A Step by Step Guide to Registering a Company in Dubai

Each and every year, more and more individuals and businesses express their interests to register a company in Dubai. The authorities of the Emirate have deliberately sought to create an environment which is well ordered without being unduly restrictive. The incorporation procedure is a simple step by step process and does not require endless visits to a lawyer at every juncture of company formation.

The steps required to register a company in Dubai

Business people in Dubai should know that there are two distinct areas for setting up companies:

  • the Dubai Mainland, where 100% foreign ownership is not allowed (the foreign investor needs to have a Dubai sponsor)
  • the Dubai Economic Free Zones, where foreign investors have complete ownership on their companies.  

The basic steps for establishing a business in Dubai are:

  • Selecting the business activity
  • Choose the legal status of the company
  • Selecting the trade name for the company
  • Applying for the initial approval certificate
  • Preparing the company’s memorandum
  • Choosing a business location
  • Obtaining the necessary licenses

Applying for a business license in Dubai

One of the most important parts of the company registration procedure in Dubai is licensing. There are three types of business licenses for companies operating in Dubai:

  • the trading or commercial license, which is suitable for any type of trading activity
  • the industrial license which can be used by companies in various industries
  • the professional license which designates activities undertaken by professionals such as lawyers, accountants and craftsmen

In order to obtain the trade license, a company must submit the following documents with the Dubai Trade Register:

  • a specific application form
  • the tenancy agreement in original
  • the application form for obtaining clearance on using the office for the desired activity

The clearance for using the office space must first be obtained with the Dubai Municipality Building Department.

Necessary documents required to register a company in Dubai

The list of documents that need to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development includes:

  •  the trade name
  • the initial certificate of approval
  • the initial form for approval (and stamps)
  • the applicable approvals for the business activity issued by the government, if necessary
  • the memorandum of association

A registration and licensing form needs to be submitted in order to obtain this certificate, along with the following documents:

  • Passport copies for all the members,
  • Copies for the foreign partners’ visas
  • A “no objection certificate” from the foreign partners’ sponsors

Other documents could also be required depending on the type of company you are registering.

How can we help?

If you need help in selecting the right type of legal entity for your business, our team of professionals can give you detailed information about each type of business and whether or not it is suited for your business field or activity. Please contact us to find out more about how we can assist you register a company.


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