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Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities in the world, which is an interesting factor for foreign entrepreneurs. Furthermore, these entrepreneurs have access to many opportunities if they want to start a business in this territory. It is important to highlight that starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is not an easy task. The reason is that it implies a series of legal, cultural, and financial requirements that must be met.

In this article, you will see all the steps you must follow to create your Business in Dubai as a Foreigner. These are the benefits and the steps you must follow. In addition, we will give you some practical tips and useful resources to make your business adventure in this city a success. If starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is of interest, keep reading. Thus, you can discover how you can become a successful entrepreneur in this vibrant and diverse city.

What should a foreigner learn to start a business in Dubai?

Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Dubai is a region that hosts a large number of business opportunities for foreigners. In this way, if you want to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner, you must know everything you need to be successful. Furthermore, it is important to know that Dubai has a very strong strategic regional location for companies seeking to grow in international markets.

You can find very important business opportunities in Dubai for new entrepreneurs. Additionally, no income, import/export, corporate, customs, or any other taxes are imposed on companies operating in Dubai. You can even find a very diverse economy that greatly benefits new companies.

Having reserves of natural gas and products that are derived from petroleum. In addition, it has tourism, innovation, and technology, which are responsible for boosting the country’s economy. On the other hand, you find that Dubai is one of the safest cities, allowing you to work and live more comfortably.

Registering your company in one of Dubai’s free zones offers you ownership that is 100% foreign. In addition, they have the Department of Economic Development or DED, which is the government agency that supports business initiatives and helps businesses establish themselves. This way, you will be able to start a business in UAE as a foreigner much more easily.

What is the process to start a business as a foreigner in Dubai?

There are many businesses in Dubai for foreigners, but it is important to know what the process is to be able to start correctly. For this reason, you must follow these processes to be able to establish your company legally in the country.

The process varies depending on the type of activity that your company is going to carry out, the area in which it operates, and the degree of control you want to have over your company. In this way, you found 4 general steps that you must complete for this process to be a success. Firstly, you must obtain a business license in Dubai, secondly, you must choose the legal form that your company will have.

Now, you must choose the name of your company and register it. Lastly, you must open a bank account in the UAE. Additionally, you must comply with all tax and labor regulations that apply in Dubai. In this section, each of these steps will be explained in more detail so that you can more easily understand this process.

Selection of a name

Before starting the selection process of name selection or trademark registration, you have to apply for a visa. Thus, you can avoid any inconvenience in the application process for Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner. You have to know that without a visa you cannot enter Dubai. In order to begin the process of obtaining a visa, you have to visit the Immigration Department with the following documents.

  • Coherent business plan.
  • Application or visa form to apply for,
  • Amount or amount of security,
  • Photocopy of passport or original passport.
  • Details of the ticket or ticket.
  • A letter of the purpose of your trip.
  • A decent bank statement.
  • Latest color photographs of the applicant, passport size, and on a white background.

Subsequently, you have to choose a unique and ideal business name for your company. It is important to take into account that some restrictions must be considered for this process. Essentially, you can include their initials or last name if you wish in the company name. In order to take advantage of the benefits of Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner, you have to be aware of the following restrictions.

  • The company’s commercial name must not have any logo or name of external organizations. Additionally, it cannot include the name of a governing authority or religion.
  • The trade name must be unique, that is, it cannot have been registered by another company.
  • Thirdly, company name of your company must not violate public morality or public order.
  • The commercial name must be compatible with the commercial activity to be carried out and the type of legal personality.
  • Finally, the business name must be followed by the legal form of the company or business structure. For instance, a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Requesting your license

All people who want to start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner need a trade license. The business license is a document that designates what commercial activities can be carried out in a company. Each business license must be requested from the Department of Economic Development.

Business licenses are valid for different business activities in Dubai. This is why it is important to know the types of commercial licenses for each activity to be carried out. These activities include the export and import of goods and other additional activities.

Furthermore, all companies in Dubai-free zones are eligible to obtain any business license. Some professionals offer industry-specific services and also have the option of applying for a business license.

