Setting your business up in Dubai – a guide for UK entrepreneurs
Dubai is an attractive destination for UK entrepreneurs looking to set up their business abroad. Its strategic location, excellent infrastructure, tax incentives, and business-friendly environment make it a prime location for businesses seeking growth and expansion in the UAE and beyond.
To help you in the process of starting your new professional life in Dubai, we have put together this handy guide for UK entrepreneurs looking to set up their business in Dubai.
Our guide for UK entrepreneurs
1. Legal considerations
The first step in setting up your business in Dubai is to choose a legal structure that suits your business needs. There are several legal structures available in Dubai, the mot common ones being:
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC is the most common legal structure chosen by foreign investors in Dubai. It requires at least two shareholders and can have up to 50 shareholders. An LLC provides limited liability to its shareholders, which means that their personal assets are not at risk in case the company faces financial difficulties.
Branch of a Foreign Company
A branch of a foreign company allows a foreign company to establish a presence in Dubai without the need to create a new legal entity. The foreign company is responsible for the branch's activities, and the branch is subject to the same regulations as a local company.
Free Zone Company
A free zone company is a legal entity established in one of Dubai's many free zones. Free zones offer tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and other incentives to attract foreign investment. However, free zone companies are restricted to conducting business only within the free zone.
An offshore company is a legal entity established in a tax-free jurisdiction. Offshore companies in Dubai are subject to fewer regulations and offer complete privacy to their shareholders. However, offshore companies are not allowed to conduct business within the UAE.
2. Obtain your license
The next step in setting up your business in Dubai is to obtain a business license. The type of business license required depends on the nature of your business. There are three types of business licenses in Dubai: commercial license, professional license and industrial license.
3. Comply with Visa requirements
Foreign investors looking to set up their business in Dubai are required to obtain a residency visa. The residency visa allows foreign investors to live and work in Dubai and is valid for two years.
To obtain a residency visa, foreign investors must apply through the Dubai Department of Economic Development. The application process includes submitting the necessary documents and paying the required fees. A Time & Motion PRO (Public Relations Officers) can handle the entire process for you, ensuring you obtain the correct visa as quickly and swiftly as possible.
4. Get up to speed with tax rules and regulations
Dubai is a global financial center and offers several banking options to businesses. Foreign investors looking to set up their business in Dubai are required to open a local bank account. The account can be used for all business transactions, including paying salaries, suppliers, and taxes.
5. Choose the right location
Dubai offers several options for businesses looking to set up their operations. The location you choose depends on the nature of your business, your budget, and your target market.
Mainland Dubai is the most popular location for businesses looking to set up their operations. It allows businesses to operate anywhere in Dubai and the UAE. Free zones in Dubai offer several advantages to businesses, including tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and a business-friendly environment. However, businesses in free zones are restricted to conducting business only within the free zone.
What else should you consider before setting up a business in Dubai?
Businesses in Dubai are required to follow the UAE Labor Law when hiring employees. The Labor Law provides several protections to employees, including minimum wage, working hours, and health and safety standards.
Foreign investors looking to hire employees in Dubai must obtain a labor card and work permit for each employee. As Dubai is a multicultural city, understanding cultural differences is essential for doing business. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken. It is important to understand local customs and etiquette when doing business in Dubai. For example, it is customary to exchange business cards when meeting someone for the first time.
If you're looking to set up your business in Dubai, then you'll need the help and support of a registration company in Dubai. At Time & Motion, we offer corporate PRO services to facilitate the smooth, swift and hassle-free process of relocating you, your employees, and your family to Dubai.
As an established and trusted PRO services business, Time & Motion is ready to become your company setup consultant in Dubai. Call us today for more information.