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How to Register a Company in Dubai

December 11, 2021

100% foreign ownership, top-class lifestyle, ease of doing business, tax savings, e-governance system, up-scaled business infrastructure, and growing business timeliness.

Investors can choose from a variety of corporate registration options in the region. In this guide, we will cover every aspect of Company registration in Dubai so that you can smoothly head into a business acquisition in Dubai.

Business setup in Dubai can be quite challenging, more so if you’re an overseas entrepreneur setting up your company in the UAE for the first time. That’s why Avyanco is on hand to register a company in Dubai and the UAE effortless for you.

Avyanco covers all of the technical and administrative aspects of establishing a business in the UAE. Our team of experts will work with you to determine the most suitable license based on the activities or services you want to provide. We’ll do all the hard work for you, such as liaising with the relevant authorities and government departments. We’ll also prepare all the relevant legal documents, assist with the visa application process, and provide corporate bank account opening introductions.

We don’t just assist with company registration in Dubai; we understand the customer’s journey and aim. We will guide you to open a company either in the free zone or the mainland of UAE, depending on your needs. If you need to open a trading company, need more visas under the company, want to trade in the local market, or need a company corporate bank account quickly, we suggest opening a company in the Dubai mainland instead of the free zone. If an investor wants to start a free zone company but does not have the necessary documents to open a corporate bank account (according to bank compliance requirements), we can provide alternative solutions for them.

This multi-layered service has made Avyanco one of the leading company formation specialists in the region. It is also why plenty of entrepreneurs choose us for assistance and guidance while registering a company in Dubai or UAE.

How to register a company in Dubai

To registering a company in Dubai, UAE allows you to experience the profitable business environment by taking advantage of the great benefits of the United Arab Emirates.

It is a popular choice amongst international investors establishing a company with Steps to Register a Company in Dubai

Steps to Register a Company in Dubai

  • Step 1. Select the jurisdiction of the proposed company such as free zone or mainland
  • Step 2. Pick your company name
  • Step 3. Determine the type of legal entity.
  • Step 4. Get preapproval from the concerned Authority about the name and initial approval.
  • Step 5. Sign the lease contract for either a full-fledged office or a virtual office.
  • Step 6. Get a Company license after the Payment.
  • Step 7. Open a Corporate Bank Account
  • Step 8. Post license formalities like Immigration registration, investor/partner visa, and employee visas.

Select the jurisdiction of the proposed company such as free zone or mainland

The kind of business you want to set up can influence where you should set up your company in the UAE. For instance, certain free zones only allow certain kinds of activities, such as media, medical, or transport. If you want to start a business that does not come under the ambit of free zones, you need to consider starting a company on the mainland. Geographical location also matters - if your business depends on import/export, you will probably want to be located near an airport or port. While it is true that the final decision can be taken later in the process, having a clear idea about the business activity you want to start makes it easier to eliminate some options early on.

Pick your company name

The UAE has rather stringent naming conventions. Therefore, your business name must conform to local regulations and sensitivities. Names that include offensive language are prohibited, as are any company names that refer to religions. Suppose you want to name your business after a person. In that case, that person has to be a partner or owner of the company, and their full name must be used, not initials or abbreviations. It will be best to consult a business setup expert like Avyanco on all the naming conventions. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by sharing your proposed name with us to run checks on whether it is appropriate. If it isn’t, we can help you come up with something that is.

Determine the type of legal entity

There are different types of legal entities in Dubai you can choose from such as sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership, Branch of a foreign company, Representative Office, Branch of Freezone Company, Branch of Dubai based company, Branch of UAE based company, Branch of GCC company, public shareholding company, Private shareholding company, and civil company.

 Get preapproval from the concerned Authority about the name and initial approval

You will need to complete an application for your chosen company name and activity. This must be provided to the relevant government authorities along with copies of shareholders’ passports. Some free zones may need additional documentation, for instance, a business plan or Non-Objection Certificate (NOC). While paperwork may be the most demanding and time-consuming of all the steps, it doesn’t have to be too strenuous if undertaken with Avyanco’s expert help. Our business setup team can advise you on the paperwork required and help you complete it without too much hassle.

