The 10-step process for setting up a business in Dubai

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It is as easy as 1,2,3… said no one ever about setting up a business in a foreign land. However, we say it is as easy as ‘1 to 10’ to set up a business in Dubai. Yes, you read it right. It might not look simple at a glance, but this 10-step process is designed to make it so for any aspiring entrepreneur or an established business owner to make Dubai their business home.  

In this blog, we explain all that you need to know and do to set up your company, get it registered, and start off the business in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai, which is known for its enabling tech-infused infrastructure, visionary and innovation-loving Government, and a strong economic landscape. 


10 Steps to Starting a Business in Dubai

This step-wise guide is designed to acquaint you with the process and documentation required and will help you prepare for the process before it actually takes off. Rest assured, with required documents in place, a company can be ‘up and running’ in Dubai in less than two weeks.

1. Team up with a local partner

They say all is well that ends well. We believe in the opposite. All is well, and only so, that starts well. To make sure you are making all the right moves from the very beginning, it is advisable to select and stick to a local partner. Being an established player of the market, the local partner will guide you through the journey like no other.

2. Choose your zone

Before setting up, decide upon the zone that works best for you. Whether you would like to go for a Free Zone or Offshore or establish a Franchise or a Mainland company—assess your requirements and make a decision before you do anything else. 

3. Pick your license type

Choose out of commercial, industrial, or professional license, depending upon the kind of business you are into. The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for issuing licenses and you can choose as per your business activity.

4. Select the category

After selecting the license, define your business further by choosing a specific category your business belongs to.  You can look for your business type in the official lists of the business activities as per the Dubai Department of Economic Development.

5. Choose a trade name

This is a part that you have probably already done. Choosing the right name for your business and registering it is one of the most important steps in getting your business established. Choose a name that reflects your brand and conveys your ideology as you want it. However, you might also have to check about copyrights and trademarks for registration of the final name.


Do you want to look over some frequently asked questions about setting up a business in Dubai? Take a look at this video.


6. Submit  a minimum investment

Almost all businesses require some amount of initial funding to start with. Look at your plans for initial investment well in advance and decide on all the financials, the fees required, the infrastructure and logistics costs and this little planning will come in handy during the later stages of business establishment.

7. Secure initial approvals and agreements

Once you reach this stage, you will have to apply for initial approval to ensure that the authorities are ok with you starting the business and that it does not interfere with general laws and regulations of the Emirate. This process is usually done online but you can also opt for in-person submission of the documents, which will include your business registration and licensing form, a copy of your passport or government-issued photo ID, a copy of residence permit/ visa, and any documents related to the feasibility of your business project. This is also the stage where you sign the required agreements and gear up for opening an office.

8. Select your premises/address

Now, it is time to get real. In Dubai, it is compulsory for all businesses to have a physical address so your Free Zone partner or your local partner will help you profusely in this step. Once you know where you are based, you are closer to opening your dream office.

9. Submit your documents

After preparing all your documents laced with location, license type, zone type, and legal information, submit your documents for final approval. Go ready with initial approval receipt, all the earlier submitted documents, any documents you have from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) or Dubai Land Department (DLD), service agent contract, and approval from related government entities to kick-start the final process. 

10. Get a license

And then it is time to reap the benefit and be called a Dubai-based business. Right after final approvals, you will be required to pay for the license through approved payment channels. On the payment, you are immediately pronounced as the owner of a running business in Dubai.


Follow these ten steps and you can start your business in Dubai with much ease and harmony. Still have a questions? Comment on this blog and our experts will answer all your queries.  


READ – The ultimate guide to starting a business in Dubai
Take a deep dive into everything a company of any size needs to know about doing business in the thriving emirate of Dubai.


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