How to Start a Business in Dubai?

Set up a Business in Dubai

If you’re thinking of making a debut in Dubai’s corporate world, just know that it comes with a lot of privileges in terms of a high-performing economy, business-friendly infrastructure, seamless access to all the required resources, etc. 

The UAE government has taken significant steps to attract foreign investors to further escalate business activities in the Emirates. As a result, there is a significant upsurge in the influx of offshore investors who are eager to unlock new business opportunities in the UAE.

Dubai is a most attractive location for both tourists and investors and is known for providing vast business opportunities. Whether you want to set up a business in Dubai Free Zone or Mainland, you can acquire 100 percent ownership of your business without any need for a local sponsor.

The trend of company formation in Dubai is among young entrepreneurs and established multinational entities gaining more popularity with every passing day. In this article, we will discuss the entire process of how to setup business in Dubai and the privileges that you expect from company formation in the sandy heaven. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Why Start a Business in Dubai?

Like other Emirate states, Dubai is known for offering a highly sustainable business ecosystem for long-term and promising growth. It is estimated that more than 20,000 new businesses have been registered in Dubai Free Zone and Mainland in 2021-2022. Most of these businesses are owned by foreign investors who are enjoying the perks of 100 percent business ownership, zero corporate tax, and remarkable growth opportunities.

Global indicators and think tanks predict that Dubai is going to lead the business sector despite growing economic stability around the world. IMF declared UAE as the top business destination in the Arabic Penisula. With GDP growth projected at 4 percent approx which is more than neighboring Qatar and KSA.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons why entrepreneurs like you should be starting businesses in Dubai. 

Benefits of Starting a Business in Dubai

Some of the reasons behind many foreign investors choosing Dubai as their favorite destination for their business include:

  • Zero personal & corporate tax – The UAE government has introduced a 0% personal and corporate tax policy. This is one of the primary reasons foreign investors prefer starting a business in Dubai.
  • Skyrocketing economy – The UAE is ranked among the top economies around the globe. With an extremely diverse and wide-scale market capture with your business and services, you can choose from plenty of niches to set up a business in Dubai.
  • Exceptional living standards – The UAE is ranked 23rd as the most liveable destination to live. This additional perk in terms of quality and safety of life is another notable factor that persuades investors to start a business in Dubai.
  • Startup-friendly infrastructure – Dubai is known for harboring some top-notch incubators with experienced enablers who are ready to guide and fund entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses. 

List of Free Zones in Dubai

Currently, there are 23 Free Zones in Dubai namely.

  1. Dubai Airport Free Zone
  2. Dubai CommerCity
  3. Dubai Design District
  4. Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
  5. Dubai Healthcare City
  6. Dubai International Academic City
  7. Dubai Internet City
  8. Dubai International Financial Centre
  9. Dubai International Free Zone Authority
  10. Dubai Logistic City
  11. Dubai Knowledge Park
  12. Dubai Maritime City
  13. Dubai Media City
  14. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
  15. Dubai Production City
  16. Dubai Science Park
  17. Dubai Silicon Oasis
  18. Dubai Studio City
  19. Dubai Textile City
  20. Dubai World Central
  21. Dubai World Trade Centre
  22. International Humanitarian City
  23. Jebel Ali Free Zone

How to Set up a Business in Dubai

Starting a business in Dubai is a seamless and hassle-free process. It involves the following hierarchy of steps that end up with your company formation in Dubai.

Step 1: Finalize Your Niche & Business Activity

Start by finding the right industry or niche to start your business activity. You can choose from a range of high-potential industries including travel, hotel, healthcare, IT, and eCommerce to set up a business in Dubai. As far as your business activities are concerned they possess all the economic and financial practices you are going to carry out throughout your business lifespan. The right business activity is crucial to scale your business. Outline all the potential scenarios to craft a business activity and strategy that help you dodge potential roadblocks in your journey.

Step 2: Select a Favourable Dubai Free Zone

With a zero tax framework and a lot of perks in the form of ease of starting a business in Dubai, you can choose from the aforementioned 23 different Free Zones in Dubai. Dubai Free Zones are known for their remarkable geostrategic positioning that allows hassle-free business activities.

