How to start a new business in UAE

UAE has become the goto destination for Business startups today! The startup companies are encouraged by the Government with new tax initiatives & it’s no wonder Dubai is starting to attract the eye of business investors. It shouldn’t take you more than a week to start a new business in UAE once the legal formalities are sorted out.


But before you start check out the things required:

Decide on the type of business

Not all businesses can be set-up in UAE! The Department of Economic Development (DED) has a comprehensive list of over 2100 activities for your choice. Check beforehand the kind of license you require, be it commercial, professional or industrial license as these will define the basis of your operations. Trading Food, Jewellery, Veterinary activities and Legal consultancy needs further governmental approvals.

Trade Name

Your company name or trade name is the identity of your business! It needs to be as per the standards mentioned by the DED, which lays stress on associating the name as per the license type. It takes around three days to register a trade name, and it is valid for a period of six months.

Share capital

The Memorandum of Association of your proposed company should be clear on the minimum share capital. In most cases, you do not need to pay minimum capital at the time of setting up but on some free zones it should be shown in the bank account.

Jurisdiction & Ownership

Business location in one of the many free zones of UAE means 100 percent ownership of your company! This is crucial for you as a foreign national. There are over 45 free zones in UAE & each free zone caters to specific kinds of activities. If you need a local license or need to operate locally, you have to get a license from the Department of Economic Development (DED).


Any business start up under the DED essentially needs office premises. When you have finalised the legal formalities and forms, you should shortlist your office space. In fact, many free zones in UAE provide assistance to find customised premises for your business providing electricity, internet, water and other amenities as well.

Legal structure

In UAE you have to follow certain rules regarding the structure of your firm. This depends on your location and type of business like if it is a consultancy firm, then it can be started not under a sole proprietor but only as a branch of an existing company or as a stand-alone company. There are restrictions in each free zone relating to the company structure. All details will be available on the official website of the zone.

Local Sponsor

For foreign nationals to start any business in UAE under the DED, it is compulsory to have a local agent, partner or sponsor. For free zones, having a local contact can help take the business forward effectively. However, this is not mandatory and Dubai as a business destination boasts easy set-up for all businessmen regardless of nationality.

Now that you’ve had a brief insight on how to start your business in UAE, it’s the time to get going! Submit all your documents, process all payments and get the approvals. Don’t forget to take a UAE business Insurance once you start your business in UAE. Best of luck to you!

How to start a new Business in UAE
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