How to Setup your Business in UAE as a Foreign Entrepreneur? (Explained in 7 Steps)

Alan Joseph Alan Joseph
May 24, 2021 5 min read
How to Setup your Business in UAE as a Foreign Entrepreneur? (Explained in 7 Steps)

UAE can be considered as one of the best places to set up a new business or to expand your existing business internationally. The country’s economy is the fourth largest in the middle east and has a GDP of USD 421 billion. There are few steps you would have to follow in order to set up a business in UAE.

1. Select the Right Jurisdiction for your Business in UAE
2. Choose the Type of Business you want to Setup in UAE
3. Select a Name for your Business in UAE
4. Paperwork for your Business in UAE
5. Obtain a License for your Business in UAE
6. Open a Bank account in UAE for you Business
7. Submit an Application for your Visa in UAE
FAQ

1. Select the Right Jurisdiction for your Business in UAE

The most important step of any business is to select the business activity and that should be your first step. But for setting up a business in the UAE you should have a basic idea of the different jurisdictions first and accordingly move forward with the rest of the steps.

The UAE market is divided into different economic zones. The different zones in the UAE are Mainland, Free zone and Offshore. These economic zones are jurisdictions and each jurisdiction has a different set of rules and regulations.

Mainland

A business that is set up in the Mainland of UAE will be able to do business anywhere in the UAE market. This means that the company will be able to do business in both inside and outside the UAE market. It is mandatory to have a physical office space with a minimum requirement of 140 sq. ft.

Free Zone

A business that is set up in the Free zone of UAE has certain restrictions in doing the business. They will only be able to conduct the business in the jurisdiction of the Free zone and outside the UAE. It is not mandatory to have a physical office space and a virtual office space would do.

Offshore

Offshore companies are business entities that will be registered in the UAE in order to conduct the business outside the country or outside the jurisdiction. The offshore companies are allowed to set up multi-currency accounts in UAE and to carry out the business internationally. An important point you should notice is Offshore companies are tax free in UAE.

2. Choose the Type of Business you want to Setup in UAE

The first step would be to choose the type of business activity you would want to set up in the UAE. For example, certain Free zones would allow only a specific type of activity in their area and it is wise to set up a business in the zone where it is closely related to your activity.

If your business is concentrated on import and export it would be better if the business is set up near the port or an airport. However, choosing the business activity will be the major step in setting up your company in the UAE.

3. Select a Name for your Business in UAE

The next step would be to choose the name of the company for your business activity. In UAE there are certain restrictions in regards to the name of the company. You will not be able to use any religious names that are referred to Allah, Him or anything related to the religion.

You will also be restricted from using the names of various political groups such as the FBI or Mafia and if you choose to register the business under a person’s name then he or she should be registered as a partner for the business.

4. Paperwork for your Business in UAE

You will have to finish the paperwork after selecting the activity and the name of your business. You will have to fill an application with the activity and the name you have chosen for your company. You will also have to submit a copy of the passports of shareholders to the government authorities.

It is to be noted that certain Free zones will require additional papers and documents such as a business plan or a NOC (Non-objection certificate) which is a letter from the current sponsor that they don’t have any issues to set up another business in UAE.

If you seek an expert help then it wouldn’t be so complicated as they would take care of the major challenges and advise you on the paperwork and help you in completing it.

5. Obtain a License for your Business in UAE

The easiest and the most important step is receiving your license. After all the steps you will receive a license from the government after checking all the applications and the documents submitted.

You will also have to apply and receive a trade license which is also called as the business license. There are different types of business licenses in the UAE such as Professional License, Industrial License, Tourism License and Commercial License.

These licenses are important for UAE Mainland companies but for Free zone company it would defer according to the business activity and the jurisdiction.


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6. Open a Bank account in UAE for you Business

The next important step is to open a bank account in UAE. The country has a lot of banks both local and international ones. Some of the local bank accounts in the country are Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and many more. The major global names are Citi Bank, HSBC and Barclays.

You can choose any bank and approach them or the business set up partner you have approached will try arranging a meeting with the bank of your choice and this may help you understand the policies of the bank and then make a decision.

7. Submit an Application for your Visa in UAE

This is the final step of setting up your business in the UAE. You will have to submit the application for processing your visa, according to the economic zone you select it will let you process the visa for your dependents and employees as well.

The Visa processing will consist of 5 simple stages such as Entry Permit, Status Adjustment, Medical Test, Emirates ID registration and Visa Stamping.

FAQ

Which is the best business in UAE?

E-Commerce Solutions, Travel and Tourism, Real Estate Agency, and Health Sector are some of the best business you should consider in UAE.

Is UAE good for business?

Low tax rates, low import duties, free trade agreements, a competitive economy, strategic location, state of the art infrastructure, are some of the benefits that make United Arab Emirates (UAE) one of the best places in the world for business.

Which business is best in Dubai?

Restaurant, Construction, Health and wellbeing, Transport, Freight and cargo, Real estate, and Cleaning services are some of the best business you can start in Dubai.

Conclusion

The UAE Free zone is more common in between the foreign entrepreneurs than the Mainland and offshore economic zone. The company formation in UAE is easier and they have a speedy process with strong incentives which makes it one of the favourite location for the foreign entrepreneurs.

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