As we know, Dubai’s attractive lifestyle, beautiful skyline and incredible experiences are just a few things as to why it's an expats haven.
But apart from the appealing lifestyle, Dubai is also a friendly place for start-ups and businesses looking to expand their horizons, from technology hubs, finance start-ups, hospitality franchises and more - there’s quite a lot of room for new business to stretch their legs and grow in Dubai.
So, if building a business in Dubai has been on your radar - here’s your quick friendly guide on how you can obtain a commercial licence in Dubai.
In case you’re new to this space, a commercial licence is required to run any kind of business in Dubai, as well as purchase real estate related to your business.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) approves various business activities under a commercial licence and you can gain a complete list of business activities allowed from the DED or Meydan Free Zone.
Here are a few examples:
Let us break it down in four simple steps!
Step 1: Determining the business activity
To start a business or obtain a licence, first determine the activity you’re interested in. You can choose from over 2,000 business activities on the DED website, including those in the industrial, commercial, professional, and tourist sectors.
Step 2: Pick your location
If you’re starting a company, you want to know whether it’d be a mainland licence or freezone.
Mainland: All business entities that come under a commercial, professional, and sole establishment registered under the Dubai Economic Department (DED) are known as Dubai Mainland License.
Freezone: Free zones or free trade zones in Dubai are business zones where companies operating in them are exempt from all types of taxation such as Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax, Corporate Tax and Customs. Business owners in the free zone areas in Dubai have 100% ownership of the business.
Step 3: Name your company!
Note that all names are to be approved by DED. In order to make sure of that, try to avoid using disrespectful names, well-known corporate names and abbreviations and also ensure that the name you want to use is available for registration.
Step 4: File the application!
Once everything is set in place, you can submit all the papers to DED for review. Company formation and licences happen at the same time.
Once your company’s activity is authorised, you can apply for a Memorandum of Association, an Incorporation Certificate, and other legal papers. After approval, you can also apply for visas, tenancy agreements, and labour cards.
Here’s a list of the necessary documents for registration of a commercial licence in Dubai.
Prices for obtaining a licence range from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000 depending on the choice of licence.
Check out some of our top live listings around some of Dubai’s most popular business hubs!