Business Setup Dubai

What you need to know

Business Setup Dubai

How to establish a company in Dubai? Thousands of individuals pose this question each year, whether because they are private individuals seeking to reside and work in a location where others vacation, or because they represent an existing company aiming to establish operations there and capitalize on the country's tax advantages. All inquiries regarding "establishing a company in Dubai" are addressed on this page.

EmiratesSetup is one of the pioneering European agencies specializing in company formation in Dubai and holds official licensing as a corporate service provider. With a track record of founding approximately 700 companies in Dubai, we possess the experience and relevant expertise to ensure a seamless company formation process.

With EmiratesSetup's comprehensive service, you can expect transparency without hidden costs and no unpleasant surprises. We offer an all-encompassing, worry-free package, including the option for a guaranteed company account, if desired.

We are the best choice

Leading Agency for Business Setup in Dubai

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All you need to know!

BUSINESS SETUP DUBAI FREEZONE

This company form is intended for companies that want to use the tax advantages of Dubai or the UAE but do not plan to conduct business within the UAE. In Dubai there are over 30 free zones (free trade zones) where foreign companies can settle accordingly. In principle, almost all Freezones offer the same activities and it is therefore advisable to pay attention to price/performance and the reputation of the Freezone. Of course, we know exactly which free zone is best for you. You have a clear advantage when founding a company with us.

Low or Non-existent Taxation

Individuals are not subject to income tax, and businesses face a maximum tax rate of 9%, with an allowance of approx. 94,000 Euros and the possibility of complete tax exemption.

Minimal Accounting Requirements

Companies operating within the free zones are only required to maintain simplified accounting records (income and expenses) and submit annual financial statements or tax returns.

Enhanced Privacy and Data Protection

100% Privacy! Our partner freezones do not maintain publicly visible company registers, and registration is not mandatory but entirely optional.

Non-participation in CRS Data Exchange

If you possess a residence visa, our partner banks consider you a UAE resident, ensuring that your bank account remains exempt from reporting requirements.

No Mandatory Share Capital

There's no obligation to deposit or demonstrate share capital when establishing a Freezone company; this requirement exists solely on paper.

Real Estate Acquisition Opportunities

A Freezone company can not only acquire and manage real estate outside the UAE but also within the country, including areas like Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Streamlined Company Formation

Our Dubai-based experts will handle all formalities associated with company establishment, visa procedures, and the opening of bank accounts on your behalf.

Comprehensive Services in One Place

At EmiratesSetup, you can access a wide range of services if desired, including company formation, visa services, bank account setup, tax advice, annual financial statements, etc.

Ecxellent Service

100% RECOMMENDED

100% recommended! We come highly recommended by our customers! EmiratesSetup has been operating in the field of company formation since July 2017 and ranks among the top agencies in Dubai. To date, we have successfully assisted hundreds of companies and individuals in establishing businesses, obtaining residence visas, and opening both private and business accounts in Dubai.

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Business Setup Costs in Dubai

The costs for a company formation in Dubai depends on the respective activity, the free zone and last but not least on the required visa eligibilities. Costs for business setup in Dubai currently start at AED 14.900 (USD 3.800) without a visa or around AED 23.000 (USD 6.300) with 1 visa eligibility and including all costs for the first year.

The final costs of establishing a company in Dubai depend on several factors, including the specific free zone selected, the chosen business activities, and, importantly, the number of required visas. Additional considerations involve the number of shareholders and whether any of them are classified as corporate shareholders, meaning they represent a (foreign) company.


Package LIGHT | 0 Visa


  • Formation of the company - Freezone
  • Bank Information/Instructions
  • Corporate Account Service (from Freezone)


We take care of all the formalities for you, including the entire company formation, all costs are included.

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Package ECO | 1 Visa


  • Formation of the company - Freezone
  • 1 Visa Eligibility
  • Step-by-step guide for the visa process
  • Bank Information/Instructions


We take care of all the formalities for you, including the entire company formation and visa application, all costs are included.

