6 Simple Steps to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Starting a business in foreign country can be daunting initially. One needs time to understand the rules and laws pertaining to that particular business. And if there’s lot of competition between the businesses, the task is even harder. As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Dubai is a perfect place for expats looking to advance in their careers. The unparalleled opportunity to expand one’s horizons coupled with the potential to earn well is what draws more expats to Dubai in search of greener pastures.

Before going into the crux of the matter, make sure you plan and research your UAE based venture meticulously. The Middle East and the Gulf region can be complicated markets for most types of businesses, and local customs, habits and laws can be tough for a foreigner to navigate.

At this point, if you think your homework is complete, you can let the bureaucracy begin.

Obtaining a Dubai Visa

Since you will be doing your business in Dubai, you will have to apply for a business visa with multiple entries. To apply for a visa, you need the following documents;

  • A set of photographs
  • Passport
  • Ticket details
  • Purpose of visit
  • In case you are establishing your business you need to show your business plan
  • Visa application duly completed
  • Guarantor’s visa and passport with 3 month validity
  • Security amount
  • Bank statement
  • Some other personal details, if required

Eligibility Criteria to Obtain Dubai Visa

  • Your passport should be at least 6 months valid from the day of entry.
  • In case you are student, minor or women, you need to be accompanied by someone
  • You should have never been convicted in Dubai
  • You should have never been deported from Dubai

Once you are eligible, you need to pay due fees for the approval of your Dubai visa. It takes a week time to get your visa processed.

How to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner?

The first step in business setup in Dubai is to decide the location of company suitable for your business. You can start a company in Dubai mainland or any of the freezones in Dubai. If you want to set up a company in Dubai mainland, then a UAE national will own majority (51%) of the shares in the company according to the rules. Whereas forming a company in Dubai free zones will give you complete ownership of the company.

Let us go through the procedure of registering your business in Dubai step-by-step.

1.Select a Business Entity

Your business type will determine the kind of license you require. Whether it’s commercial, professional, or industrial license, these will define the basis of your operations. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has a list of over 2100 activities that you can choose from.

2.Select a Trade Name

Your trade name is a very important part of the legal procedure. The company name should ideally indicate the nature of business, unless it is a branch of another company. All the rules regarding trade names can be seen on the DED official website.

3.Find a Local Partner (for mainland only)

Instead of a free zone, if you are choosing Dubai mainland as your ideal location, then you need to find a local sponsor who will hold the majority interest in your company and can therefore, potentially control the business.

4.Get and Initial Approval

At this point, you must obtain a kind of “no-objection” from DED. For this you must send an application with supporting documents. The authority will go through it and if all is well; your application will be approved.

5.Draft MoA

Memorandum of Association is a document that governs the external activities of the company. Local Service Agent (LSA) / Corporate Agent agreement with a local support (UAE national) is also needed. Also, at this stage you will have to finalize a physical address for your company. The MoA needs to be notarized by a Notary Public in a Dubai court.

6.Register Your Business

Before heading to the last step of the journey of registration of your business, make sure your type of business does not require any additional approvals. Once everything is done, you just have to submit all the documents with an application form and process all the payments. You have to pay for your trade license within 30 days of receiving a payment voucher. In case of non payment for six months, the transaction is automatically cancelled.

And one final step is to register your company at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Apart from this, in most legal forms of the DED, you need to hire a manager to oversee operations and have him ready to be on board before your registration is approved. But in other cases, you may not be allowed to hire at all.

If you have successfully read the blog and noted down all the points, it should be obvious that the best thing to do ahead of opening a business in Dubai is to research, research, and research.       Overall, however, the UAE is proving an increasingly enticing place to set up a business. If you are still skeptical, we at Business Setup Worldwide can help you with it. Ask as many questions up front and you’ll be left with far few – if any – nasty surprises once your doors are open. Contact us today- we’d be glad to assist you.