Dubai is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and the government of the Emirate is actively encouraging entrepreneurs and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to set up businesses. The government here offers a supportive environment for innovative and creative companies. Corporate real estate is rising in price and any real estate agency in Dubai in 2023 experiences an overwhelming demand for office spaces. With flexible policies, beneficial initiatives, and access to a vast market, the emirate can be a great place to set up your business, and here’s why.

Set up a company as a foreigner 

Dubai is a hub for business and entrepreneurship, and its government offers many initiatives to support SMEs and entrepreneurs. There are many interesting facts about Dubai you will love. It has an environment innovative companies can only dream about and offers flexible policies, beneficial initiatives, and access to a vast market.

Here are some first steps one should take to set up an enterprise in the UAE’s emirate:

You need to decide on the nature of your enterprise and what type of license you need to apply for. 

You can choose between two structures, a sole establishment or a limited liability company. The structure of your business will depend on the type of activity and your preference.

When choosing a name, it must meet certain criteria and should have nothing to do with religion. You should offer at least three name options for consideration.

Documents to register a company

As in any other country of the world, the emirate’s government has a certain procedure one must follow. Here are some steps you need to take to get your documents ready:

The DED will prepare a Memorandum of Association (MOA) or a Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA) based on the information you provide.

In order to complete the registration of your company, you will need to submit a lease agreement – Ejari. You can rent or purchase real estate – office, manufacturing or warehouse premises, business center, or showroom in any place of your choice in the Emirate. There are many options to choose from, you can consult experts on the official website.

Depending on the type of business you plan to start, you may need additional permits from state authorities. These permits could include those related to construction, catering, food, insurance, education, legal services, health care, public transportation, and automobiles.

After completing the previous steps, you can obtain a business license from the service centers of the Economic departments or through their websites.

Once you have a business license, you are eligible to apply for an investor visa, which will allow you to obtain an immigration card.

Note that you will need all the aforementioned documents plus a copy of your passport to register a corporate bank account. Ask about additional documents, the bank of your choice might require beforehand.

Own commercial property in Dubai

Dubai’s laws permit non-UAE and non-GCC nationals, as well as companies, to purchase a freehold property, a long lease, or a usufruct right up to 99 years in Designated Areas. The Designated Areas are the only places where foreigners are allowed to own commercial properties. This means that not all properties are available for sale to foreigners. 

The kind of property that foreigners can buy depends on the type of company and place of incorporation. Offshore companies incorporated in RAKICC and JAFZA are now permitted to own property in Designated Areas. Meanwhile, onshore companies incorporated in Dubai, such as LLCs and Private Joint Stock Companies, with non-UAE or GCC shareholders can buy property in the same areas. Free zone companies are also allowed to own property in the Designated Areas, with various free zones included. 

Foreign investors can take advantage of the metropolis’ booming real estate industry and own commercial property in the designated areas, provided they comply with the legal requirements set by the government.