Best Business Setup Company in Dubai, UAE — Procedure, Jurisdiction & License Types

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author Hamza Jameel
  • Published August 28, 2023
  • Word count 571

If you’re looking to set up a business in Dubai, obtaining a business license is a mandatory requirement. The type of license you need will depend on the nature of your business. Here are the primary types of licenses issued in Dubai:

Commercial License: This is for businesses engaged in any sort of trading activity.

Professional License: This is for professionals offering their expertise in various fields such as consultants, artists, and craftsmen.

Industrial License: This is for businesses involved in manufacturing or any industrial activities.

E-Commerce License: The eTrader license, enables entrepreneurs to conduct business activities via social media channels. Currently, the eTrader license is only available to UAE and GCC nationals living in Dubai.

General Trading License: A General Trading License in the UAE serves as a crucial instrument for investors, allowing them to conduct international and local trade operations seamlessly.

IT Company License: Dubai offers a myriad of benefits for tech companies. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) boasts a 0% tax rate on both corporate and personal income, complemented by a low, flat VAT rate.

Certainly, when setting up a business in Dubai, it’s essential to understand the different jurisdictions or areas where you can apply for a license. These jurisdictions include Free Zones, the Mainland, and Offshore, each with its own benefits and regulations.

Free Zones: Dubai has more than 30 Free Zones, each designed around specific business industries such as technology, healthcare, finance, etc. Free Zones offer 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, and exemption from certain taxes. However, businesses in Free Zones are usually restricted to doing business within that Free Zone or outside the UAE unless they have a local distributor or agent.

Mainland: A mainland company is licensed by the Department of Economic Development of Dubai and allows you to do business in the local market without restrictions. However, UAE law stipulates that a local UAE citizen must hold at least 51% of the shares in the company.

Offshore: Offshore companies are non-resident companies that are used for international business operations, and they enjoy tax benefits and 100% foreign ownership. They are not allowed to conduct business within the UAE.

The steps to obtain a business license in Dubai generally include the following:

Decide the Legal Form of Your Business: The structure of your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc.) will influence your business setup process.

Choose a Trade Name: The trade name is your business’s unique identifier, and it must comply with the UAE’s trade name rules and regulations.

Apply for Initial Approval: You need to get an initial approval certificate from the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai.

Get Office Space: Before finalizing your business license, you need to lease or buy office space in Dubai.

Prepare Legal Documents: Depending on the business’s legal form, various documents must be prepared, such as the Memorandum of Association (MoA), and submitted to the DED.

Apply for the License: Finally, you can apply for the license from the DED by submitting all the required documents, and upon approval, you’ll get your business license.

Remember, each license has its specific requirements and needs, so it’s important to research thoroughly or work with a business setup consultancy like They can guide you through the process, helping ensure that all the paperwork is correctly filled out and submitted, and provide advice and assistance tailored to your business’s specific needs.

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