How to Do Business in the UAE?


The strategic business location of the UAE makes it the perfect spot to start a new business or open a branch of your established venture. Moreover, the business-friendly laws, advanced infrastructure, hassle-free resource availability, tax exemptions, and countless business opportunities make it a no-brainer to choose the country for launching a company.

However, you should have in-depth knowledge of how to do business in the UAE to earn sizable revenue right from the beginning. Therefore, always consult with the legal advisors at Shuraa, and they’ll provide their insights on starting a business in the UAE to make the process easier and profitable for you.

How to do business in the UAE?

Starting a business in the UAE is straightforward if you follow the defined steps, make the necessary payments, and hire professional business consultants. Here’s a stepwise breakdown of the entire process:

1. Understand the UAE’s marketplace

Your business journey in the UAE begins with brisk research of how things work in this country, and how you can make most of the opportunities presented to you. Explore various regions, be it the mainland, offshore, or any of the free trade zones, and analyze them as per your business model. Moreover, don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors too. Understand their offerings, their USPs, shortcomings, and more to fine-tune your existing business plan.

2. Finalize your company’s structure

Once you’re aware of how companies carry out their business activities in the UAE, you need to finalize your business’s legal structure. You get a plethora of options, and you need to choose the one that’s ideal for your business requirements. It can be a sole proprietorship company, an LLC (limited liability company), a joint venture, and many more. All of them have their set of advantages and limitations. Therefore, choose wisely by keeping a bigger picture in mind before starting a business in the UAE.

3. Choose your business activities

What activities do you want to carry out once you open your company in Dubai? List down all these activities and approach the concerned jurisdiction to get approval for the same. The Department of Economic Development (DED) maintains a list of more than 2000 permissible business activities for companies launching in the mainland region. You’ll find similar lists when you approach an independent jurisdiction of a free zone too. Moreover, you can always obtain additional approvals for the business activities not available in these lists.

4. Reserve a trading name

Another critical step for starting a business in the UAE is trade name reservation. All you need to do is finalize a legal name for your venture and pay the designated fees for it. It’s better to keep a trading name that’s indicative of your business industry. Furthermore, never use the name of any god in your official name and avoid using controversial terms or words that hurt other people’s sentiments. Always use a person’s full name and not any nickname if you wish to keep it as your official trading name.

5. Select the business location

Choosing the ideal business location is vital as it saves you from the overhead hassle of relocating to a new location. You can establish your business in the mainland region to get access to the world-famous local market of Dubai. Conversely, you can also find a home for your business in any of the free trade zones like the DMC (Dubai Media City) and DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center). However, it can be a taxing activity for foreign investors to find the right area for their business because they have to manage several other chores. Therefore, you should collaborate with the business experts at Shuraa, and we’ll simplify company formation for you.

6. Get an office space

It’s imperative to procure an office space if you wish to start a business in the UAE. If you’re planning to invest hefty sums of money, you can purchase lavish office space for your company and also obtain an investor visa. If not, no need to worry. You can easily find affordable office spaces for rent in the UAE. Renting an office is beneficial as you don’t have to pay a significant amount of money right up front. Therefore, you can utilize this money for other growth-related business activities. Remember, you’ll get all the official letters and legal notifications on your professional address only.

7. Obtain your business license

You can apply for a business license once you’re done with all the above-mentioned steps. You must have a valid trading license to start a business in the UAE as failing to do so can lead to non-compliance with the established business protocols. You can obtain a commercial, industrial, professional, and tourism license in the UAE, depending on your business category. Moreover, you need to renew your license from time to time so that it’s valid at any given instance. Keep renewing your trading license at least one month before the expiry date to enjoy risk-free business functioning.

8. Get a valid tenancy contract

The investors and business owners need to activate an Eljari account after obtaining a valid tenancy contract from the concerned real estate agency. The entire process is governed by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency), and the body ensures end-to-end transparency so that there aren’t any fraudulent transactions. You need a valid Eljari to apply for visas, renew them, obtain specific approvals, and much more.

9. Manage visas

You can obtain an investor visa in the UAE if your investment amount meets the required criteria. Furthermore, you can obtain a work visa and secure residence visas for your family members, relatives, and domestic staff too. All you need to do is follow the defined procedure, apply for the visas, and get the required visa permits. Typically, the number of permissible visas depends on your office space area (per sq. ft.), and you can approach the concerned council to know more.

10. Open a corporate bank account

The process of starting a business in the UAE is incomplete without opening a corporate bank account for your company. You’ll be needing this account to manage all the monetary transactions and keep track of the finances. Therefore, ensure that you open an account in a bank that’s reliable, secure, and offers long-term benefits. That’s it. You’re all set to carry out your business activities in the UAE and make a name for your business.