In the UAE, it is possible to set up a business without being an Emirati citizen. However, there are certain requirements that need to be met and paperwork needs to be completed before this can happen. This guide will give you all the information you’ll need for setting up your own company in Dubai or any other part of the UAE.
Steps to set up a business in Dubai
There are several steps you’ll need to follow if you want to be able to start your own company. These include:
Business name registration. This includes registering your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED) by taking an application form and submitting it together with the relevant documents.
For companies involved in construction, there are also additional requirements to be considered.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) registration – This is the most common type of setting up a business in Dubai, and this is what will be covered in the rest of this article.
Capital requirement for LLC registration
According to Dubai law, at least one member should contribute 100% of the LLC’s share capital. If only one founder is available, then that person will have to put up all the money required for running the business. However, if more than one member is involved in the company, they can combine their contributions towards achieving full share capitalisation.
The minimum number of shares established by Dubai law is two.
Shareholders’ agreement – This document will establish the rights and responsibilities of shareholders, and it will also determine how profits and losses will be divided between them. This can be included in the Memorandum of Association (MOA).
Passport copy of each shareholder – It’s a requirement that companies operating in Dubai should submit a copy of each shareholder’s passport (which should include the visa page), as well as their relevant visas.
Business name registration – This step will only be required if you’re planning on registering your business under a name other than that of its owners. I.e. If you and your friend own a company and you want to use the name ‘Bob’s Catering, you won’t need to go through this step. However, if your proposed business name is something like ‘Jane’s Cooking Classes’ or anything else that doesn’t match your own name, then you will have to register it in Dubai beforehand.
Steps for establishing a limited liability company (LLC) in Dubai
The first step of the process is to establish an LLC with DED, which will also be responsible for registering this new company at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. This can be done by submitting their proposed name along with the type of business they are intending on conducting. After this has been approved by both parties, you’ll need to submit your passport, as well as a copy of the visas held by each member.
Another important requirement for this is that you will have to choose a Registered Agent if there are more than two people involved in the company. A Registered Agent needs to be appointed from outside the company and they must reside in Dubai. This person will have to submit their own passport, along with copies of the passports for all shareholders (including the visa pages). They will also need to provide their company’s P.O. Box number and their Trade business license number.
Once this has been approved, it must be published in two different newspapers both in English and Arabic languages (Dubai requires this), as well as one paper in an international language, which should include at least one word of the company’s name. This must be published within ten days after submitting your application to DED. Moreover, the publication cost will have to paid by you, and it will need to be submitted along with everything else mentioned above. After approval is granted for this step, you will then need to proceed with registering your company at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
This step must be done within one month of submitting your application to DED, and it might require some additional documents, which can’t be known until this stage. DCC will inform you if there are any problems with your registration, or they might even request additional documents. However, you can expect this step to take around 21 days and it will cost you AED 300 (in addition to other company formation costs).
Once your business is registered at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, you’ll need to register your trade name with the Department of Economic Development. After that has been done, all that’s left is to obtain a trading license and register your business with the Dubai Trade (DTC).