How to Form a Company in Dubai

Forming an overseas company can be a major headache for enterprises wanting to open shop in the European Union, Asia,South America, or Africa. The paperwork is never-ending and while bribes are never openly solicited or accepted, there are always hints that a ‘gift’ or some ‘tea money’ would greatly expedite the processing of visas, permits, and licenses. This is one of the major reasons that Great Britain decided to pull out of the European Union — their own companies were finding it harder and harder to handle the tangle of red tape and innumerable requirements in order to do business on the continent. 

There is also the current debate over which parts of the world will recover quickest from the pandemic, and thus have a competitive edge financially over the rest of the world’s industry and finance. Once again, this doesn’t seem likely to be Europe, Asia, South America, or much of Africa.  

Many countries are anxious to attract new business to help restart their economies, and so they are offering deferred taxes and even bonus money to companies that will settle in their bailiwick. But those so-called bargains are often offset by the ruinous expense of hiring a raft of local lawyers and accountants to get things off the ground floor.

None of these problems apply to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

Many financial and business experts say that the capital city of the UAE is on track to regain it’s hold on business and finance resources faster than any other city in Europe or Asia. And when they do, the savvy company that wants to go international, or already is international and wants to expand, will already be there. 

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to forming your company in Dubai.

Free zones

The industry in UAE has free zones for different types of foreign owned businesses. These are the only places foreign business may locate. Make sure before you make any other commitments that you find out where your free zone is located — is it near an airport or major roadway? Is it close to warehouses and technology centers that your business will need? In other words, look before you leap!

Double Check your company’s name

 The UAE is a very politically and religiously conservative country, so make sure your company’s name contains no sexually suggestive overtones. Offensive language of any kind, in any language, will not be tolerated. Even acronyms that may be considered offensive or in poor taste will be banned. So run your company’s name, logo, and slogans, through one of the many programs available online that can let you know if it is derogatory or offensive in any major language or culture.

Don’t start doing business until you physically have your business license.

Once your incorporation paperwork is signed and turned in, it usually takes just a few weeks to obtain your business license. Don’t make the mistake of beginning to hire staff or order from local vendors before you have the license physically in hand! Otherwise you leave yourself wide open to litigation and government fines.