Dubai mainland and freezone company formation


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Dubai is a popular destination with entrepreneurs and business owners the world over – for good reason.

In recent years, the emirate has cemented its place as an integral hub for international trade with easy access to some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets. Add to that a 0% tax rate and it’s easy to see why so many come to do business here.

Dubai’s straightforward company incorporation process is another major reason behind its popularity. When you set up here with the help of a company formation agent, the whole process can be completed in just a few simple steps.


Dubai mainland company formation

One of the first steps towards starting your business in Dubai is deciding on a mainland or free zone setup.

It’s easy to make a case for both. If you decide on a Dubai mainland business setup, you’re free to trade directly with the UAE without the services of a third party. You can also set up anywhere in the emirate and pitch for government contracts.


Dubai mainland license cost

The cost of a Dubai mainland business setup depends on various factors. If you choose to take on premises, your costs will increase, for example. The same is true if you intend to take on employees straight away. Finally, the nature of your business will have an impact on overheads and operating costs.

Then you must factor in the Dubai mainland license cost. As there are so many elements involved, it is not always easy to produce an estimate without all the details. The best way to get an idea of the total cost is to contact a company setup agent who can provide you with a personalised quotation.


Company formation in Dubai free zones

Another option for your consideration is company incorporation in Dubai free zones. There are many to choose from spread right across the emirate and beyond – some industry-specific and some open to all.

Company setup in a Dubai free zone is usually the most cost-effective approach. And, as many offer package deals, it’s much easier to get an idea of cost before you proceed.

If you’re looking for the most affordable free zone setup, it’s a good idea to look outside Dubai. Free zones such as Fujairah Creative City, for example, offer benefits including a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions.

There are several types of free zone licences available. Many free zones offer a range of license types including industrial, commercial, e-commerce and professional services.

Whether you go for business formation in a Dubai free zone or a mainland company setup, it’s a good idea to work with a company setup expert to ensure a fast and smooth process.


Company formation in Dubai free zones costs

The cost of registering a company in a Dubai free zone will vary depending on the size of your business. As a guide, you can expect to pay AED 24,775 to set up in Fujairah Creative City, this includes three business activities under one license, use of the free zone’s co-working space and the cost of applying for one visa.

Another benefit of freezone company formation in Dubai is that there is often no requirement for paid up share capital, helping to keep start-up costs to a minimum.


The Dubai company incorporation process

  1. Your business activities

The first thing to do before making your UAE license application is to decide on your business activities. Any activities you choose must align with an official list published by the Department of Economic Development. The list covers every industry imaginable, from potato trading to consultancy. You do not have to limit yourself to one, it is possible to list multiple activities under a single license.

  1. Your company name

Choosing a company name is a hugely important step in establishing a UAE business. There are a few things to keep in mind when making this decision. You must abide by a strict, yet easy to follow, set of naming conventions. Once again, a company setup expert can help you with this step.

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.

  1. Your license

The most important step – your license application. There are several license types available in the UAE. The right one for your business will depend on the nature of your business activities.

If your business activities fall into the category of industrial or manufacturing, then you will require an industrial license. If you are in the commercial sector – i.e. the buying and selling of goods – then you will require a commercial license. Similarly, those offering professional services will require a professional license.

Whether applying to form a company in the mainland or in a free zone, 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.
  1. Your visas
    Just like applying for your trade license, with the right guidance, the process of applying for your own visa, as well as those of 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.


Starting your business in the UAE

If you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a business in 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 Set Hub 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, Set Hub 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.