A Complete Guide to Set Up a Business in Dubai

Set up a business in UAE

Do you want to set up a business in Dubai?

Because if you do, then you are at the right place to start.

But, before you jump onto the guide to set up a business in Dubai, you might want to consider some interesting facts about this globally popular Emirate. So, did you know that apart from tall skyscrapers, tourism, luxury automobiles, and modern infrastructure Dubai is also known for being home to 85% of expatriates from around the world?

Interestingly, the reason why Dubai attracts so many investments, business opportunities, and skilled professionals is that there are no income taxes in Dubai which is quite a reason many people from around the world consider locating here.

Charming, isn’t it? But, to your surprise, numerous other opportunities are waiting to welcome you to Dubai.



Surprisingly, this emirate has inbuilt high-performing work systems which can fully automate your business from the beginning so you do not even have to bother to come to Dubai for investing or starting the business.

You can enjoy the privilege of staying at home or outside Dubai while you can start up and manage your business virtually.

To understand, not only you can keep an eye on your employees and their work but can do much more with the automation Dubai offers while you can relax.

So, if you are a foreigner to Dubai and want to set up your business here then you should keep reading as there are lots of important details to follow.

Unlike, many other states and countries around the globe, Dubai is different and you might want to consider getting knowledge of the fundamentals such as laws, customs, and traditions before accomplishing a business here to avoid any unforeseen circumstances so you do not get into issues and run your business productively.

The company formation process itself can have complexities for you being a foreigner and unknown to practices and regulations.

Hence, you are recommended to get services from an expert business formation consultant, but not to worry as GUC Middle East has got your back with our expert services.



So, for registering a company as a Foreigner, you might need to provide the following documentation depending on your circumstances:

1.  Accurately filled Application Forms

2.  A viable Business Plan

3.  Passport copies from the Investor and the Director/Manager you want to appoint.

4.  Passport-sized photograph

5.  At least 3 name options for the brand

6.  Documentation from your existing business outside UAE (If applicable)

7.  Other case-specific documents depending upon the business category



Apart from the documents, the procedure is followed by four different steps where you should carefully take into account the standard operating procedures for applying a business license and a bank account subsequently.

Select the business category you want to set up a business in Dubai

Firstly, based on business category classification or choosing the type of your business, you might want to look into the Free Zones or other Business Zones available to establish your business.

For instance, the following Free Zones are available for various classifications of businesses in Dubai.

1. CommerCity free zone (DCC) – for eCommerce businesses

2. Internet City

3. Studio City

4. Outsource City

5. Production City

6. Knowledge Park

7. Media City

8. Design District

9. International Academic City

10. Science Park

11. Jumeirah Lakes Tower

12. Multi Commodities Centre

13. Silicon Oasis

14. International Humanitarian City

15. Jebel Ali Free Zone

16. Healthcare City

17. Airport Free Zone

18. South

19. Maritime City

20. International Financial Center

21. Gold and Diamond Park

22. National Industries Park

23. Meydan

(Free Zones list Courtesy: U.AE)

Select a Name for your Company/Brand

Just after you have decided the category of your business, it is time to choose a name for your business entity/brand. Please bear in mind that there are certain restrictions while choosing a name for your company.

To understand, an already registered name cannot be applied for, besides, the name of a company should not disregard the public’s morals or religious values to avoid any kind of conflict.

In addition, the name of the company should comply with the type of business it is registering for.

Furthermore, no secret names of agencies or rogue organizations are allowed to use for a company’s name and some other naming characteristics to be taken care of while selecting a name for a business.

That is why selecting a unique company name without getting into objections could be tricky, so, it is better to take get a licensed company formation consultant on board to avoid any obstacles.


Get your license application ready and apply

The documentation for a licensing application can vary among the Free Zones. Based on the selection of a Free Zone where you are intending to start your business the documentary requirements could be providing the passport copies of the company’s investor and manager, passport-sized photographs, a business plan, and might require other documents such as a no-objection certificate, documentation related to your business, financial worth, etc.

