#1 Business In UAE: A Guide to Startup

Setting up a Business in UAE

UAE is on the top list of investors and businessmen from all over the world for its operating market. The region offers various business facilities for all types of businesses which is why many foreigners and companies are considering grabbing the chance.

The emirates have transformed throughout the years. Gone are the days when it was only known as a nation for fishing and earls. Now it has become one of the top-notch financial powerhouses that has diverse and thriving industries.

The Business Culture of UAE

UAE has a stable political system, business-friendly taxation, liberal trade restrictions, and a strong capital flow. It has become the first choice for investors all over the globe. What entices investors is that the UAE government is encouraging new and old investors in many ways which is why there is a lot of scope for doing business.

Moreover, it is easier to do business in the UAE rather than in any country, especially for foreigners. Setting up a company in the UAE is less complicated now as the government is willing to offer long-term visas.

This is one reason why businesses in the UAE are booming and becoming profitable. UAE has plenty of scope for foreign investment as mostly the residents over here are foreign-born.

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Apart from this, it allows a hundred percent foreign ownership for 122 business activities across thirteen sectors. Isn’t that something favorable for your investment? Of course, it is.

Steps to establishing a business in the UAE

A business startup in the UAE is an excellent idea as it is known for its rich population and tourist inflows. There can be no better place to have a business than the UAE. The region has economic stability in the foreign market which is why investors are more attracted to invest here.

The market of the UAE is trending, giving various opportunities to foreign investors to do business.  As a businessman, you can take advantage of the fact that the UAE has increasing tourist traffic which would bring unlimited consumers for your services or products.

However, the steps to setup business in Dubai are easy. You can follow the steps listed below for a successful setup of your business: 

Step 1: Identify the nature of your business activity

The first essential step is to define and identify the nature of your economic activities as this would help define the legal form of your business. It would help in identifying what kind of license you need.

There are various kinds of licenses from which you can apply for one based on what business activities you are performing. These are commercial licenses, crafts licenses, industrial licenses, agricultural licenses, professional licenses, and tourism licenses.

Step 2: Identify the legal form of your business

Once the nature of business activities is defined, you need to identify the legal form which is dependent on the business requirements. It identifies the rules and regulations that you have to follow. 

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You can choose among the following legal forms:

  • Partnership
  • Limited liability
  • Limited partnership
  • Private joint stock company
  • Public joint stock company
  • Branch of a foreign company

Step 3: Reserve and register your trade name

Once the legal form is identified, you shall reserve and register a trading name for your business. It will help distinguish your license from other licenses. You must choose a trading name that is related to the type of license you are choosing.

This step may seem easy but there are some conventions that you have to follow. The trade name should not be followed by any legal form abbreviations. It should not have any improper words and should not violate any public sense.

Moreover, the name should not have any blasphemous language and should be approved by the Ministry of Economy.

Step 4: Apply for the initial approval

Once all this is done you have to get the approval of the UAE government which is when they will have no objection to your business establishment. Once you get the initial approval you are all set to get the commercial license.

However, obtaining the license does not mean you can begin the business immediately. If you are a foreign investor then you will be required to first obtain the approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

Moreover, there are certain activities that require approval before the application submission for initial approval. These include activities that involve legal affairs, security entities, and commodity authority.

Step 5: Memorandum of association

After the initial approval, you might have to obtain a memorandum of association based on the legal form of your company. It should be prepared and signed. This is required when your business is in Partnership, limited liability, limited partnership, public joint stock company or private joint stock company. 

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Step 6: Choose a location or address for your business activity

Once all the above five steps are done, you need to have an actual address for your business activities. Whatever location you choose, must meet the requirements of the Department of Economic Development and the Zoning regulations of the municipality.

You will have to provide a lease contract for the location whether it is a warehouse or an office.

Step 7: Obtain additional government approvals

This step may be necessary or may not be necessary for you depending on your activities. In some cases, you need to obtain special approval for a license from the local or federal government. 

For example, you might need approval from the Ministry of Interior for transportation services, fire extinguishing equipment, driving centers, etc. For a tourism and travel business, you may need approval from the Executive Council whereas for a private joint stock company you may need approval from the Ministry of Economy.

Likewise, for various business activities, you may need special approvals.

Step 8: Receive the License

When you complete all the above steps, you will receive the commercial trade license in Dubai through the economic department service centers or the electronic service platforms.

You will need certain documents for the issuance of licenses so be mindful to have them ready.

Step 9: Register with the Chamber of Commerce

Last but not the least, you shall be required to have membership in the Chamber of Commerce of the Emirate in which you are starting your business. There are different websites for each state on which you can apply for membership.


Setting up a business in the UAE is a fabulous idea. The economic stability of the region will provide you with optimum revenues. However, you must follow the right steps to establish a startup. With the right business idea and efficient promotions, your business would flourish and grow.

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