Dubai has established itself as a global business hub, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. The city’s strategic location, business-friendly environment, and tax advantages make it an ideal place for setting up a company. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps and requirements for Company registration in Dubai, ensuring a smooth and successful process.

  1. Understand the Business Landscape

Before diving into the registration process, it’s crucial to understand the business landscape in Dubai. The emirate offers two primary jurisdictions for company formation in Dubai:

Mainland (Onshore): Allows businesses to operate within the local market and outside the UAE without restrictions. However, it requires a local sponsor or partner who holds 51% of the shares for most business activities.

Free Zones: Designed to attract foreign investment, free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified procedures. However, businesses in free zones are generally restricted from direct trade within the UAE market without a local distributor.

  1. Choose the Business Activity

Selecting the appropriate business activity is a crucial step, as it determines the type of license you need. Dubai offers various business activities, including commercial, professional, industrial, and tourism-related activities. Each activity has specific requirements and regulations, so ensure you choose the one that aligns with your business goals.

  1. Select the Company Structure

Dubai offers several types of company structures, including:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): The most common form for businesses engaging in local trade, requiring a local sponsor.
  • Free Zone Company: Ideal for foreign investors seeking full ownership and operating within a free zone.
  • Branch Office: Allows foreign companies to establish a presence in Dubai without a separate legal entity.
  • Civil Company: Suitable for professional services, allowing 100% foreign ownership with certain restrictions.
  1. Reserve a Trade Name

The next step is to reserve a trade name for your company. The name should comply with the naming conventions set by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and should not violate any trademark or copyright laws. It’s advisable to propose multiple names in case your first choice is unavailable.

  1. Apply for Initial Approval

After reserving the trade name, you need to apply for initial approval from the DED or the relevant free zone authority. This approval confirms that the authorities have no objection to you starting a business in Dubai. You will need to submit:


  • A completed application form
  • Passport copies of the shareholders and directors
  • Copy of the reserved trade name certificate
  1. Draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Local Service Agent Agreement

For an LLC, you must draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) detailing the shareholding structure and operations. If you’re setting up a professional service company, you’ll need a Local Service Agent (LSA) agreement. These documents must be notarized by a public notary.

  1. Secure a Business Location

Every business in Dubai must have a physical address. You can either rent office space or, if you’re in a free zone, use the facilities provided. Ensure the location meets the requirements for your business activity and is approved by the relevant authorities.

  1. Obtain Necessary Approvals

Certain business activities require additional approvals from other government departments. For example, health services require approval from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), while food-related businesses need approval from the Dubai Municipality. Make sure to obtain all necessary clearances.

  1. Submit Final Documentation

Submit all finalized documents to the DED or free zone authority for final approval. This typically includes:

  • Initial approval receipt
  • Notarized MOA and LSA agreement
  • Lease agreement for office space
  • Relevant government approvals
  • Completed application forms
  1. Pay the Fees and Obtain the License

Once your documents are approved, you will need to pay the required fees for the business license. Fees vary depending on the type of business and the jurisdiction. After payment, you will receive your business license, allowing you to officially operate in Dubai.

  1. Register for Immigration and Labor Cards

With your business license in hand, you need to register your company with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to obtain immigration and labor cards. These cards allow you to hire employees and sponsor their visas.

  1. Open a Corporate Bank Account

Finally, open a corporate bank account in Dubai. This requires submitting your business license, shareholder passports, and company documents to the bank. Each bank has its own requirements and processes, so choose one that aligns with your business needs.


Company registration in Dubai involves a series of well-defined steps and requirements. By understanding the process and preparing all necessary documents in advance, you can ensure a smooth and efficient registration experience. Dubai’s dynamic business environment offers numerous opportunities for growth and success, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs worldwide. Contact Avyanco UK to know more.