So, once you are done selecting the type of business and accordingly the Free Zone, you should then contact the particular Zone to find out the requirements you might have to bear for registration.

After compiling the documents and having submitted them for the registration application, now, you will have to just wait until the application is being processed. As soon as the processing is completed the authority will contact you to issue the license and boom your company is registered!


Bank account opening

Now, that the company registration is finally complete and you have had your company license documents at hand, so, it is time to apply for a Bank account in Dubai so you can bring in capital, manage finances and remain integrated with all the services the Business Hub has to offer.

There are numerous bank options to select from and depending upon the types of services and benefits, you can select a bank that deems fit to your requirements. Some of the banking names include:

  1. Commercial Bank of Dubai
  2. Citibank N.A
  3. Emirates Investment Bank
  4. Dubai Islamic Bank
  5. Dubai Finance Bank
  6. HSBC Bank Middle East
  7. Emirates NBD
  8. Mashreq

Banks do want you to adhere to some requirements for the first time when you go for opening an account. It could be difficult for a foreigner to deal with banks and meet all their requirements to open up an account. But you do not have to worry as our team of experts can get the requirements met and the bank account setup in less than 24 hours.




In case if you are keen to set up and manage your business from outside Dubai (remotely), then GUC is ready to support your business with our complete range of services starting from company formation to bank account creation, office space, pool of skilled candidates, VAT assistance, resources arrangement and many other services required to run your company in Dubai.

The best part is that you can manage everything such as choosing your office/location, interviewing and recruiting the employees, selecting resources, suppliers, offers, materials, agreements, and each and everything of your choice for the business while sitting at your home.

This is where, you would also be able to manage your organization using some applications, interact with and supervise your employees anytime, watch out for their activities with remotely operated CCTVs and there is a lot more you would be able to do even with your physical presence.



Perhaps, a great number of people prefer coming to Dubai for one or the other reasons, so, if you are one of them then you should apply for a visa next.

Different types of visas can be applied for depending upon your requirements. You can understand the purpose and features of the type of visas as follows.


Investor Visa

An Investor visa is designed for investors to come to Dubai to set up their businesses or investments, later, this visa could be converted into a longer-term resident visa so you can comfortably live in Dubai, sponsor your employees and family and keep living or visiting in Dubai as you wish.


Employment Visa

This is where you can sponsor your foreign recruits to come to Dubai to start working in your company. In this case, you need to approach the immigration department to request a visa for your employee(s). Besides, you must arrange an employment offer before requesting an employee visa.


Family Visa

You can apply for your family’s visa once you are in Dubai. But, this would require you to have a resident visa to sponsor your family.

While the employees in your company can also apply on their resident status to bring their families to Dubai. Moreover, the employers can get resident visas for up to 3 years.

In addition, their family members can also enjoy the resident visa for the same period. Sponsors can also support their parents and apply for their family visas where they can receive permits on annual basis.




A company is required to pay 5% of value-added tax to the UAE government if their taxable supplies and imports surpass 375,000/- AED annually.

While it is optional for a business to pay the VAT with supplies and imports surpassing 187,500/- AED on annual basis. The nature of your business will determine whether you need to register your company for VAT. To understand how VAT works in UAE, please refer to the image below.

Value Added Tax

(Image courtesy: U.AE)

So, that’s it, for now, to set up a business in Dubai!

GUC Middle East is an experienced company formation consultant to help you meet your business needs in Dubai and UAE.

Not to mention that we have an experienced team of skilled employees who can help you to get your business set up in Dubai in less than a week. So, you can take advantage of the following services from GUC:

1. Business Setup

2. VAT Advisory Services

3. Banking Advisory Services

4. Legal Advisory Services

5. Auditing & Accounting Services

6. Investment and Investor Opportunities

7. Product Registration

8. Bank Account Opening Assistance

9. PRO Services

10. Trade License services

11. VISA Services

12. Legal translation services

13. Trade Mark Registration

14. Local Sponsor

15. Company Liquidation

You can contact us for a free consultation session with one of our expert business advisors.

Call or WhatsApp +971 55 116 9007 or reach out by email: contact@gucmiddleeast.com


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