Complete Guide to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Dubai is the most demanding and attractive place for doing business. Every year many entrepreneurs from all over the world came to Dubai for doing business, the reason behind this is its strategic location, tax regime, and vibrant ecosystem that’s why most people from the world prefer Dubai for doing business. Dubai offers you a long-term visa which enables foreigners to stay longer and do business for the end of their careers. Nonresidential can easily set up their business in Dubai and can manage it from any location.

Over 80% of foreigners and residents set up their shops and run their own businesses. Emirates has large numbers of setup agents that assist foreign business owners, issue them licenses, visa and guide them through business incorporation procedures.

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If you are interested in these benefits and are thinking to start a business in the USA as a foreigner then here is a complete guide to starting a business in Dubai.

Tips for non-residents/foreigners starting a business in Dubai

Before starting a business in Dubai there are some tips to know for better understanding.

  • Dubai is known as an economic hub of the Middle East & has gained international prominence.
  • The suppliers’ connectivity with Asia and the African subcontinent is easy because of its geographical location. 90% of the population is ex-pats in Dubai from all over the world.
  • Doing business in Dubai is much beneficial because of its safe living environment, friendly policies, and excellent infrastructure which gives you the opportunity to live luxury life in such a lucrative city.
  • First, you need to decide the business/company type you want. You can be determined in many ways like the nature of your company, the purpose of your business & what its operational aspects are.
  • There are two types of corporate structure that you can choose according to your business/company type:

1- Limited Liability Company: Limited liability Company (LLC) is a standard company in UAE. The Department of economic development (DED) is a government-authorized company that issue license for LLCs.

2- Sole Establishment: Sole establishment is a legal venture of Dubai that is run by an individual who is the owner of a trade license in his/her name. The owner is responsible for all of the entity’s obligations & financial liabilities.

Steps to start a business in Dubai without being a resident:

In Dubai, starting a business is easy if you are familiar with the laws and regulations. To make it simpler for you, we’ve included the procedures for foreigners to launch a business in Dubai below:

1- Select your industry for business:

One of the most crucial choices you must make when starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is the type of firm you want to establish. Your company’s structure will be determined by the activity you choose. You can start a sole proprietorship that enables you to run your business as the only owner. Also, you can establish a limited liability corporation (LLC), which enables you to have a distinct legal structure and is the most typical business structure in Dubai.

 2- Choose a business name:

The reservation of a trading name is a requirement for the registration of a corporation. Your business must be clear from your company name. The legal professionals at Sharia can assist you in selecting a name that hasn’t already been registered, doesn’t offend anyone, and fits with your company’s operations.

 3- Get a license:

To open a business in Dubai as a foreigner, you must obtain a license. The DED or the relevant free zone authorities can be contacted directly for a trading license.

All business licenses are issued by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED). According to your type of business, you can select from four different types of business licenses:

Commercial: As its name implies, you need this license to engage in any type of trading activity in Dubai.

Professional: Any business that provides services must obtain this license.

Industrial: This license is required for any manufacturing or packaging-related activities.

Tourism: In this instance, the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) both review the company formation. The latter is in charge of issuing this business license.

 4- Registration and incorporation of businesses:

 After completing the aforementioned stages, you can register your business with the relevant authority and begin carrying out operational operations in the UAE. To register, one would need to acquire all relevant paperwork, including identification documents, business licenses, permissions, bank accounts, etc. Only after registration does your company in Dubai become a legal entity.

5- Purchase a business visa:

The movement of a business within and outside of the nation is made easier by a business visa. Thanks to it, three of the senior business staff members can also apply for residency. Long-term visas for both the applicant and any dependents are available to ex-pats who wish to launch a business in Dubai. Inquire with the regional embassy to obtain the visa. Anyone wishing to relocate to the UAE to launch a business may also apply for a business visa.

Cost of business as an ex-pat:

The price to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner or an ex-pat depends on a number of variables, including the type of business, license costs, location, and other paperwork. For instance, the cost of the trade license would range between AED 15,000 and AED 25,000, depending on the region. Additionally, there is an additional AED 2000 charge if you choose a foreign name for your business that is not Arabic.

Approvals needed to launch a foreign-owned firm in Dubai:

Specific businesses in Dubai are required to obtain permission from various governmental organizations. For example, in Dubai, a permit from the municipality is required for food and safety in order to build a restaurant. In a similar vein, in order to conduct any industrial activities, you must lease or rent factory space of a specific minimum area.

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