Steps To Starting A Business In Dubai

How to start a business in Dubai with no money as a foreigner! Dubai city of United Arab Emirates is popular as the global ‘City of Opportunity With Robust Economy.’ The city has been making waves in all ramifications particularly on global stage. Dubai has been ranked number 1 city in terms of airport connectivity to business districts and also the 5th most affordable city in the world back in 2014. Following the PWC report, the state ranks 1st for the lowest corporate tax rate globally, and finishes 10th in the cost of living index. The country also ranks 17th in the cost of business occupancy, and this goes to tell us that the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates is one wonderful city to reckon with.

Hitherto, Dubai’s economy was initially built on revenues from the oil industry before the paradigm shift to tourism which is now the mainstay of the economy. Thanks to the visionary Rulership of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoun who stirred the mainstay of Dubai’s economy from oil to tourism by using the proceeds gotten from the limited crude oil deposit to carry out the financing of massive infrastructural developments. Today Dubai is skyscraper-studded and boasts as a place with the world’s tallest standing  structure, the Burj Khalifa. Currently, revenue from petroleum and natural gas currently account for less than 2% of the emirate’s gross domestic product. Massive infrastructures in Dubai has brought the city of Dubai to limelight. It is Now the go-to destination for tourism , business, and holiday vacation. Following the influx of people of different race, religion, culture and walks of live who are primarily business men/women, artisans, and economic migrants, the Dubai emirate became important ports of call for Western manufacturers. To accomodate all the people coming into Dubai for various businesses, United Arab Emirates, UAE has focused its economy on tourism by building hotels and developing real estate. Dubai is not giving up on IT, for the city is also increasingly developing as a hub for service industries such as IT and finance, with the new Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).


Generally speaking, the United Arab Emirates economy is resilient and can adapt to changes to market dynamics, open new frontiers, and diversity thanks to the country’s strong infrastructure, technology, and logistics. The UAE seeks to create new sustainable and competitive economic models and adopt more flexible approaches that boost cooperation between the public and private sector. No matter where you want to do business in the United Arab Emirates, be it in Dubai or outside of the state, starting a business in Dubai is a very encouraging decision from the entrepreneur’s point of view.

Follow This Procedure To Start A Business In Dubai With No Money

Now on how to start a business in Dubai, we are to follow a few steps. Dubai is an investor-friendly world class city. Starting a business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates only includes a few registration and documentation. However, we are not gonna go deep. Below are some basics to starting a business in Dubai.

Steps On How To Start Business In Dubai With No Money, and Basic Procedures

The following list hereunder encompasses the basics of setting up a business in Dubai’s Free Zone. However, the process for setting up a business outside of the free zone is fairly similar, so these steps here should still be applicable.

1. Choose three preferred names for your business

When setting up your business in Dubai as a foreigner, the first move is to make an online application to that effect. In the online application form, you’ll be asked to list three preferred names for your new business. The DMCC will then try to secure your first choice name, and will also do the necessary research to make sure that the name isn’t already in use.

However, if they find out that the name has been taken, they will secure your second or third choice name for you. It’s important to note that your business/company’s name will always end in “DMCC”, and should you open a branch office the name will end in “DMCC Branch” also.

2. Submit documents for pre-approval

Next step! You’ll now have to submit the required documents for pre-approval. For each and every proposed shareholder, manager, secretary, director, or legal representative, you’ll need the following documents for pre-approval:

  • Know Your Client (KYC) form
  • Letter of No Objection from any sponsors or patrons
  • Passport and Emirate ID (if UAE resident, the passport visa page, as well)
  • Proof of permanent residential address (generally a recent utility bill or a letter from one’s banker)
  • Business Plan (if required for your business’ activities)
  • If a consultant is acting on your behalf in Dubai: Consultant’s Appointment Letter
  • Power of Attorney (if consultant has been given this power)
  • Payment for name registration (AED 1000)

Note: This pre-approval process generally takes anywhere between 7 working days and one month.

3. Submit registration documents

After your documents have been pre-approved, you’ll have to submit additional documents for registration: For each and every proposed shareholder, manager, secretary, director, or legal representative, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Specimen signature form signed in the presence of a DMCC Member Service Executive or notarized in one’s home country.
  • Passport to be reviewed by DMCC Member Service Executive or notarized in one’s home country (if UAE resident, will also need the passport visa page)
  • Shareholders’ resolution (generated by the DMCC portal and signed in the presence of a DMCC Member Service Executive or notarized in a UAE embassy)
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (generated by the DMCC portal and signed in the presence of a DMCC Member Service Executive or notarized in one’s home country)
  • Undertaking Letter to Comply with the DMCC’s Requirements (generated by the DMCC portal for the license manager to sign and upload)
  • 3rd party approvals from relevant authorities (only applies to certain activities)
  • Auditor appointment letter (optional)
  • Payment, the amount of which will be calculated by the DMCC based on your previously submitted documents.

After you’ve submitted all of the needed vital documents, the DMCC will issue you a Provisional Approval and Bank Letter.

4. Business Location

Once you have your legal procedures and forms ready to go, you can now shortlist some offices with their costs and other details. This would mean a clear path forward once you get your legal formalities out of the way. In free zones, you will get assistance to find premises suitable to your requirement along with help to set up electricity, internet, water and other amenities.

5. Rules on Employees

In most legal forms of the DED, you need to hire a manager to oversee operations and have him ready to be on board before your registration is approved. But in other cases, you may not be allowed to hire at all. For example, Intelaq license holders (license for home-based Emirati business owners) are not allowed to hire staff, but can engage contractors. For free zones, each zone has its own specific regulations regarding the structure of business.

Finally, you can also check out this table below depicting steps on how you can start a business in dubai with no money, or with money.


                          Time               Cost
Reserve a company name and Apply for registration at the Department of Economic Development (DED)    1 dayAED 110 for initial approval + AED 210 for name reservation
Notarize the company’s Memorandum of Association at DED      1 day0.25% of the capital (for 3 copies of the Memorandum of Association), AED 5 for each page of the additional copy
File company documents with the Department for Economic Development (DED); Obtain trade license and Register for membership at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI)     3 days 
Apply for the establishment card at the Ministry of Labor      1 dayAED 2,000
Register native workers with the Ministry of Labor      1 dayNo charge
Register native workers with the General Authority for Pension and Social Security     1 dayNo charge

When you are done, then you can go ahead to start your business and excel without harassments from government officials.

Follow our social media handles for more fun