A Step-by-Step Guide – How to Register a Company in Dubai


Are you searching “How to register a company in Dubai? Or seeking an expert consultant to help in the task easily? If yes, you have arrived on a correct article. Dubai – a vibrant metropolis known for its hospitality, attractive one-day destinations, skyscrapers, and luxurious lifestyles has turned out to be a global business hub. Its noteworthy economy, plotted geographical locations, and business-oriented environment make it a one-stop destination for entrepreneurs searching for growth opportunities. 

In recent years, Dubai has expanded its economy beyond oil and gas, focusing on sectors like tourism, real estate, and technology. Plus, it has been a fertile ground for many businesses attracting investors around the world. They identify viable business opportunities to align their ventures with the city’s growth sectors.

Company registration in Dubai is an essential step for entrepreneurs looking to establish a presence in a particular region. Dubai company register gains legal recognition and opens doors to many benefits like robust infrastructure, a large consumer market, and many tax advantages. In addition, Dubai has a strategic location to markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, making it a base for global businesses.

Other than this, the city’s strategic location, well-developed logistics, and seamless transportation make it a gateway for businesses looking to expand globally. In this guide, we will provide a step-by-step overview of how to register a company in Dubai to help entrepreneurs navigate the complexities and benefits of setting up a business in Dubai.

Types of Business Entities Allowed in Dubai

There are various options available for businesses to structure their entity, each of which carries its own set of advantages and considerations. The three main types of business entities are:

Mainland companies

These companies operate within the jurisdiction of the Department of Economic Development (DED). They conduct business in Dubai and its outskirts, which gives them flexibility in terms of market reach. To register a company in the mainland, the entrepreneur should meet specific eligibility criteria, such as obtaining a local sponsor who holds 51% of the company’s shares. The local sponsor can be an individual or a corporate entity, the terms of which are outlined in the legal agreement. 

The mainland companies are subject to licenses imposed by DED that depend on the nature of business activities. The common types of licenses are commercial licenses, professional licenses, and industrial licenses.

Free zones

Many free zones in Dubai provide a business-friendly environment. It benefits business people with 100% foreign ownership, tax exemption, and simple import-export procedures. Plus, free zones help specific industries like media, technology, finance, and logistics to make it an attractive option for businesses with specific industry needs.

Businesses should carefully choose a free zone that best suits their business requirements. Factors like the type of business activities permitted, infrastructure, proximity to key markets, and particular benefits offered by each free zone.

Offshore companies

These companies are set up in the jurisdiction of JAFZA- Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority. They are suitable for businesses that don’t require a physical presence in Dubai. Such businesses get the advantages of full foreign ownership, making them ideal for holding assets, intellectual property, or facilitating international trade.

It is essential to select an appropriate structure and jurisdiction for a business that depends upon various factors, such as the nature of the business, ownership preferences, and market presence of a business. In this case, the entrepreneurs should carefully study each business structure’s advantages and disadvantages to align with a specific goal and operational requirements.

What are the steps to register a company in the UAE?

Registering a company in Dubai is done best and hassle-fee if the entrepreneur follows the suggested transparent steps below:

Conduct Market Research

Before starting the company registration process, entrepreneurs should conduct thorough market research and detailed studies. It involves checking on demand for products or services, understanding the competitor’s market, and acknowledging challenges and opportunities. A-minded decision in this stage can significantly contribute to the long-term success of the business.

Develop a detailed business plan

A detailed business plan is an essential tool for an entrepreneur. It serves as a roadmap to outline various missions, visions, objectives, market strategies, and financial projections of the business. A solid business plan leads toward optimistic company growth, demonstrates to regulatory authorities, and attracts potential investors.

Types of business structure

While registering a company in Dubai, the business must select a particular structure. The most common type is Limited Liability Company- LLC. There are several legal requirements for an LLC company, such as having a local sponsor who holds a minimum of 51% of shares of the company and the remaining 49% owned by the business. The company, in total, should have a minimum of 2 shareholders. It is important to note that shareholders should be publicly available in Business Registration Systems (BRs). 

In addition, there are many other businesses like sole proprietorships, a branch of a foreign 

company, an offshore company, a free zone business, or a professional service company. Each of these Dubai company registers has its own set of advantages and requirements. Hence, it is important to discuss different business structures with local professionals to make sure the correct structure has been chosen.

Analyzing suitable business activity and trade name

The legal requirements and regulations that rule the business activities in Dubai are essential to know. It includes understanding licensing process requirements and compliance with local laws. Consulting legal professionals those having expertise in Dubai’s regulatory framework becomes an invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of legal duties.

Legal framework for company registration

Dubai’s legal system is based on a civil law framework influenced by Islamic law- Sharia. It provides a transparent and predictable environment for businesses to ensure that contracts and agreements are under the rule of law. 

On the other hand, the Department of Economic Development- DED is the primary regulatory body that oversees the business activities going on in the mainland of Dubai. Some of its responsibilities include approving business activities, issuing licenses, and compatibility with regulations. In addition, many activities such as gambling, explosive manufacturing, arms trading, and any activities that involve alcohol or pork are prohibited.

Legal documents required to register a company in Dubai

Memorandum of Association- a foundational document that states the company’s constitution and details like name, objective, shared capital, and shareholders’ information. The MOA is a document that is mandatory for company registration in Dubai.

Secondly, the Article of Association- AOA that complements the MOA provides additional details on the company’s internal governance, management structure, and decision-making process. Both of these documents play an essential role in justifying the legal framework within where the company operates.