Step 3: Decide a Business Name & Trademark

Your business name, logo, and slogan must outshine with a clear message of your mission, vision, and niche. After choosing your business name for company formation in Dubai, you can collaborate with Airzone to find the right business setup partner that can help you register your trademark. Due to the high chances of trademark rejection, it is highly recommended to choose the right support in this regard.

Step 4: Initial Process of Business Approval

Starting a business in Dubai comes amid some legal liabilities as per the UAE’s Legal Framework. You are bound to fulfill the following documents required for business setup in Dubai.

  • Initiate a business registration application with the UAE’s Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • Providing your business’s memorandum of association
  • Acquiring the Trade License
  • Submitting an application for an establishment card to the Ministry of Labor (issued by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The documents required for the said case include
    • Original Emirates ID
    • Passport of UAE sponsor (in case of shared partnership in Dubai Mainland – Not Obligatory after 2020)
    • Old Immigration card
    • A valid Trade license
    • Copy of Passport with valid visa page of all partners for Free Zone Company
  • Confirmed and potential employees must be registered with the Ministry of Labor, with the documents required as under
    • UAE’s Residence Visa/Work Visa
    • Copy of Passport with valid visa page
    • Employment Agreement
    • Labour card
    • Emirates ID

Step 5: Opening a Free Zone Bank Account in Dubai 

Setting up a business in any of the Free Zones of Dubai requires opening a Free Zone corporate bank account. Some basic and mandatory obligations to open a Free Zone bank account in Dubai include

  • Proof of physical presence for all business partners at the time of submitting their documents.
  • Off-shore businesses opening a Free Zone bank account need to verify and certify their documents from the Consulate of Emirates (for the state they are going to set up in).
  • The next step for any off-shore company is to certify their documents from the UAE’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Below is the list of documents required for opening a Free Zone bank account in Dubai.

  • Complete Business Profile
  • Last 6 months’ bank statement
  • Resume of the account holder and other stakeholders involved
  • Proof of physical existence
  • Valid Passport or Emirates ID
  • Trade License
  • Company’s regulatory document
  • Directors Resolution

Step 6: Choosing Office Location in Free Zone

If you are going to set up a business in Dubai Free Zone you are allowed to acquire office space in the Free Zone area as per legislative directions of a particular Free Zone. Office spaces in Dubai Free Zones are well-suited for either SMBs or enterprise-grade organizations.

How Airzone Can Help You Start a Business in Dubai?

Company Formation in Dubai

Airzone can help you discover the right information regarding company formation in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE. Airzone provides a vast knowledge base to assist businesses of all sizes in learning how to establish themselves in the UAE. We ensure that you have the right knowledge to set up a business in the UAE without any hassle or distraction by connecting you with trusted business formation partners.

By getting in touch with our trusted and experienced business formation partners, you can equip yourself for company formation in Dubai with their experience and direction. Feel free to connect with Airzone to get in touch with our trusted partners in Dubai. Acquire your trade license, open your Dubai Mainland or Free Zone bank account, set up your business in Dubai, and gain exposure to the diverse market.


We hope this guide on how to set up a business in Dubai helped you out immensely. Dubai is known for offering exceptional business environments for foreign investors. Free Zones in Dubai are the eye candy of overseas investors and entrepreneurs gearing up to set up a business in Dubai. Dubai being a top business destination in the entire Arabian Peninsula is attracting the biggest chunk of foreign investors by offering a range of privileges as discussed above. 

If you still need better clarity on how to start a business in Dubai, we highly recommend reading our business setup in Dubai and UAE guide.

FAQs About Business Setup in Dubai

What types of Dubai business licenses are available for new companies?

Depending on your business activity, you can choose from three different types of trading licenses in Dubai:

  • Commercial license
  • Professional license
  • Industrial license

What is the cost of starting a business in Dubai?

Depending on the scale of your business, the trading license cost in Dubai ranges from 15,000 to 50,000 AED. The trading license cost in Dubai is significantly less in Dubai Free Zone compared to Dubai Mainland.

How to launch a small business in Dubai?

The steps involved to set up a business in Dubai include:

  1. Determine the legal entity type.
  2. Choose a business name.
  3. Make an application for a business license.
  4. Select an office space.
  5. Obtain pre-approvals, register your company, and obtain your license.