Dubai has developed into a world-class city with modern infrastructure, state-of-the-art ICT facilities supporting high-standard of living that attracts people internationally. The city of Dubai from a small fishing village has grown into a commercial and financial hub in the MENA region due to its strategic location in the Middle East and a clear advantage in trade, commerce which is protected and nurtured by the rulers as well as the government. Open market, well-defined business laws, a robust legal system, secure economy and supportive financial regulations encourage entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations to set up their company operations in Dubai. Furthermore, there is no tax on capital gains, no personal or wealth taxes applicable to citizens as well as residents in Dubai.
Licensing in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates market is open to international business people, companies and investors. However, the business sectors, industries and systems are effectively regulated by laws and regulations to maintain international standards in safety, security and procedures. The UAE business laws are liberal, pro-business and transparent along with the strict rules, regulations and laws imposed on the companies for maintaining fair trade and a stable business ecosystem, environmental protection, and ensures public safety and health which comes as a first priority to the government authorities.
Individuals, businesses and companies that are interested in operating in one of the UAE’s regulated markets then you might be required to obtain licenses from the governmental authorities and agencies to legally perform certain business activities in the country. Besides the business licenses, you must register your business with government authorities, get approvals, permits and authorizations from respective agencies or Ministries before setting up a business in UAE to perform specific business or trade or service.
Who needs a Commercial License in Dubai?
As the Dubai market is open to international trade and commerce, foreign businesses are also allowed to perform business activities in Dubai with a valid license and permit. Individuals, businesses and companies interested in performing the below-mentioned business activities which are regulated by the laws and has specific rules, compliances to be followed before starting the business operations and tertiary activities that are performed along with the respective businesses.
Before applying for a license in UAE, you should take note of the business activities that you're interested in performing as a company owner or entrepreneur as the licenses are issued based only on the list of business activities which is mentioned when applied. However, you need to know that the tertiary business activities along with the primary business activity cannot be more than ten activities per commercial license. Although the licenses allow you to perform a business, it is best if you register your company in UAE for leveraging the benefits, setting up a company in Mainland UAE helps you in streamlining your activities while assisting you in expanding your operations.
- Automobile and vehicle rental business
- Electronic products sales
- Import and export activities
- Offering brokerage service
- Dealing with construction material
- Real estate services
- Travel & tourism
- General stores and shops
After obtaining the business license for activities in Dubai, you need you to register your business establishment as a company with a trading name for streamlining your operations. Limited Liability Company structure in Dubai is one of the most used popular legal entity that foreigners use to set up business in the UAE Mainland for performing selling, trading inside the UAE market. Besides you need to look for a local UAE partner who can help you comply with the requirement of having a UAE citizen as a business partner with a 51 per cent share.
Click here to more about the "Types of Business Entities that are available in UAE."
However, if you’re planning to perform trade activities outside the UAE market, then you can set up business in Dubai free zones which offer flexible business structures with complete foreign ownership and no corporate taxes.
Click here to know more about the “Free Zones in the Emirate of Dubai”.
Process for Obtaining an Instant Commercial License
- Choose a legal business structure for your Company
- Determine the business activity
- Decide the partners, investors or directors for your company by preparing the documents that comprise the
- Partner’s share in the capital
- Distribution of profits and losses between the partners
- Director’s responsibilities and functions
- Reserve your business’s trade name through one of the ways
- By reserving a new trade name through the Companies Register
- By using an automatically generated trade name, which consists of the trade name reservation number
- Decide the value of the share capital and add it into the Commercial Register data of the company
- Prepare a Memorandum of Association (MOA) with the partners, investors and directors whether individual or corporate
- Upload the MOA into the electronic service platform
- Acquire the payment voucher
Documents Required for Applying for a Commercial License in Dubai
- Commercial License application form (Note: mention the company name in English and Arabic)
- The original lease contract for the company's registered address
- Memorandum of Association (MOA) with the partner or sponsor
- Permit issued by the Dubai Municipality Building Department
- Proof for paying the processing fee paid
Types of Licenses in Dubai
Why Start your Business in Dubai?
The government of Dubai encourages foreign businesses and companies to start their operations in the emirate by developing unique, purpose-built, and clearly demarcated locations with a particular administration known as the free zones. By creating free zones with no taxes, full foreign ownership, and business-friendly regulations the Dubai attracts a diverse set of business sectors with specially-built industry-specific or business-specific free zones that have the supportive infrastructure, legislation and connectivity needed for that type of industry.
However, all the industries in Dubai are streamlined and regulated by the governmental authorities, agencies with rules, regulations and compliances. Generally speaking, the government is very strict when it comes to the matters of human health and safety, hygiene and quality in food, industrial, and automobile safety, environmental protection. Moreover, the rules of law are given great importance as the country's legal system is efficiently designed to sort out matters of non-compliances and rule-breaking with severe fines and punishment.
If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or a well-established company planning to start or expand your business operations in Dubai contact us. Our experienced professionals can assist you in business incorporation, getting approvals, licenses and permits in Dubai.