How to Start Your Company in Dubai as Foreigner in 2024-25: Complete Guide

In this article, you will know about how you start your company in Dubai in 2024-25 with OnDemand International Efficiently.


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    Company in Dubai

    Dubai, that lively and cosmopolitan city in the United Arab Emirates, has caught the eye of entrepreneurs and investors from all corners of the globe. It’s not just the stunning location, but also the business-friendly vibes and the booming economy that make starting a company in Dubai as foreigner an exciting opportunity. So, let’s dive into why Dubai is such a great spot for your business, the steps you need to take as a foreigner to set up shop, the different trade licenses up for grabs, the costs in the mix, the documents you’ll need, and why the free zones are the cherry on top.

    Why Start Your Company in Dubai?

    Dubai offers a plethora of advantages for entrepreneurs looking to start their business. Firstly, its strategic location between Asia, Europe, and Africa makes it a gateway to a vast market. This provides businesses with access to a diverse customer base and ample expansion opportunities. Additionally, Dubai’s economy is thriving, driven by sectors such as tourism, real estate, finance, and technology. This makes it an ideal place to tap into a growing market and capitalize on the city’s economic boom.

    Moreover, Dubai’s business-friendly policies and regulations make it easy for foreign entrepreneurs to set up and operate their companies. The government has implemented initiatives to attract foreign investment, including tax incentives, simplified company registration processes, and protection of intellectual property rights. These measures create a conducive environment for business growth and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

    How to Start a Company in Dubai as a Foreigner?

    The procedure to start a company in Dubai as a Foreigner are as follows:
    • Decide on your business type: Choosing the right business type is a crucial step when starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner. The type of business you select will determine the structure of your company. You have the option to establish a sole proprietorship, where you will be the sole owner of your business. Alternatively, you can form a limited liability company (LLC), which is the most common business structure in Dubai and provides a separate legal entity.
    • Select a name for your Company: Before registering your company, it is necessary to reserve a trade name. Your company name should accurately reflect the nature of your business. The legal advisors at OnDemand International can assist you in choosing a name that is not already registered, complies with your business activities, and does not violate any public sentiments.
    • Obtain a Trade license For your Company: As a foreigner, obtaining a license is a mandatory requirement to start a business in Dubai. You can acquire a trade license directly from the relevant free zone authorities or the Department of Economic Development (DED).
    • Register and incorporate your business: Once you have completed the aforementioned steps, you can proceed to register your business with the appropriate jurisdiction and commence your operational activities in the UAE. Registration involves gathering all necessary documents, identity proofs, trade licenses, and permissions, and opening a bank account. Only after registration will your business become a legal entity in Dubai.
    • Apply For Your Business Visa: A business visa is essential for facilitating the movement of individuals in and out of the country for business purposes. Additionally, it allows three senior business staff members to apply for residency. Expatriates who wish to start a business in Dubai can obtain a long-term visa for themselves and their dependents. To obtain the visa, you can contact the local embassy. Moreover, individuals who are willing to relocate to the UAE to establish a business are eligible to apply for a business visa.

    What are the Types of Trade Licenses in Dubai?

    • Commercial License: The commercial license is the prevailing form of trade license in Dubai, mandatory for businesses involved in trading activities like the purchase and sale of goods. Retail stores, supermarkets, and wholesale traders are among the businesses that necessitate a commercial trade license.
    • Professional License:  A professional license is mandatory for businesses offering consultancy, legal, or medical services. Various professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants, fall under the category of businesses that necessitate a professional trade license.
    • Industrial License: An industrial license is necessary for businesses operating within the manufacturing or production sector. Various enterprises, such as factories and workshops, fall under the category of businesses that must obtain an industrial trade license.
    • Tourism License: This type of license is required for businesses that operate in the tourism and hospitality sector. Some of the businesses that require a tourism trade license include hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators.

    What is the Cost to Incorporate a Company in Dubai as a Foreigner?

    The cost of starting a company in Dubai as a foreigner varies depending on several factors, including the type of company, the location, and the nature of the business activities. Mainland companies generally have higher setup costs compared to free zone or offshore companies.

    The cost includes various components such as trade license fees, registration fees, office space rent, visa fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. It is important to consider these costs and factor them into your business plan and budget. Working with a local business consultant or company formation agency can help you get a clear understanding of the costs involved and ensure that you are prepared financially.

    Documents Required to Register a Company in Dubai

    Registering a company in Dubai requires the submission of specific documents to the relevant authorities. The exact documents may vary depending on the type of company and the activities involved, but some common requirements include:

    • Passport copies of shareholders and directors
    • Proof of residence for shareholders and directors
    • Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Articles of Association (AOA)
    • Bank reference letter
    • No-objection certificate from a sponsor, if applicable
    • Legalized and attested documents, if necessary

    Free Zones in Dubai

    Dubai is home to numerous free zones, which are designated areas that offer incentives and benefits for businesses. These free zones provide 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified company setup procedures. They are particularly attractive for foreign entrepreneurs who want to enjoy complete control over their businesses and take advantage of the various incentives provided.

    Some of the well-known free zones in Dubai include Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai Internet City (DIC), and Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP). Each free zone caters to specific sectors and offers unique benefits. 


    Dubai offers a plethora of opportunities and advantages for foreigners who wish to start their own company. With its strategic location, favorable business policies, and flourishing economy, the city serves as an ideal destination for aspiring entrepreneurs. By familiarizing yourself with the setup process, associated costs, and requirements, as well as taking advantage of the benefits provided by free zones, you can effectively navigate the establishment of your business and embark on a prosperous entrepreneurial venture in Dubai.

    CTA: If you are ready to begin your business journey in Dubai, feel free to reach out to us today. Our team of experts is here to provide you with guidance and assistance in company registration and setup.