Sign the lease contract either a full-fledged office or virtual office

You must sign a lease contract which is mostly called Ejari in case you have decided to rent a physical office or virtual office. The lease contract mentions the location of your registered business in Dubai.

Get Company license after the Payment

This is probably the simplest step of all. Once your application has been processed, then you will be issued your company license. Avyanco will notify you when your documents are ready to be collected.

Open a Corporate Bank Account

Once you have all the documentation required, you will need to open your corporate bank account. The UAE has many reputable banks, both local (Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the Commercial Bank of Dubai) and international (HSBC, Citibank, and Barclays). You can either get in touch with the bank of your choice or ask your business setup partner to fix up meetings with several banks to help you choose the most suitable option.

Post license formalities like Immigration registration, investor/partner visa, and employee visas

This is the final step in setting up a company in the UAE. Many free zones will allow you to put in applications for staff and dependents while applying for your visa. The number of visas you apply for depends on where you choose to set up your company. So, if you are looking to obtain visas for your family or other dependents, it is best to seek expert advice on whether it is possible to do so and make sure that you and anyone you are hoping to sponsor for a visa comply with all of the entry criteria. If this all checks out, the visa process comprises four simple stages: entry permit, status adjustment, medical fitness test, and finally, Emirates ID registration and visa stamping.

Important Points to Know on How to Register a Company in Dubai

The requirements for company registration in Dubai vary from authority to authority and are based firstly on how many partners are in the company, what will be nature of the business, and What will be the legal type of the company. These are some standard requirements and points on how to register a company in Dubai.

  1. A free zone company can be formed with 100% ownership in UAE
  2. Free zone companies can work within the designated free zone or outside UAE however the company that wants to deal in the local UAE market then a dual license is required from the free zone. As per the business law, a free zone company without approval cannot deal with UAE mainland companies.
  3. Dubai mainland companies can do business outside and inside of the UAE without any restriction. However as per the amended corporate companies law no 2 of 2015 a foreign national can become 100% shareholder of any commercial type and industrial type company.
  4. If the activity is providing services or consultancy then foreign nationals must appoint UAE nationals as an agent of the company.

Documents Required to Register a Company in Dubai

Certain documents must be prepared and submitted if you want to register a company in Dubai. At best, these documents include:

  1. Passport Copy of a shareholder
  2. Visa copy either visit visa or residence visa of the proposed shareholder
  3. Lease agreement
  4. Few name choices for company name reservation
  5. Copy of business plan - for a few business activities only
  6. Duly filled application license form
  7. Attested degree certificate - for a few business activities only

Types of business licenses for Registering a company in Dubai

  1. Commercial License: This license is for the company that engages in any commercial activity.
  2. Industrial License: This license is for the company that engages in manufacturing or industrial activities.
  3. Professional License: This license is for service providers, professionals, and artists.
  4. Tourism license: This license allows to open travel and tourism-related business activities in Dubai

Benefits of Registering a Company in Dubai

Registering a company in Dubai has several advantages. These benefits include:

  1. There is no capital gains tax in the United Arab Emirates.
  2. English is widely spoken in the United Arab Emirates, making it easier for many foreign investors to invest.
  3. No personal income tax.
  4. The minimum capital requirement for the owner to decide to launch a business in UAE is “0 AED”. Therefore, there are no capital requirements.
  5. UAE has no sales tax.
  6. The United Arab Emirates is home to a diverse and growing economy that shows extensive businesses opportunities.
  7. Safety and Security is the key point for investors to make the UAE their dedicated place to live in.
  8. Great infrastructure is one of the leading advantages for foreign nationals to move and start a business in Dubai
  9. The mixture of nationalities is another benefit for all nationalities to become part of UAE social life.
  10. Easy to operate a company as the Dubai government has a single window for all licensing purposes.
  11. Establishing a corporate bank account for the companies is easier compared to European and British countries.

What Types of Companies can you register in Dubai?

Once a company registers with a competent authority, it creates a smooth and seamless path to enter the Dubai or UAE market and grow without encountering operational or legal issues. The right to register a license is entirely dependent on your business plan, business type, target market, financial goals, and initial budget. You can choose among three types of registration.

