Things You Need to Know before You Start Your Business in Dubai

Business by  Mashum Mollah 20 November 2020 Last Updated Date: 19 January 2022

Start Your Business in Dubai

The UAE is one of the best places to start a business for local and foreign investors.  There are several firms that can assist you in establishing your business, such as Future Vision Business Setup Company in Dubai. The growing economy and tax exemptions attract a lot of people to start businesses in the Emirates. There are many advantages to starting a business in the Emirates. Although this is an Islamic state, the residents are friendly.

There are various Free Zones where you can easily set up your business. There is economic and political stability. The modern infrastructure enables you to transport goods to customers or your location. It is necessary to understand business regulations in the Emirates before starting a business.

Business Laws and Regulations in the UAE

Every year many individuals and companies set up shop in the UAE; however, before doing this they have to adhere to the local corporate law. Particular economic and commercial activities are prohibited. They are categorized, for instance;

  • Gambling – casinos, sweepstakes, betting shops, lotteries, etc.
  • Food and foodstuff – goods and semi-finished pork products, selling and manufacturing alcoholic products
  • Illegal trade and activities – illegal distribution of psychotropic and narcotic drugs and prostitution
  • Goods and services – creating and circulating pornographic content in form of magazines and videos, operating strip clubs, and other questionable activities.

What You Need to Know before Starting a Business in Dubai

Dubai is the commercial capital of the Emirates; there are endless business opportunities, favorable laws, and government support.

Here are things you need to remember when starting a business in Dubai;

Business Activity

The first thing you need to do is to decide on a business activity. What business do you want to invest in? You need to understand that there are various limitations on particular activities.

Stay away from prohibited businesses. The best thing to do is to consult an expert from a law firm in Dubai to help you understand commercial laws in the city. You need authorization before starting your business. This is why it’s necessary to understand whether your business adheres to Dubai’s standards and regulations.

Picking a Jurisdiction

Business jurisdictions are categorized into 3 types; Free Zones, Mainland, and Offshore jurisdictions. Free Zones are business zones in Dubai where businesses operate and are exempted from paying all types of taxes. You also have 100% ownership of your company in these zones. Mainland/onshore requires you to have a local sponsor, and you can conduct business locally and outside the UAE. An Offshore company operates in another jurisdiction while its parent company is in another country.

Choosing a Business Structure

The business setup is based on the shareholding structure. It also determines the legal form of your company. An expert from a law firm in Dubai can help you align your shareholding structure to your preferred jurisdiction. Examples of business structures include;

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Private shareholding
  • Public shareholding
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Shared ownership
  • Joint venture
  • Limited partnership
  • Brach offices
  • Representative offices.

Business Name

The company name is one of the most important elements of your business. Choose a catchy business name that reflects your business activities. While choosing a business name, you need to follow Dubai’s business rules and regulations. They include;

  • The company’s name should not contradict your business activities.
  • The business name should not be protected or reserved by copyright by a similar business in the Emirates.
  • It should not have indecent or obscene phrases and must not be offending to the public, even if it is your name/a person’s name.
  • It should not include God’s name or his divine nature, whether in English or Arabic.


After choosing a trading name and getting approval from the Department of Economic Development, you can go ahead and apply for a trading license. There are 4 types of licenses; commercial, professional, industrial, and tourism licenses. Licensing structures vary depending on business activity and Free Zone. You need to fill out an application form and provide necessary documents like copies of passports, a letter from a current sponsor, a Non-Objective Certificate, a business plan, etc. An expert from a law firm in Dubai can help you assemble the correct documents for this process.

Collecting Your License

Once you get external approval from the DED, governmental, or non-governmental bodies, you can proceed to write your MOA. You should also get a tenancy contract and get approval from Ejari (a Real Estate Regulatory Online system). Before getting your license you need initial approval from the DED; this shows that the UAE government approves your business. You cannot proceed with your activities without this approval. The next step is to get your license by submitting various documents like your MOA, trade license application, trade name reservation contract, relevant government forms, etc.

It can be lucrative to start a business in Dubai. There are many business activities and the good news is that you don’t have to pay any taxes. However, you need to know that there are laws and regulations to follow. Some activities and names are prohibited. You also need approval from various governmental and non-governmental bodies.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at

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