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Package STANDARD | 1 Visa


  • Formation of the company - Freezone
  • 1 Visa Eligibility
  • Personal Accompaniment during the Visa Process
  • Whatsapp support for 6 months
  • Collection of Emirates ID
  • Corporate Account Opening Advise


We take care of all the formalities for you, including the entire company formation, visa application and providing you with bank account opening information. We will accompany you through the Visa Process with a personal assistant and driver. All costs are included.

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PACKAGE PREMIUM | 1 VISA


  • Formation of the company - Freezone
  • 1 Visa Eligibility
  • Personal Accompaniment during the Visa Process
  • Whatsapp support for 6 months
  • Collection of Emirates ID
  • Guaranteed Corporate Account Opening


We take care of all the formalities for you, including the entire company formation, visa application and providing you with guaranteed corporate account opening. We will accompany you through the Visa Process with a personal assistant and driver. All costs are included.

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company formation dubai
​100% tax free?

Really no taxes in Dubai?

Dubai is a city of superlatives and offers another priceless advantage for private individuals and companies (with special requirements): 100% tax exemption - there are currently no private taxes in Dubai.

A corporate tax was introduced in June 2023, but in principle only affects mainland companies. This means that companies in the UAE free zones can qualify for tax exemption, for which certain requirements must be met. In addition, it only applies to annual profits of more than AED 375,000 (approx. Euro 95,000), i.e. only profits above this exemption limit have to be taxed accordingly.

At the same time, salaries, office, telephone, etc. etc. can of course be claimed as expenses and accordingly reduce profits and therefore also reduce taxes. This means that if you live in the UAE, you can pay yourself a correspondingly high salary (no income tax) and thus reduce the corporate tax back to 0% in most cases.

In addition, if you have an annual turnover of no more than AED 3 million (approx. EUR 750,000), you can apply for a general exemption from this corporate tax. This general exemption is then valid until a maximum of December 31, 2026 and provided that the annual turnover does not exceed the limit of AED 3 million in any tax period.

What company suits me best?

Case Studies

EXAMPLE 1

You own several companies or assets in Europe or would like your new company in Dubai to become a shareholder in other companies in the future. But you don't want to move your residence to Dubai. You don't need a bank account either. The company serves the sole purpose of a holding company.

Company form: FreeZone company with 0 Visa


EXAMPLE 2

You run a marketing agency, an ECommerce store, etc. and with this company you mainly look after international customers. Since you can carry out your activities from anywhere, you want to relocate your company and possibly your residence to Dubai, but plan little or no customers in the UAE. A bank account is absolutely necessary.

Company form: FreeZone company with visa


EXAMPLE 3

You want to open a restaurant, beauty salon or any other service business in Dubai. Customers should be greeted on site in a shop or office. You also want to move to Dubai. A bank account is therefore of course absolutely necessary.

Company form: Mainland company with visa


EXAMPLE 4

You work in the financial industry, crypto or NFT sectors and accept foreign funds from others. You need comprehensive advice and a company account. As those activities are strictly regulated they require incorporation in designated freezones such as the DMCC, DIFC or ADGM.

Company form: Regulated FreeZone company with visa

BUSINESS SETUP IN DUBAI

MAINLAND COMPANY UAE

Probably the most popular and common form of company for companies that conduct most of their business within the United Arab Emirates is the Mainland Company. There are two basic subject areas under which all companies must be classified. On the one hand there is trade and industry (Commercial) and on the other hand there is the area of service and consultancy (Professional).

SOLE OWNERSHIP - NO LOCAL PARTNER REQUIRED
Nowadays it is possible to set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for most of the sectors and a local partner or local agent is not a requirement anymore throughout the UAE. The company can be solely owned (100%) by a foreign national.


Activity - Trade and Industry : Commercial
The trade and industry license includes activities related to trade and industry. The license for commercial activities includes, for example, general trading and car rentals. Industrial activities include the production and processing of food. This type of license no longer requires a local partner and is the most common business model to date. The legal form can be an LLC (limited liability company). The company is 100% foreign owned.

Examples: Food and Beverage Trade, E-commerce, Car and Motorbike Rental, Business Brokerage, Food Processing, etc.

