Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Business in Dubai

Dubai has been a place to do business in the Middle East for years now. It’s the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates but also of the region as a whole. However, even though it’s welcoming to Western businesses, Dubai still has its own set of rules for setting up a company.

You must study these and prepare for what’s to come before you enter any long-term arrangements in the local market. That way, you get to prepare for any additional expenses and delays that you might experience during the setup process.

Partner with AUE national

The law requires you to partner your business with a local national since they are the only ones who are allowed to start businesses in Dubai. They would need to own 51 percent of your business partnership and the management tasks could be divided as you want them to.

Some local agents provide this service for a fee. It’s best to ask around within your industry circles and to find agents that others have worked with in the past because you want their role to be just a formality.


An expert in Dubai company registration will tell you that the location you will choose for your business is more than just a managerial decision. It also affects how the company is taxed and treated by the government since the country is divided into different jurisdictions with different regulations.

The three zones are the Mainland, Free zones, and Offshores. Choosing the right zone for you depends on what your business will do and how it will trade with the rest of the country and the rest of the world. It’s best to leave this decision to a professional.

Shareholding structure

The legal form of your business is determined by the shareholding structure. This means that you need to choose how much of your company is owned by the initial founders and how much you can sell as shares and use as an investment.

The tricky part about deciding on this matter is that it also determines how your company will be treated if it goes bust. It’s something you should think about in advance because no one plans for their company to go bankrupt. However, when it does, you want to be able to save as much of your assets as you can.

A trade name

A trade name is not just a name your company will be known in the UAE. It’s also the name you’ll be identified with when dealing with governmental institutions. That’s why it needs to get approved by one of those before you’re able to start trading.

It’s done by a governmental body called the Department of Economic Development. The process needs to be repeated every six months and it takes about 3 days to be completed. This is something to factor into your marketing plans if you want to make hype out of your name.

Business trade license

Once the process of setting up a business is completed, you’ll need to get a business trade license from DED. That’s the document you need before you can start trading and you’ll need to collect the document at that institution.

There’s one last fee that you need to pay at that point. It covers the costs of obtaining a license and once you’re done with it, you’ll be able to trade in the UAE. Registering a company is a costly process and the biggest expense is in waiting for the proper documents, even though the fees are substantial as well.

Doing business in Dubai is a bit different than it is in the rest of the world. However, the UAE is still open to accepting foreign businesses if they have money to invest and are willing the follow the rules and procedures set by the government.


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