Dubai is a cosmopolitan city. It is the most prominent and leading business center of the Middle East. It is a densely populated city in United Arab Emirate with lots of opportunities and multiple facilities.

Dubai has a rapidly growing economy with a lot of scope for initiating and maintaining a business. It’s the largest Gross Domestic Product(GDP) contributor in various industries like trade, e-commerce, healthcare, financial organizations, tourism, with leading business center which is not highly restrictive.

Check: Steps to set up a business in Dubai

Dubai based companies and its directors experience major advantages like secure capital, complete privacy, limited accountability, flexible operating conditions etc which are essential for the well-being of the business.

Companies in Dubai can be started in 3 ways:

  • Free zone
  • Offshore
  • Mainland

Setting up a company in Dubai Free Zone

  • Selecting a business activity: As a first and foremost step picking a business activity as per your choice is important. There are different types of business options available in Dubai. Choose the business activity required for you.
  • Choose a free zone: You will have to research for a free zone that best suits for your business activity. Since free zones contain several sectors in Dubai depending on several industries like commerce, IT, trade, health care etc.
  • Give a name to the company: There are few standards for names. After choosing the name of a company in Dubai, it has to be registered in the free zone authority portal.
  • Get all the required documents and apply for a license: After choosing the business activity and the company name, one has to register the company name in the portal and then apply for a license in Dubai. The license will be issued based on the type of business activity. The License will be issued in 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, all the necessary documents can be collected and at the same time, visa application can be processed.
  • A corporate bank account: It is easy to open a bank account, but before that documents, business license, and financial institution has to be clearly decided if you want to set-up a firm in Dubai.

More information about Free trade zones in Dubai

Documents required to start a company in Dubai Free Zone

Requirements for a business license:

  • A proper business plan
  • An Application form
  • A Board resolution letter
  • If applicable, color copy of the company shareholder passport and visa.
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association

Requirements to open a Bank Account:

  • Share certificate
  • Company account opening form
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • All the company partners passport copies
  • Account opening should be sanctioned by the board of directors.

Setting up a company in Dubai Offshore

  • The company name in Dubai has to be chosen and there has to be “ltd or incorporated” after the company name. If the name is already present you will have to check for the availability in order to register.
  • A shareholder or the directors may be the legal bodies and there is no limit for citizenship in Dubai.
  • The company in Dubai should submit Memorandum and Articles of association
  • Shareholder/directors have to register data if its a private company in Dubai and submit passport copies as per the requirement for starting a company in Dubai
  • Original documents like a bank statement, utility bills, etc have to be submitted which are not older than 3 months. Also proof of residential status of the shareholders have to be submitted
  • Original bank approval letter, recommendation letter in English has to be submitted
  • At least one shareholder, 2 directors and one secretary who is a UAE resident are mandatory for setting up a company.

Also view: Best business ideas for expats in Dubai 

Documents required to start a company in Dubai Offshore

Requirements to open a bank account:

  • Provision of a Bank Reference letter
  • Latest utility bill
  • A 6 month personal Bank account statement
  • A clear passport copy

Document requirements for opening a company:

  • Share certificate
  • Incorporation certificate
  • Passport copies and resumes of the concerned shareholders
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Shareholder’s business profile
  • A 6 month personal Bank account statement
  • Confirmation of business in the home country
  • Individual shareholders original and latest bank reference letter along with residence proof is mandatory.

After completing the whole documentation process it takes 6-7 working days to start an offshore company in Dubai.

Offshore company limitations:

  • Shareholders/Directors should visit Dubai
  • Businesses like Banking, advertising, consultancy, insurance etc. cannot be carried out.
  • Local places cannot be rented by the companies in Dubai
  • There is no permission for bearer shares

 Setting up a company in Dubai Mainland(On-shore)

1. Branches for foreign companies

  • A shareholder is not required to start a foreign company in Dubai
  • It is mandatory to get the business activity authorized by the Ministry of Economy since it is not permitted for foreign companies to include branches in the mainland, participate in primary business and carry on with trade activity.
  • All the required approvals and license has to be collected from authorities to start a business in mainland
  • Business License will help a national agent to act on the behalf of the business
  • The company in Dubai should state the type of business that is to be practiced.
  • The stated business operation for the branches of the foreign company has to be present under the parent company in Dubai.

2. Professional company(civil company)

  • 1 to 50 shareholders are permitted
  • Foreign investors can start a professional company in Dubai in order to perform professional practice
  • To start a a civil company in Dubai there is no limitation of 51% local charge.
  • Few companies in Dubai that come under civil companies are Management consultancy, Marketing consultancy, etc.

3. Limited liability company(LLC)

It’s a popular type of company in Dubai with 2 to 50 shareholders. The liability is decided based on each shareholder’s share in the capital.

4. Representative Office

A Representative/Branch office can be formed without a shareholder. These offices in Dubai do not participate in manufacturing and trading. They are the arms of the parent company in Dubai which helps in marketing.

5. Public shareholding companies

These companies in Dubai generally handle huge projects which involves heavy capital. Financial, insurance, banking etc. come under public shareholding companies.

Documents required to start a company in Dubai Mainland

Individual shareholder

  • Passport copies of shareholders, managers, and directors along with entry stamp and visa page
  • No Objection Certificate is required if a manager/shareholder is on employment visa of the concerned company
  • National Identification card and a valid/clear passport copy  is required

Corporate shareholder

  • Original Copies of Memorandum, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association authorized by Dubai embassy.
  • Shareholders List in Arabic
  • If the company is the shareholder under LLC the No Objection Certificate has to be issued by the offshore authorities.
  • An original copy of board resolution letter along with power of attorney has to be notarized and authorized from Dubai embassy.

Most importantly the certified degree documents and CV documents of Public shareholding companies and Professional company in Dubai has to be:

  • Authorized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Authorized by the embassy in the native country
  • Authorized  original copies by the Public Notary in the native country

It is simple and easy to start a company in Dubai which makes Dubai an efficient business destination. Dubai offers world-class service, guaranteeing no issues. Also, company formation strategy in Dubai is highly flexible and highly sophisticated which ensures maximum outcomes with maximum facilities.

Meet the author
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Anala is a young and spunky guru on financial matters, who tells you like it is; everything from managing debt to managing savings accounts. While books and movies keep her brain ticking, Anala pursues swimming and dancing to keep fit. A lifelong explorer and learner, Anala believes in giving back, and volunteers with the Bright Spark Education program at the NGO Youngistaan Foundation, where she opens up children's minds to the innumerable possibilities of a happy and successful life!

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Anala is a young and spunky guru on financial matters, who tells you like it is; everything from managing debt to managing savings accounts. While books and movies keep her brain ticking, Anala pursues swimming and dancing to keep fit. A lifelong explorer and learner, Anala believes in giving back, and volunteers with the Bright Spark Education program at the NGO Youngistaan Foundation, where she opens up children's minds to the innumerable possibilities of a happy and successful life!

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