Professional licence Dubai: Costs & Requirements


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There are many decisions to make when starting a new business in Dubai, UAE. You’ll need to choose where to set up, what type of company you wish to form, and the type of licence you require.

When it comes to the latter, there are three common options available. They are commercial, industrial and professional, each covering a different range of business activities. In this article, we’ll look at the professional licence – from the activities it permits to the process of obtaining one.

As with all methods of company formation in Dubai, setting up with a professional licence is quick and easy when you do so with the right guidance and support. So, if you’re looking to carry out professional services in the UAE, here’s how Set Hub can help.

What is a professional licence in Dubai?

Put simply a professional licence permits the holder to carry out professional services – these are usually those deemed to relate to intellectual and artistic talent.

Professional services include consulting, marketing, printing and publishing, as well as more hands-on activities such as carpentry, artisan crafting, beauty services and the like.

Professional licences are issued by most Dubai free zones and the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the mainland. In both cases, companies with professional licences can be 100% owned by non-GCC nationals. This is not always the case with commercial and industrial licences.

Steps to setup a professional licence in Dubai, UAE

Before starting a business of any kind in Dubai and the wider UAE, it pays to consult with a local expert such as Set Hub.

After a short consultation to understand the needs of your business, we can guide you through the following company formation process, managing all applications and approvals on your behalf.

1. Set out your business activities

Before doing anything else, we’ll need to explore your intended business activities to ensure they align with the professional licence.

You must list every activity that you plan to carry out, but you can list multiple and add more at a later date.

2. Choosing your company name

Next, we will help you choose a company name. There are a few key things to keep in mind at this stage – many that would not apply anywhere else in the world.

Be aware that you must abide by a strict 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.

3. Applying for your trade licence

Now it is time to apply for your professional licence. If you are setting up in the UAE mainland, you can make your application online via the e-channel portal, or in-person at a service centre.

If you are setting up in a free zone, you should make your application to the relevant managing authority. This is often the easiest and most cost-effective option.

In both cases, Set Hub can manage this process for you, liaising with all relevant authorities and ensuring your application is correct and complete before filing.

4. Applying for your visas

You’ll also need a residency visa to work in the UAE – as will your employees, should you have any. Again, with the right guidance, the visa application process can be incredibly straightforward.

As the holder of a UAE business licence, 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.

5. Opening your corporate bank account

To take and make payments freely within the UAE and beyond, you’ll require a corporate bank account.

Accessing such services is not always an easy task for non-GCC nationals. However, working with Set Hub can help smooth and expedite the process. We can advise on the banks and other institutions best suited to your needs, and assist with applications to ensure all is in order before submission.

Documents required to obtain a professional licence in Dubai, UAE

When applying for your professional services licence in Dubai, UAE, whether in a free zone or in the mainland, you will be asked to provide the following documents and more:

  • Copies of the passports for all the licence parties (partners and managers)
  • A copy of residence visa and NOC (if applicable).
  • A copy of your visa (if applicable).

Starting your business with Set Hub

That’s all there is to it. As you can see, if you’re armed with the right knowledge, business setup in Dubai with a professional licence 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 licence application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you 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 UAE company formation professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your licence 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 visa applications that are required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your licence and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.