation and more are creating massive opportunities.
  • A lower crime rate is one of the significant factors that make it an ideal place to live and work.
  • A business in the Free Zones offers 100% foreign ownership.
  • Doing business on the Mainland creates plenty of trade opportunities without restricting you within a demarcated region.
  • Investor-friendly government.

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