How to Setup Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Get noticed on a global level! Easily setup your business in Dubai as a foreigner.

Dubai is known as a business hub around the world, and it’s easy to see why! The city has a growing economy, there aren’t any taxes, and it offers a world-class infrastructure. But that’s just a few of the many reasons that entrepreneurs look for business setup in Dubai. The list of benefits for business owners is endless! While there are some restrictions in place for foreign investors, it’s still a pretty easy process to get your company up and running. If you are a foreigner looking to start your business in Dubai, we can help! Keep reading for more on what to expect and find out how MSZ Consultancy can help simplify the process.

We at MSZ Consultancy provide flexible setup solutions with end-to-end support to help your business grow in Dubai. We have custom packages for entrepreneurs, start-ups/SMEs, new businesses, and medium and large companies, helping them to save on business formation costs.

Steps involved to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner or an expat


Business Plan

It is not easy for a foreigner to start a business especially if it’s a whole new country. There is a lot of planning and preparations involved to set up your business. The first step is to have a business plan which includes all the basic structural format for your company. 


Obtain Visa in Dubai

The next step for starting a business in Dubai being a foreigner is to obtain a visa by consulting the local embassy.


Obtain a license

In order to set up your company in Dubai obtain the necessary license from the Department of Economic Development(DED). 

There are 3 types of business license:

  • Professional license
  • Commercial license
  • Industrial license

Documents Needed to Setup Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Here's a list of the common documents needed for Mainland business setup in Dubai:
Application form
Business plan
Colored copies of passports from the shareholders and appointed manager
Two years of financial reports
NOC from current sponsor

Take the Right Steps to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

The government in the UAE offers several incentives for business owners to setup their company in Dubai. One of the big benefits is that business formation is easy and quick. And if you’re unsure about doing the process on your own, there’s a wide variety of business setup services in Dubai that are offered, including the expert services from MSZ Consultancy.

Before you start setting up your business, you’ll want to apply for a Dubai visa. This will allow you to enter the country multiple times.

You’ll have to go through the Immigration Department and present them with:

  • Completed visa application
  • A set of color photographs
  • Your passport
  • Ticket details
  • Details on the purpose of your visit
  • Your business plan
  • Security amount
  • Bank statement
  • Other details may be required

When it comes to business formation, here are the steps you need to take:

1. Decide on a business entity

You will need to decide on what your business type will be. This will determine what type of business license you will require.

2. Choose a business name

The company name must reflect the nature of the business.

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3. Find a local partner

If you choose business setup in Dubai mainland, then you will need to find a local sponsor. The sponsor will hold the majority of interest in your company. You can skip this step if you plan on setting up your company in a Free Zone.

4. Get initial approval

Send in your application and supporting documents to get initial approval.

5. Draft your Memorandum of Association

The Memorandum of Association (MOA) is a document that governs the external activities of the company. This will have to be notarized in a Dubai court.

6. Make payment

After you have submitted all your documents you will get a payment voucher. You must pay for your license within 30 days of receiving the payment voucher.

7. Register your business

Register your business at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Keep in mind; there may be additional steps that are needed depending on your business activity.

Take the Right Steps to Start a Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Benefits of Setting up Business in Dubai as a Foreigner

Dubai has become a global trading hub with so many business opportunities. Here are a handful of reasons why foreign entrepreneurs should take part in this booming economy:

  • Dubai is in a strategic location serving as a gateway to both Africa and Asia.
  • World-class airports and seaports to do easy trading with the Middle East and Asia.
  • Companies in Dubai aren’t subject to corporate taxes, withholding tax, import or export taxes, and capital gains tax.
  • There are more than 66 international double tax avoidance treaties with major companies.
  • No exchange controls in place.
  • The economy is extremely diverse. Dubai no longer relies on petroleum or natural gas reserves and thrives on sectors like innovation, technology, trade, tourism, transportation, and more.
  • Dubai has a lower crime rate which makes it a great place to live and work.
  • Option to do business in the Free Zone areas. Free Zones offer 100% foreign ownership.
  • Doing business on the Mainland offers trade opportunities without any geographical barriers.
  • Pro-business government. The Department of Economic Development (DED) was developed to help establish businesses and support business ventures.

MSZ Consultancy is the Solution to Your Business Needs

Do you live outside of the UAE? Don’t let that scare you from starting your own business. You can be a successful foreign business owner with the help of an expert business setup company in Dubai like us! At MSZ Consultancy, we make business formation easy. That’s because we are experts in company formation in Dubai and are familiar with the process that you have to go through to create a company in this booming city. Don’t wait! Contact us today for a FREE consultation on how to start your dream business. You can chat with us online or give us a call at +971 52 544 1248.


We help with all aspects of business setup in UAE. We specialize in all forms of company formation, from trade licenses to finding a local sponsor; we can do it all! And after your company is formed, we are here to provide financial and legal suggestions that you need to keep your company flourishing.


We have a unique team of business setup consultants, lawyers, and PRO executives. So, we don’t just help with the company setup; we can also provide business advice, help with legal paperwork, help you set up your bank account, and anything else that your business may need. Simply put – we do everything we can to make your business life easier!


With MSZ Consultancy, you won’t find a business setup company in Dubai that provides better customer service. We offer innovative services that are tailored to fit your exact needs. We are also one of the few consulting companies in Dubai that provides valuable insights to customers to help them with a successful business journey.

100% ownership of the business

Setting up a business in the UAE gives you the benefit of owning your business 100%

Most affordable free zone company setup option in the UAE

Starting a business in Dubai has the benefit of being surrounded by free zones where the company setup is easy and every free zone has its own benefits.

No paid-up share capital required

There is no paid-up share capital required for starting a business in Dubai

Taxation benefits

In Dubai, be it any type of company it enjoys the preference of tax-free haven, which is one of the major reasons for a foreigner to start a business in the UAE

Strategic geographic location

Dubai’s location is advantageous for its located between Asia, China, and Africa all of which are major business hubs.

Excellent Infrastructure

Dubai’s infrastructure is first class. Its innovations, road networks, telecommunications are best which attracts foreigners all over the world


Ample availability of human resource

Foreign startups are fond of Dubai due to its liberal labor laws. As a result, human resource availability is also very efficient. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of license would I need for my business setup in Dubai?

There are several different types of licenses that are available for business in Dubai. Commercial, industrial, and professional business licenses are the most common. The type of license you need will depend on the type of business activity you plan on doing. Here’s an example of some business activities that fall under these licenses:

Commercial license:

  • Advertising
  • Insurance
  • Real estate
  • Investment
  • Shipping

Industrial license:

  • Appliances and machinery manufacturing
  • Meat processing
  • Food industries
  • Glass industries
  • Steel workshop

Professional license:

  • Salons
  • Legal services
  • Medical clinic
  • Cleaning services
  • Event organizers

What does business setup in Dubai cost?

Dubai is known for its low cost of doing business.  While the price can vary, the standard range for a trade license is AED 15,000 to AED 25,000. One thing that can play a big role in causing the price of your business setup to go up is the location of your company. It is more expensive to setup company on the mainland compared to the free zone. Your office space can also play a huge factor in the cost, especially if you opt for a co-working space rather than rent an entire office.

How do I choose my business name?

There are several things to take into consideration when choosing your business name:

  • The name cannot violate public morals or public order of the country
  • The business name must be followed by a legal form such as LLC or FZE
  • The name can’t be one that was previously registered
  • Must be compatible with the type of business you are doing and the legal status
  • Can’t contain any names of religions or governing authority
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