Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Dubai, the thriving hub of the Middle East, has become a magnet for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to establish their businesses. It provides many opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the Middle East, as it is strategically located, has a strong economy and an attractive business environment. Navigate the below process if you consider starting a business in Dubai as a Foreigner;

Here’s a Guide on How to Start a Business in UAE as a Foreigner ;

  1. Make a choice on the right business structure:It is important to acquaint yourself with the legal framework governing foreign ownership of businesses in Dubai before you start setting up your business. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers different legal structures, including mainland companies and free zone companies. Each structure has its own set of advantages and restrictions, so it’s crucial to research and choose the most suitable option for your business.
    • Is setting up business in Mainland Dubai beneficial?Businesses operating within the geographical boundaries of Dubai mainland are required to obtain a Dubai mainland licence. Without any restriction, this kind of licence enables businesses to conduct their business activities in and out of Dubai’s Local Market. A number of benefits are also provided to businesses by obtaining a Dubai mainland licence, e.g. ability to occupy office space anywhere in Dubai Mainland, sponsoring employees and their family members for visa or applying for bank accounts in addition to all types of banking services. To know more about Mainland Dubai business set up procedures, click here .
    • Do you wish to opt to set up your business in Free Zone? Free zones in Dubai provide attractive incentives, such as 100% foreign ownership, zero taxes, and simplified incorporation processes. Each free zone is designed for specific industries, such as media, technology, and logistics. A number of free zones have been set up by the United Arab Emirates to encourage foreign investment and support economic growth. The establishment of a company in the United Arab Emirates Free Zone is an easy process, and the general overview of these steps can be found here.
  1. Register Your Business: Registering your business is a crucial step in the setup process You will need to register at the Dubai Department of Economic Development, if you choose a mainland company. It involves the choice of a specific and appropriate name for your company, preparation of necessary legal documents to be submitted with the requested fees. The registration procedure of the free zone company shall be carried out in the respective Free Zone Authority. In order to make the registration process as smoothly as possible, it is necessary to comply with all regulatory requirements and obtain professional advice.
  1. Obtain the Required Licenses: The type of license you need depends on your business activity. Commercial licences shall be suitable for trade activities, professional licences for service-oriented businesses and industrial licences for manufacturing activities. The understanding of specific requirements and compliance with the regulations set by relevant authorities is essential.
  1. Secure Office Space: It is time for the establishment of an appropriate office once your business registration and licensing has been completed. Dubai offers a variety of different possibilities, from conventional office space to managed offices and shared working spaces. When you make your decision, take into account factors such as location, accessibility, infrastructure and budget. You will enhance your business image and provide a conducive environment for productivity and growth by having a well-equipped and professional office space.
  1. Comply with Labour and Visa Regulations: It is essential to comply with the employment and visa regulations of the United Arab Emirates if you intend to hire staff. This usually involves obtaining a working visa for your staff, which requires sponsorship. In order to meet the legal requirements and maintain a good working environment it is vital that workers are familiar with labour regulations, which include wage rules, time limits for work or contracts of employment.
  1. Establish Banking and Financial Connections: An essential part of the operation of your firm in Dubai is to open a business bank account. Dubai’s banking system is known for its efficiency and range of financial products tailored to businesses. Furthermore, in view of the fact that UAE has introduced both VAT and Corporate tax off-late, it is important to familiarize yourself with taxation obligations for your business.


Setting up your business in UAE does not have to be too complicated. If you are planning to set up a new company in the U.A.E., it is advisable to work with an established business consultant such as BCL Globiz.

We at BCL Globiz are a team of chartered accountants, company secretaries and more than 200 members who can assist you with the incorporation of your company in Dubai. We undertake research and provide expert assistance to ensure that your enterprise is set up as effectively as possible, in accordance with your specific needs and objectives. We’ll ensure your process is smooth and provide you with up-to-date information.

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