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Types of Business in Dubai

If you want to start a business in Dubai, you need to understand the difference between free zone, mainland, and offshore company formation. Accompanied by that, you need to choose a license based on the services and activities that you will provide such as trading, industrial, IT services, education and training, consultancy, event management etc. After that, you need to prepare the essential legal documents, open a corporate bank account in Dubai and start the visa process. Business setup in Dubai is not easy; it is followed by many legal formalities and paperwork. It may seem very complex with the administrative and technical aspects of setting up a business in Dubai. The process of starting a business in Dubai is as follows:

Free zone company setup

  • Choose your business activity
  • Finalize company name
  • Finalize incorporation paperwork
  • Receive license notification
  • Open a bank account
  • Process business immigration card
  • Process your visa

There are three options to set up a business in Dubai either you can invest in the free zone, mainland or offshore.

Free Zone Company Setup

Around 40 free zones are operating in the UAE. Each one of them is designed around more than one commercial category and offers a license to companies operating specifically within those categories. The main reason why investors want to establish their business in the free zone is that there is no restriction on foreign ownership and companies are governed by an independent Free Zone Authority. Some of the main free zones in UAE are Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), Dubai Internet City (DIC) etc.

Documents required for free zone company setup:

  • Certified Passport Copy and UAE Visa
  • 2 address proof dated within 3 months
  • Professional reference or bank letter
  • Summary of professional history or CV
  • Company application form

Mainland Company Setup

Offshore companyEntrepreneurs and foreign investors are eager to set up their business across Dubai with no restrictions. Registration as a mainland company in Dubai is said to be the prior preference by most of the companies. The business owners can own 49 % of business with 51 % share of local sponsors. It will allow them to retain 100 % profit. Dubai mainland (DED) offers numerous options for foreign investors and international companies with a DED trade license. The biggest advantage of starting a business in mainland UAE is that you are allowed to trade with other mainland companies.

Benefits of mainland company set up in Dubai:

  • Wider scope of business
  • Work along with government bodies
  • Presence of market
  • Financial Viability
  • No limit on the number of visas
  • Wide variety of business activities

Offshore Company Setup

The offshore company which is also known as an International business is a legal entity which provides a zero-tax environment that results in the minimization of tax burdens and improves wealth management. It is one of the best tax-free options for business setup in Dubai.

Benefits of the offshore company set up in Dubai:

  • No taxation on business activities performed outside UAE
  • The minimal time period for registration within 3-7 days
  • No audit required
  • The director of the offshore company can have any citizenship
  • Shareholders are eligible to operate the company

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