Third, is a trade license application that is issued by the relevant authorities to mainland companies or respective free zone authorities. These licenses permit the company to engage in particular business activities. Plus, a trade license is also mandatory for initiating business operations in Dubai.

Preparing the required documents

It is a crucial step in the registration process to gather the required documents:

  • Passport copies of shareholders and directors.
  • NOC- No Objection Certificate from local sponsors.
  • Business plan including nature of business, target market, and financial projection.
  • Lease agreement for office space or flexi-desk in a business center.
  • Initial approval from relevant authorities.
  • Applying to relevant authorities.

Once all the required documents are prepared, the entrepreneurs can submit their application to the relevant authority. It involves visiting the DED for mainland companies or specific free zone authority for free zone companies. This process initiates the official process of a business proposal.

Reservation of trade name

After submission, the relevant authorities review the application and grant initial approvals. In this stage, the entrepreneurs can reserve their desired name, making sure it complies with regulations and is available to use.

Rent an office space

If you have chosen to register a company in Dubai mainland, then you must lease an office space before final approval. The office space should match the guidelines of DED, and the tenancy contact must be given during the registration process.

Final approval and company registration

Submit the remaining documents like MOA, AOA, lease agreement, and relevant licenses to respective authorities for final approval and company registration. Next, pay the required fees and get the commercial license to mark the completion of company registration.

Opening a bank account

There are certain businesses that have minimum capital requirements, and entrepreneurs must detail compliance during the registration process. Opening a corporate bank account is essential, and the chosen bank will require a copy of the MOA, AOA, and other necessary documents.

Collecting trade license

Once all approvals are taken, entrepreneurs can collect trade licenses from the relevant authority. Getting a trade license is a critical document that officially permits the company to commence business activities in Dubai.

You have understood the steps we have stated above. Ahead, we will discuss steps to consider post-registration.

Post-registration obligations

After completing the company registration in Dubai, it is also important to stay informed about the post-registration process, to make the entire business run smoothly. Some of the factors to consider are mentioned below.

Visa and residency requirements for business owners and employees

After registering a company successfully, entrepreneurs should check for their visa and residency requirements for themselves and their employees. The procedure depends on the business structure and several visas required.

Knowledge of tax obligations in Dubai

Dubai is famous for a tax-free environment, i.e., no personal or corporate income taxes. While businesses operating in certain kinds of industries are subject to specific tax regulations. Entrepreneurs should stay updated with tax obligations and take professional advice to stay compliant with labor law.

Understanding labor laws and regulations

Business people should be compliant with labor laws in Dubai. This includes staying adhered to rules and regulations regarding employment contracts, working hours, wages, and many other aspects of employer and employee relationship. If an entrepreneur tunes in with labor laws, it ensures a harmonious and sound work environment.

Renewal of trade license and other permits

Usually, trade licenses and many other permits have a certain period of validity. The entrepreneur should make sure that it is renewed in a timely manner to maintain the business legally. Plus, the renewal process and noticing any changes in business activities regarding ownership are necessary for ongoing operations.

VCS is your trusted consultant for registering companies in Dubai

Business consultants and legal advisors play an essential role in simplifying the business registration process. VCS has expert professionals who know local regulations, business practices, and contacts with government agencies to streamline entrepreneurs’ entire journey for a smooth registration process. Plus, they provide online company registration in Dubai, so the entrepreneur sitting anywhere in the world can complete the process smoothly.


Dubai is committed to fostering a business-friendly environment that is crucial in continuous efforts to facilitate regulatory processes, attract foreign investors, and provide a compelling infrastructure that is needed for business to thrive. A trusted Dubai company register agency helps entrepreneurs with complete steps on how to register a company in Dubai with a supportive ecosystem to encourage innovation, growth, and success.


What are the types of business entities in Dubai, and how do you choose the right one from them?

There are three main types of business entities: mainland companies, free companies, and offshore companies. You can choose a location based on factors like ownership preferences, nature of business activities, and market presence. Mainland companies require a local sponsor, free-zone companies offer 100% ownership and tax exemptions, while offshore companies are suitable for businesses that don’t require any physical presence.

What documents are mandatory for registering a company in Dubai?

The documents depend on the type of business entity and jurisdiction. In general, passport copies of shareholders and directors, business plans, lease agreements, and approvals from relevant authorities. Also, mainland companies require a No Objection Certificate from a local sponsor. 

What are the restrictions on foreign ownership in Dubai?

The restrictions vary in different jurisdictions. Mainland companies require a local sponsor who holds at least 51% of shares, while free allows 100% foreign ownership. Recently, the Dubai government has reduced specific regulations allowing full foreign ownership in specific sectors. Hence, it is essential to stay updated regarding the latest regulations and seek professional advice to go through ownership requirements.

What is the importance of a trade license, and how do you obtain it?

A trade license is a legal document that allows a company to engage in particular business activities. The process of obtaining a trade license involves:

  • Submitting necessary documents
  • obtaining Initial approvals
  • Drafting a memorandum and article of association
  • Completing additional requirements asked by regulatory authorities

A trade license is mandatory for operating a business in Dubai.

What time does it take to register a company in Dubai?

The time for company registration in Dubai depends on business entities, necessary documents, and specific jurisdictions. Usually, the process takes from weeks to specific months. Yet, taking a professional consultant’s assistance can speed up the process as all the work is done under expert advice.

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