Before starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner, you have to learn how to obtain a business license. The truth is, the process is quite simple, you just have to follow the following steps.

  • The first thing to do is select the name of the company. To begin the process of starting a business in Dubai for a foreigner, you had to complete this step. That is, at this point, this will be ready.
  • Subsequently, you have to define the legal structure of your company. Many legal forms can cover your business needs.
  • You also have to define the commercial activities to be carried out.
  • Complete the application form for the trade license of your choice.
  • Obtain additional approvals requested by the Dubai Department of Economic Development.
  • Gather all the necessary documents to obtain a trade license in Dubai.
  • Choose the perfect location for your new business in Dubai.
  • Send the request with all the data and documents.
  • Finally, you have to pay the cost of a Dubai trade license.


Starting a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

The last step to complete the process of starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is registration. To do this, you have to select the commercial structure with which you are going to operate. The legal structures that exist in the UAE are the following, the idea is to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Sole Proprietorship: This is perfect for small businesses where only one person has control. In turn, this person also assumes all responsibilities.

Partnership: It is when two or more people or partners share losses, profits, and responsibilities.

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Among all the types, this is the common one for starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner. This option is very popular because it allows for flexible share ownership. That is, having from two to fifty shareholders.

Branch: Foreign companies that want to create an extension of the parent company have to use this type of legal structure.

Free zone Companies: These are companies that are 100% foreign-owned for expats and operate within the free zones in Dubai. In addition, they have access to simplified procedures and tax benefits.

Once you decide on one of these types, you have to know what requirements you need to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner. Below, you will see a list of everything you need to complete the registration process.

  • Photocopy of the passport of all the company’s shareholders, if any.
  • Photocopy of the visa, all foreign shareholders must present a copy of the visa.
  • Business plan, which must include strategies, objectives, and financial projections.
  • Letter of intent from local sponsor, this is an essential document for continental licenses.
  • Certificate of good conduct, which shows that the applicant has no criminal record.

Special licenses and permits

All foreign investors have the option to take advantage of the best ideas for investing in Dubai. To take advantage of this, it is best to open a company in Dubai or one of its free zones. To do this, the first thing entrepreneurs have to do is apply for the corresponding licenses for the sector in which the company will operate.

Generally, there are three types of business licenses that foreign entrepreneurs can apply for in Dubai.

  • Commercial license, which is for companies operating in the commercial sector.
  • Industrial license, which is for companies that are in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
  • Professional license, which is for companies that offer professional services and consulting. Additionally, artisans can apply for this license.

However, you have to know that there are companies that need to apply for additional permits in Dubai. For instance, those who want to open a restaurant in the emirate have to apply for a food license. On the other hand, those who are in the tourism industry have to have a special license. That is the travel agent license that is divided into subtypes according to the activities to be carried out.

On the other hand, it is important that you know that each free zone provides its types of licenses or special permits. These will depend on the commercial activities that the company will carry out. Each of the free zones has a special status, which is dedicated to specific activities.

For example, there is the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). This entity specializes in offering various financial services of interest to entrepreneurs. Below you will see some special permits available in Dubai free zones for some foreigners.

  • General business licenses.
  • Service licenses.
  • Industrial licenses.
  • Commercial licenses.
  • National industrial licenses.


Starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is a good option for entrepreneurs who want to expand their horizons. In this way, they can take advantage of all the advantages offered by this Emirate, which has a very diversified economy. In addition, it has a first-class infrastructure and legislation that favors business.

For this reason, it is important to take into account everything you need to start a business in Dubai. From bureaucratic procedures to intense competition. For this reason, you must carry out prior research, choose the appropriate area, have a local partner, etc.

It is recommended that you seek advice to be able to carry out this process satisfactorily. Therefore, here at Connect Group, you will find everything you need to start your business in Dubai. In addition, we have experts who can advise you throughout the entire process of creating your company. For this reason, if you want to contact us you can do so using the number +971 43 316 688 or writing to contact@connectgroup.co.

The Complete Guide for LLC Company Formation in Dubai

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