How to Start a Business in Dubai from the UK in 2024-25: Complete Guide

In this article, you will know about how to start a business in Dubai from the UK in 2024-25. Read the complete article to know more about the process, benefits, requirements and more.


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    Table of Contents


    Overview of Starting a Business in Dubai

    Dubai has become one of the leading business hubs in the world, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe. With a robust economy, strategic location, and business-friendly policies, Dubai offers an excellent platform for setting up a new business ventures.

    Why Dubai is a Great Place for Business Setup

    Dubai offers tax incentives, modern infrastructure, and a thriving market that make it an attractive destination for startups and established businesses alike. Its strategic location also provides easy access to markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

    Documents Required to Start a Business in Dubai from the UK

    The required documents to register a business in Dubai from the UK includes:

    Business License Documents

    These include the application for registration, a business plan, and certain government forms. Each business activity may have its unique set of documents required for the license.

    Personal Identification Documents

    Passport copies, visa copies, and proof of residence are typically required from all individuals involved in the business. Ensure that all identification documents are up-to-date.

    Additional Required Documents

    You may also need to submit a Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent agreement, depending on the business structure and ownership. Proper notarization of these documents is often required.

    Things to Know Before Setting Up Your Business in Dubai from the UK

    Economic Zone: Free Zones vs Offshore

    Dubai has over 30 Free Zones offering various benefits, including tax exemptions and 100% ownership. Offshore setups, on the other hand, are mainly for businesses looking to operate internationally.

    Types of Licenses

    Licenses in Dubai are generally categorized into commercial, industrial, and professional. The type of license you need depends on your business activity.


    Most businesses in Dubai require a local sponsor who holds 51% of the business. Free Zones allow for complete foreign ownership, eliminating the need for a local sponsor.

    Process for Starting Your Business in Dubai, UAE from the UK

    1. Choose Your Business Activity

    Selecting the right business activity is crucial as it determines the type of license you need and the regulatory requirements to be met.

    2. Choose the Right Jurisdiction for Company Setup in Dubai

    Evaluate the benefits of Free Zones, the mainland, and offshore to determine which jurisdiction aligns best with your business goals.

    3. Choose a Company Name

    Your company name must adhere to the naming conventions set by the Dubai government. The name should not include offensive terms or religious references.

    4. Gather All the Necessary Documents Required to Register the Business

    Compile all required documents, including identification, business plans, and the Memorandum of Association, to streamline the registration process.

    5. Get Your Business License

    Submit the necessary documents to the relevant authorities to obtain your business license. This is a legal requirement to operate in Dubai.

    6. Open Your Business Bank Account

    Select a reliable bank in Dubai to open a corporate bank account. This account is essential for managing your business finances.

    7. Apply for Visas

    Apply for the necessary visas for you and your employees. Dubai offers various visa types depending on the purpose and duration of stay.

    Choosing the Right Business Structure 

    Sole Proprietorship

    This structure is best for individual entrepreneurs looking to have complete control over their business. However, it also means you bear full liability.

    Partnership Company

    Ideal for businesses set up by two or more individuals. The profit and loss are shared according to the partnership agreement, and both parties share liabilities.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    LLCs are suitable for businesses with at least two shareholders. Liability is limited to the amount of capital invested, offering protection to the owners’ personal assets.

    Private Shareholding Company

    This is a closed company where shares are not offered to the public. It is often considered by family businesses or closely-knit partnerships.

    Public Shareholding Company

    Commonly referred to as a corporation, this structure allows shares to be publicly traded. It is suitable for large-scale businesses looking to raise capital through public offerings.

    Civil Company

    A Civil Company is formed by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Ownership is 100% with the professional partners, although a local service agent is required.

    Branch of a Foreign Company

    This structure allows a foreign company to establish an office in Dubai to promote and market its parent company’s products and services.

    Costs and Fees Relevant to Starting a Business in Dubai from the UK

    Initial Setup Costs

    The initial costs include licensing fees, registration costs, and initial capital requirements. These expenses can vary depending on the business activity and jurisdiction.

    Operational Expenses

    These include rent, utilities, payroll, and other day-to-day expenses essential for running your business smoothly.

    Miscellaneous Fees

    Additional costs such as visa fees, legal fees, and administrative charges should also be planned for in your initial budget.

    Common FAQs about Starting a Business in Dubai

    How much does it cost to start a business in Dubai?

    The cost can vary greatly depending on factors such as business activity, location, and license type. On average, initial setup costs can range from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000.

    Is it easy to start a business in Dubai?

    Dubai has streamlined many of its processes to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business. However, it still requires detailed planning and adherence to local regulations.

    Is Dubai startup friendly?

    Yes, Dubai offers numerous initiatives, incubators, and funding options to support startups. The city actively fosters an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship.

    How to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner?

    Foreigners can start a business in Dubai by either partnering with a local sponsor for a mainland business or opting for a Free Zone setup which allows 100% foreign ownership.

    Partner with OnDemand International to Start Your Business in Dubai and the UAE

    OnDemand International Services Overview

    OnDemand International offers comprehensive business solutions including company registration, visa processing, and HR services to make your business setup process seamless and efficient.

    Success Stories

    OnDemand International has helped numerous businesses successfully establish their presence in Dubai and the UAE, turning entrepreneurial visions into reality.

    Why Choose OnDemand International?

    With a team of experienced professionals, OnDemand International offers tailored advice and support, ensuring you navigate the complexities of starting a business in Dubai with ease.


    Key Takeaways

    Dubai offers a vibrant and supportive environment for business startups. Understanding the documents required, different economic zones, business structures, and costs is essential.

    Final Thoughts

    Taking the necessary steps and understanding the legal requirements will set a strong foundation for your business in Dubai. Partnering with experts like OnDemand International can make the process more efficient.

    Next Steps

    Contact OnDemand International for a consultation to discuss your business needs and get started on your journey to establishing a successful venture in Dubai.