  1. Mainland
  2. Freezone
  3. Offshore

1. Mainland Company Registration

DED (Department of Economic Development) registration is necessary for Dubai mainland company registration.

Mainland businesses can engage in any industry, commerce, professional, or tourism. According to the DED procedural rules, companies require authorities' approval for business regulation.

Foreign investors can acquire 100% ownership of their business settled in the UAE. Alternatively, they can go with 100% private business ownership.

Shareholders are required to complete constitutional documents and processes, including the appointment of a manager under the Articles of Incorporation (MOA) or service contract, for a limited or permanent period. On the mainland, the company must have at least one manager and up to five managers.

2. Freezone Company Registration

There are 45+ free zones in the UAE and 8000+ companies in free zones. The UAE Free Zone is a designated UAE area where expatriates can fully own and operate their business at an affordable registration fee. Dubai Freezone company registration is a potential business investment for expatriates worldwide. The UAE Free Zone has become a significant commercial hub in the region resulting in business promotion initiatives provided by the UAE Government and Free Zone Authorities.

Cost of registering a company in Dubai Freezone

Features such as business freedom and lack of tax sovereignty make the UAE Free Zone a unique and premier place to start a business. Besides this, the exact cost depends on the company's legal structure, and of course, the chosen free zone. The costs for registering a company in a Dubai freezone are not exceptionally varied; it is usually around the range of AED 9,000 to AED 12,000.

3. Offshore Company Registration

Offshore companies in UAE are also referred to as “paper” companies. An offshore entity is a wholly foreign-owned limited liability company. In general, these offshore companies incorporate within the countries that impose little or no tax on their capital gains. The United Arab Emirates is a preferred offshoring destination for various businesses.

Establishing an offshore company in the United Arab Emirates is an ideal and affordable way to grow your international business without the overwhelming administrative burden.

Mainland vs Free zone Company Registration in Dubai



Mainland Company Registration

Freezone Company Registration


Dubai mainland company formation offers a complete control and 100% foreign ownership over your business. Although there is an exception where if you register a company in Dubai that requires a professional license, in this case, you require a local UAE national agent. The requirement may vary depending upon your case, but it is advised for a professional consultancy business.

Business setup in Dubai free zone offers 100% foreign ownership on any type of license or business activities.

Business Scale

Companies settled in the United Arab Emirates have no restrictions on a business scale. Companies can do business anywhere in Dubai as well as outside of UAE.

Compared to mainland facilities, free zone companies can only operate within areas designated as free zones. If they want to do business in the local market, they need a local dealer or agent for assistance.


The minimum annual rental space requirement is 200 square feet for mainland businesses. As per the current regulation, Dubai DED is also issuing licenses without office space.

Companies in the Free Zone do not necessarily require physical office space. Depending on business activities or industries, there may not be an office required.

Visa Facility

There are no visa restrictions on mainland licenses.

Each free zone has different rules and regulations for issuing visa quotas under a business license. There is a 25 sq. ft. of the office mandatory for issuing each visa in the free zone, and some free zone these requirements can be 50 sq. ft. for the office.

Government Approval

The Mainland Company license requires standard government approval to obtain a license.

However, most free zone companies are primarily involved in imports and re-exports. In this case, these companies do not need to obtain approval from an external agency to issue a license.

The Cost of Registering a Company in Dubai

Particularity Of Services

Minimum Fees

Maximum Fees

Commercial LLC companies with a virtual office



Branch Office of foreign company



Professional Companies with a virtual office



Tourism Companies



Industrial companies



Notes: all above fees are just approximate fees and subject to change.

Why Avyanco During Your Company Registration

With over 2,000 activity licenses and over 28 jurisdictions to choose from, it's difficult to choose the option that's right for your needs, so things are complicated, but don't worry. Our expert advisors can assist you with complex corporate registrations in the United Arab Emirates until your company is registered. You do not have to bother yourself with any stress asking yourself on how to register a company in Dubai while Avyanco can handle all the process for you

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