Starting a Business in Dubai as a foreigner or non-resident

Starting a Business in Dubai as a foreigner or non-resident? Are you wondering if company formation is possible if you’re a non-resident? This post has answered your query with a detailed guide. Keep reading till the end.

Its vibrant economy and advantageous positioning drive Dubai’s appeal as a foreign business hub at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The city’s modern infrastructure, exceptional amenities, and pro-business governmental initiatives have fostered a conducive ecosystem for entrepreneurial endeavours to thrive and flourish.


Tax Advantages

Dubai presents a notable advantage for entrepreneurs through its favourable tax structure. The UAE has adopted a low-tax framework, ensuring businesses operate tax-free for corporate and personal income. This advantageous tax environment empowers entrepreneurs to optimise their earnings and channel resources into their ventures, facilitating business growth and expansion.

Strategic Location

Due to its strategic positioning, Dubai is a pivotal access point to regional and global markets. The city’s extensively connected transportation infrastructure, encompassing top-notch airports and seaports, effectively streamlines import and export operations.

This seamless accessibility unlocks vast trade prospects, allowing businesses to broaden their scope and connect with a diverse customer base, facilitating expansion and growth.

Business-friendly Environment

Dubai’s business landscape is renowned for its conducive atmosphere, efficient procedures, transparent regulations, and limited red tape. The government has introduced numerous measures to entice foreign investments and nurture entrepreneurial endeavours while promoting a favourable climate for business activities.

Does Dubai Allow Foreigners to Open Businesses?

Certainly, you can start a business in Dubai as a foreigner. Dubai accommodates a diverse population from various parts of the world, and its leadership actively pursues foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Consequently, individuals from overseas generally enjoy considerable freedom in establishing companies within the United Arab Emirates.

However, entrepreneurs unfamiliar with the local business landscape may encounter specific difficulties when venturing into Dubai’s market.

Different Categories of Dubai Business Permits

Foreign entrepreneurs exploring business opportunities in Dubai can apply for one of two preferred business licenses. The first type is a license applicable for conducting business solely within the mainland of the United Arab Emirates, allowing entrepreneurs the freedom to establish their operations anywhere within the country.

However, to engage in trading activities, non-resident entrepreneurs may require the assistance of a local sponsor.

Alternatively, another option is to establish operations in a tax haven. This approach is often the most accessible and cost-effective for company formation for non-citizens or non-residents. Certain free zones offer enticing benefits such as exemption from corporation tax, currency controls, and the complete absence of customs duties.

A Short Guide to Establish a Business in Dubai as A Foreigner

  • Determine The Type of Business

Dubai provides a range of business entity options, including Limited Liability Company (LLC), Sole Proprietorship, Free Zone Company, Branch Office, and Representative Office. Each type of entity comes with its own set of requirements and regulations.

  • Find A Local Sponsor

When establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai, securing a local sponsor who will hold a 51% ownership stake in the company is necessary.

  • Register your Trading Name

To register your company in Dubai, selecting a distinctive trade name that accurately reflects your business activities and adheres to non-offensive guidelines is essential. Register this trade name with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

  • Obtain A Business License

To start a business in Dubai as a foreigner, acquiring a business license from the appropriate authority is essential. For instance, you must obtain a license from the Dubai Municipality to establish a restaurant. The license acquisition process can be intricate, so seeking guidance from a local consultant or legal firm is advisable to navigate the requirements effectively.

  • Open A Corporate Bank Account

After obtaining the business license, open your corporate bank account to conduct the transaction procedures seamlessly.

  • Rent Office Space

To establish your business in Dubai as a non-resident, renting an office space for business operations is essential. You will find various options for choosing your desired office space.

  • Obtain Visas for Your Employees

To employ personnel in Dubai, it is necessary to secure visas for them. The Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) handles visa applications, offering a range of visa types based on the job position and qualifications of the employee. It is crucial to apply for the appropriate visas through the GDRFA to ensure compliance with the necessary regulations.

  • Register For VAT

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is imposed on most products and services in Dubai. It is required to register for VAT and have a specific VAT number if your company qualifies for VAT. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) provides simple online access to the VAT registration process.

  • Comply With Local Laws and Regulations

Businesses must adhere to the strict laws and regulations that govern Dubai. To avoid any potential legal issues, it is crucial to be thoroughly aware of these rules and regulations and abide by them completely.

Company formation in Dubai may be completed without issues by carefully following these procedures. However, those who are not familiar with the procedure or who have no prior experience could find it puzzling.

It might be complicated to start a business in Dubai; thus, you must get assistance from regional experts and law companies. They may greatly help with all aspects of business formation, including obtaining licences and visas and ensuring local rules and regulations are followed. Speak to an business setup consultants today to find out more.