How to Open a Company in Dubai: Ultimate Guide

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Dubai, the glittering gem of the United Arab Emirates, has firmly established itself as a global business hub. Its strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and business-friendly policies have attracted entrepreneurs from around the world. Whether you’re a visionary startup founder or a seasoned business magnate, Dubai offers a plethora of opportunities to thrive and excel. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of turning your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

How to Open a Company in Dubai?

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Choosing the right business structure is a crucial decision that will impact various aspects of your company’s operations. Dubai offers different options tailored to various business needs:

  • Free Zone Company: A popular choice for foreign investors, a free zone company offers 100% ownership and tax benefits. It’s suitable for businesses focused on international trade, services, and consulting.
  • Mainland Company: If you’re aiming to cater to the local market, a mainland company provides local market access and the flexibility to conduct business throughout the UAE. Local sponsorship is required, and the company can engage in a wide range of activities.
  • Offshore Company: An offshore company is primarily used for international trading, holding assets, and managing investments. It’s an excellent option for individuals seeking financial privacy and tax optimization.

Research and Market Analysis

Before you jump headfirst into the Dubai business scene, it’s essential to conduct comprehensive research and market analysis. Identify your target audience, study the competitive landscape, and understand consumer behavior. This information will guide your business decisions and help you position your company effectively.

Business Plan Development

Crafting a robust business plan is fundamental to your company’s success. Your business plan should outline your company’s goals, target market, competitive advantage, marketing strategies, and financial projections. A well-structured plan not only serves as a roadmap but also enhances your credibility with potential investors and partners.

Legal Procedures and Documentation

Navigating the legal procedures in Dubai requires meticulous attention to detail. Here’s an overview of the essential steps:

  1. Trade Name Registration: Your company’s name is a significant branding element. Choose a unique name and ensure it aligns with your business activities. Once approved, the name is reserved for 120 days.
  2. Initial Approval: Obtain preliminary approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This step involves submitting your business plan and other required documents.
  3. Memorandum of Association (MOA): The MOA outlines the company’s structure, activities, and capital distribution among shareholders. Notarize the MOA before a notary public.
  4. Local Sponsorship: For mainland companies, a local sponsor or service agent is required. They hold a 51% share in the company but have no involvement in business operations or profit sharing.
  5. License Application: Apply for the necessary licenses based on your business activity. The type of license varies, such as commercial, industrial, or professional.

Office Space and Location

Selecting the right office space and location is crucial for your company’s image and accessibility. Dubai offers diverse options, including coworking spaces, business centers, and standalone offices. Choose a location that aligns with your target market and business goals.

Visa and Employee Sponsorship

If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to navigate Dubai’s visa and sponsorship procedures. The number of visas you can obtain depends on your company’s size and activity. Ensure you meet the requirements for employee accommodation, health insurance, and other obligations.

Banking and Financial Setup

Setting up a corporate bank account is essential for managing your company’s finances. Research different banks, compare their services, and choose a bank that suits your business needs. Prepare the required documents, including your trade license and company registration documents.

Branding and Marketing

Establishing a strong brand presence is essential for success in Dubai’s competitive market. Develop a compelling brand identity that resonates with your target audience. Leverage digital marketing strategies, social media platforms, and networking events to showcase your products or services.

Compliance and Regulations

Compliance with Dubai’s laws and regulations is paramount for sustainable business operations. Stay informed about tax obligations, labor laws, industry-specific regulations, and any changes in legal requirements. Consider hiring a legal consultant to ensure your business adheres to the applicable rules.


Can a foreigner own a company outright in Dubai?

Yes, foreign investors can fully own a company in Dubai’s free zones, offering complete ownership and specific tax benefits.

What is the minimum capital required to start a company in Dubai?

The minimum capital required varies depending on the business structure and activity. Free zone companies usually have no minimum capital requirement.

Is a local sponsor mandatory for a mainland company?

For mainland companies, a local sponsor or service agent is required. They hold a 51% share in the company but have no involvement in operations.

How long does it take to establish a company in Dubai?

The duration varies based on the business type and the efficiency of your application process. Establishing a free zone company is generally faster.

Can I operate throughout the UAE with a free zone company license?

Free zone companies are limited to conducting business within the designated free zone. If you intend to operate across the UAE, consider a mainland company.

What are the tax benefits of opening a company in Dubai?

Free zone companies often enjoy tax exemptions for a specific period, which can be extended based on meeting specific criteria.


Congratulations! You’ve gained invaluable insights into the process of opening a company in Dubai. From selecting the right business structure to navigating legal procedures and building your brand, Dubai offers a dynamic ecosystem for growth and success. Embrace the challenges and celebrate the victories as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey in this thriving metropolis.

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Who we are?

ITQAN is a company that specializes in business setup and business growth. We aim to give investors and entrepreneurs a comprehensive support in order to help them start their businesses in Dubai.

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ITQAN is your trusted partner for business setup and growth. Our expertise ensures seamless establishment and steady expansion of your business.

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we provide full support for everything related to business setup, and transaction clearance to help our customers setup their businesses whether the mainland or in the free zone, and for any size business.
ITQAN offers license renewal services and packages in collaboration with a team of consultants and professionals who will take care of renewing your trade license and changing your business without any hassle.
Once the setting up process is completed, you can open your bank account right away through a short, easy, hassle-free process with ITQAN Team who is specialised in clearing legal transactions and following up all governmental procedures you won’t have to provide any additional paperwork or make visit bsnks.

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