Low cost business setup in Dubai – in six easy steps
Dubai has a much-deserved reputation as the home of big business. The emirate is the ideal place for large international businesses to trade – boasting an enviable location, welcoming business regulation and a low tax environment. That’s why many of the world’s largest companies have offices here, including Coca Cola, Google and Facebook.
But this big business picture doesn’t tell the full story of Dubai and the wider UAE. The emirate is also home to a host of startups and SMEs that contribute a significant amount to the economy – many of which started with little capital.
Low cost business setup in Dubai is not just possible, it’s incredibly easy. Provided you work with an expert who understands the process of establishing a business here, there’s no reason why you can’t keep the cost of business setup in Dubai low.
How to start a business in Dubai
If you’re looking to start a business in Dubai but wish to keep costs down, the best advice is to set up in one of the emirate’s free zones.
There are zones that cater to all sectors, some industry-specific and others that welcome businesses from all fields. If you wish to take an even more cost-effective approach, you may wish to consider looking further afield.
Other emirates such as Fujairah are also home to free zones that offer the same advantages as those in Dubai but often with lower startup and ongoing costs. Those advantages include 100% customs tax exemption, as well as the ability to repatriate all capital and profits and no currency restrictions.
Can I start a business in a Dubai free zone?
Absolutely. Free zones are very welcoming to both local and international entrepreneurs. With the right support, it’s easy to start your business in Dubai, Fujairah or any of the emirates. The process consists of just five simple steps:
Step 1: Decide your business activities
The first step is an important one. You must clearly outline your business activities. There are thousands of potential activities to choose from and it’s vital that you list any you intend to carry out on your license application.
Failure to specify every one of your intended activities could lead to issues further down the line. For this reason it is advisable to work with a company formation expert when making this decision. Such experts are familiar with permitted activities and will be able to suggest those that align best with your business.
Step 2: Choose a company name
Next, you must name your business. There a few things to keep in mind when naming a business in the UAE. Here you must abide by a strict, yet easy to follow, set of naming conventions.
In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e. Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.
Step 3: Applying for your business license
Here is perhaps the most important step of all – applying for your business license.
With the right support, this is a straightforward process. Simply apply directly to the relevant governing authority of the free zone you in which you wish to establish your business.
Free zone licenses can often be granted in a matter of days depending on the nature of your business and the license required. To ensure a smooth process, it is once again a good idea to instruct the services of a company formation specialist at this stage.
Whether making your application yourself, or through a company formation agent, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:
- Completed application form
- Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
- Two colour passport size photos
Step 4: Apply for your visa
You’ll also need a visa to be able to work in the UAE. The visa application process – for you and your employees – is particular, yet straightforward. Again, an expert in UAE company formation can help you with this step.
As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas too. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.
The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.
Step 5: Opening a corporate bank account
The last thing needed to trade in the UAE is a corporate bank account. Unfortunately, the UAE’s strict money laundering regulations can make it difficult for overseas entrepreneurs to access corporate banking facilities. Working with an expert in the field makes for a much smoother process.
Company formation experts have great links to both local and international banks and can easily put you in touch with the one best suited to your needs – even arranging face to face meetings if necessary.
Cost of business setup in Dubai
As we have previously touched upon, low cost business setup in Dubai is entirely possible. If you’re really looking to keep a handle on costs, however, it may be worth looking to neighbouring emirates.
Fujairah Creative City, for example, offers a range of affordable license packages with no paid-up share capital requirement, no annual audit and an easy incorporation process. There is also no need to be present in the UAE to establish your new company.
A license package in Fujairah Creative City, inclusive of one visa application and use of the free zone’s co-working facility costs just AED 24,775.
Your route to low cost company formation
That’s all there is to it. As you can see, if you’re armed with the right knowledge, low cost business setup in Dubai and the UAE doesn’t have to be overly complex.
That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ) when establishing a new company in the UAE.
We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
As well as handling your license application, BIZ can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.
We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications that are required to trade in the UAE.
In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.