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  • Roadmap



    Step 1

    Choose an industry

    There are many industries in the UAE and plenty of opportunities for innovation. You might be tempted to jump ahead to the actual setup process straight away, however, we recommend that you decide on the nature of your business up front.

    In Dubai and the UAE, many locations only permit specific business activities. Be careful not to start a business in Dubai, only to realize that you can’t operate in your chosen location!

    Step 2

    Choose a location

    Having settled on an industry, your next big decision is whether to launch in the mainland or in a free zone. If you opt to set up in a free zone, you’ll benefit from:

  • 0% corporate and personal tax
  • 100% company ownership
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No currency restrictions, and
  • 100% import and export tax exemption

  • However, if you wish to trade directly with the local the UAE, you’ll need to work with a mainland company who will charge a fee.

    On the other hand, if you choose to set up in the mainland, you are free to trade directly with the local and international markets. However, for Professional services you will require a Local Service Agent who will charge a fee annually.

    Cmind provides mainland businesses with a Local Corporate Nominee Shareholder who will act as their local partner. This way, the foreign business owners can retain 100% operational and financial control over their mainland company.

    Step 3

    Choosing a company name in the UAE

    The UAE, the company name registration process requires that names adhere to certain naming stipulations. Aside from certain words and phrases that need to be avoided, there are several other key considerations to keep in mind. This is not to say it is a complicated process. In fact, most of the time selecting and registering your UAE company name is a very quick and smooth process. In this guide we present all you need to know when it comes to naming your UAE Company

    Step 4

    Complete the incorporation paperwork

    When considering how to start a business in Dubai, if you have made it this far, you are now past the most crucial decisions. At this stage, you will want to deal with the appropriate paperwork.
    You will be required to complete an application for your chosen company name and activity, to be provided along with copies of shareholders’... passports to the relevant government authorities. Some free zones will require additional documentation, such as a business plan or Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) – a letter from a current sponsor confirming that you are allowed to set up another business in the UAE.

    When you come to register your company in the UAE, you have to complete an application to register your chosen company name and activity, along with copies of shareholders’ passports.

    Mainland companies will be required to meet certain capital requirements, which must be stated in a Memorandum of Association.

    Checking and submitting your paperwork

    You need to contact the Department of Economic Development of your chosen emirate to register your business activity and trade name and then submit the required documentation. You can find links to the respective offices on the UAE government website, under Information and Services.

    Once your application has been processed, you will be issued with your company licence.

    Navigating the paperwork at this stage is perhaps the most arduous task you will have to tackle. While it might take you weeks to months to adequately understand and complete this stage of the process, assistance from C mind at this stage of the process is often invaluable. For anyone who is averse to monotonous, difficult paperwork with lots of fine details, we strongly recommend that you utilize our expertise. The money and time saved during this phase alone more than pays for itself.

    Step 5

    Apply for a license

    Once your application has been processed, the government will issue you with your company license. Regardless of setup location, you’ll usually only require a few standard documents: a completed application form, shareholder passport copies and the like. Some free zones may also require you to provide a business plan.

    Step 6

    Open a bank account

    Once your paperwork has been returned, you will have all the documentation you need to open your corporate bank account. The UAE is home to many banks, both local and international, including;

  • Emirates NBD
  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai
  • Noor Bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq, RAKBANK and Ajman Bank

  • There are also global names such as HSBC, Citibank and Barclays. Choosing the one that’s right for you will depend on your specific requirements.

    You will need a bank account before you can begin trading in the UAE.

    How to open a UAE business bank account

    It generally takes between two to four weeks to open a bank account in the UAE. The bank will want to know:
    Your primary business areas, Your anticipated volume of currency, Total deposits, Revenue levels and, Your main customers and suppliers.

    Once your paperwork has been returned from the government you will have all the documentation you need to approach the bank of your choice.

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    Step 7

    Apply for a visa

    Congratulations on making it this far! Applying for a visa is the final step on how to start a business in Dubai. Applying your own visa, as well as for staff and dependents, the exact number you can submit will depend on where you choose to set up your company Mainland or Free zone.

    If you are looking to obtain visas for your Spouse, Child, Maid or Driver, it is best to seek expert advice to ensure that both you and anyone you are hoping to sponsor for a visa meet all of the entry criteria.

    Assuming that this all checks out, the process is made up of four simple stages:
    Entry permit, Status change, Medical fitness test, Emirates ID registration and visa stamping

    There is no limit to the number of visas a mainland company can apply for, whereas free zone companies will have some restrictions, which vary from one free zone to another.

    Government Partnership

    Our network of government partners will expedite the process