How to set a business in Dubai?


Dubai is not only one of the wealthiest and most dynamic cities in the world, but also a top destination for entrepreneurs looking to tap into the vast economic opportunities in the Middle East. The city’s strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, tax exemptions, and vibrant economy make it an ideal place for businesses to flourish. In this guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to setting up a business in Dubai, focusing on the legal requirements, financial considerations, and practical tips to help you launch your venture successfully.

Choosing the Right Type of Business

Understanding Different Business Entities

Dubai offers several types of business entities, and choosing the right one is crucial. These include:

  • Sole Proprietorship: Best for individual entrepreneurs who wish to retain complete control over their operations.
  • Partnership: Ideal for two or more individuals who want to share ownership and management responsibilities.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is one of the most common forms of business in Dubai, providing flexibility and limiting personal liability.
  • Free Zone Company: Allows 100% foreign ownership and is subject to the rules of the specific free zone.

Evaluating Free Zones vs Mainland

  • Free Zones: Offer benefits like full ownership, tax exemptions, and customs duty benefits. Ideal for businesses that target markets outside the UAE.
  • Mainland: Suitable for businesses that directly serve the Dubai market and require a local business presence.

Legal Requirements and Registration Process

Documentation and Approval

Setting up a business in Dubai involves several legal procedures, starting with deciding the business activity and legal form, followed by obtaining approvals from the Department of Economic Development (DED) or the respective Free Zone authority. The key documents typically required include:

  • Passport copies of the owners
  • Business plan
  • Application forms
  • NOC from the current sponsor (for residents)
  • Initial approval certificate


The type of license you will need depends on your business activity. The main types of licenses are:

  • Commercial License for trading activities
  • Industrial License for manufacturing or industrial activities
  • Professional License for services, professionals, artisans, and craftsmen

Financial Considerations

Initial Investment

Discuss the expected initial costs, including licensing fees, office space rental, and the potential need for consultancy services.

Banking and Finance

Opening a corporate bank account in Dubai is straightforward but requires diligence. Banks will require detailed business plans and proof of residency. Also, discuss the financing options available in Dubai for startups and SMEs.

Finding the Right Location

Free Zones

Detail the perks of various free zones like DMCC, Dubai Internet City, and Jebel Ali, each tailored to specific business types and industries.


Discuss areas popular with businesses such as Sheikh Zayed Road and Business Bay, and the advantages of being located in the Dubai mainland.

Hiring Staff

Recruitment Strategies

Options for recruiting include local talent pools and expatriates. Discuss the legal frameworks like the UAE Labour Law and how it applies to hiring.

Visa and Labor Laws

Understanding the process of obtaining work visas for employees is crucial. Discuss the sponsorship system and employee rights.

Marketing Your Business

Digital Presence

In the digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial. Discuss strategies for digital marketing, including social media, SEO, and email marketing.


Highlight the importance of networking in Dubai and how new businesses can engage with chambers of commerce and industry events.

Incorporating with Incorpyfy

When setting up a business in Dubai, navigating the complex legal requirements and bureaucratic procedures can be quite challenging. This is where Incorpyfy can help—a professional service provider that specializes in assisting both local and international entrepreneurs to efficiently establish their businesses in Dubai. Incorpyfy offers tailored services that cover everything from selecting the correct legal form and handling all necessary paperwork to ensuring full compliance with local laws. Whether you’re initiating a boutique, a tech startup, or looking to expand a large corporation, Incorpyfy provides personalized support and expert advice to simplify the business setup in Dubai. They ensure that your Dubai business setup process is streamlined, helping you focus more on business growth and less on operational challenges.


Setting up a business in Dubai offers tremendous opportunities, thanks to the city’s strategic location, robust economy, and business-friendly environment. Whether you choose to establish your presence in a dynamic free zone or the vibrant mainland, understanding the local laws, financial implications, and logistical requirements is crucial. With services like Incorpyfy, entrepreneurs can navigate these complexities more efficiently, ensuring that the setup process is not only compliant but also optimized for success. Embracing these steps and seeking the right support will position your enterprise for fruitful operations and growth in one of the world’s most thriving business landscapes.

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