Activity - Service and Consultancy : professional
This type of license no longer requires a local partner and has been rapidly growing in popularity in recent years as part of the migration wave that hit Dubai after the Corona Pandemic. The legal form can be an LLC (limited liability company). The company is 100% foreign owned.

Examples: Beauty Salon, Restaurant, Supermarket, Architect, Construction Company, Real Estate Agents, etc.

Advantages of a Mainland Company in Dubai

  1. very low corporate tax
  2. 100% ownership possible
  3. No income tax for UAE residents
  4. No share capital deposit necessary
  5. Unlimited Visa Eligibility
  6. Business relationships with all Emirati and GCC companies


The shareholders can be both, private individuals and/or foreign companies and an authorized signatory manager or director is required.

Costs for a mainland company in Dubai

The following cost breakdown refers to a Mainland Company formation including the license, virtual office space, one residence visa and all other related charges. In general, all the emirates, such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi, have quite similar rules and regulations regarding the establishment of a Mainland Company.

COST BREAKDOWN 1st YEAR
License Fee: around EURO 4000*
AoA, Establishment Card and Labor Card: EURO 700
Office contract: EURO 1800 (not applicable if you rent your own office)
Residence Visa: Euro 950 (2 years validity)
Emirates Setup Service Fee: from EURO 1500
TOTAL: FROM EURO 8950

*For General Trading activity, the authorities charge an additional fee of EURO 5000

COST BREAKDOWN 2nd YEAR
License Renewal Fee: around EURO 4000*
Office contract: EURO 1800 (not applicable if you rent your own office)
Emirates Setup Service Fee: from EURO 600
TOTAL: FROM EURO 6400

* Fees are dependent on the chosen activities and the nature of the business

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BUSINESS SETUP UP DUBAI

OFFSHORE COMPANY UAE

This form of company is currently still offered by many agencies. Since it is practically impossible to obtain a bank account for an offshore company, this form of company can actually be ruled out from the outset.

If you nevertheless decide on this form of company, please note the following:

- No residence visa authorization hence no corporate bank account - only suitable if one of the partners hold a valid Residence Visa and Emirates ID
- No business relationships with companies within the UAE

Important Information

Company Formation in Dubai

The cost of starting and running a business in Dubai depends on the visa eligibilities and the Freezone itself. There are significant price differences from Freezone to Freezone. There are currently almost 50 Freezones in the UAE, most of which share the same list of activities and offer similar packages. It is therefore difficult for potential owners to determine the right free zone.

Another factor that should not be underestimated is opening a company bank account. If you set up the company in one of the cheap free zones, problems are usually inevitable. It is very difficult or almost impossible to open a company bank account if you own a company in emirates like Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah or Sharjah.

If you form the company with us, you benefit from our many years of experience. We know how things work around a successful company setup. We make sure that you receive a company bank account by choosing the right Freezone and activity.

DUBAI FREEZONE NOW CHEAPER

Until recently, the company set-up costs in the Freezones in Dubai were more expensive compared to other Emirates. In order to save costs, one had to switch to the Emirates of Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah or Umm Al Quwain.

Most customers, however, still preferred a company address in Dubai as it is more prestigious and also the banking problem mentioned above, should not be underestimated.

Nowadays some of the Dubai Freezones have adjusted their prices and fees accordingly to be more competitive. This means that it is now possible to set up a company in Dubai at very comparable prices.

Our recommendation clearly goes into opening your company in a Freezone in Dubai, because the advantages are obvious. In addition to faster and easier processing of visa applications, opening a company bank account is easier in Dubai. The price differences between Dubai Freezones and a cheaper Emirate like Umm Al Quwain for example, are only marginal, but the advantages of a Dubai Freezone company are definitely given.

DUBAI FREEZONE - WHAT'S INCLUDED?

The prices always include the license (business license), office rental contract (flexi desk - cannot be used), establishment card, residence visa and our service costs.

The emirate in which you open your company generally has no influence on your future place of residence, since the visa is always valid for the entire emirate so if you open your company in Dubai, you can live in Abu Dhabi for example.

CAN I GET A BANK ACCOUNT WITH A FREEZONE COMPANY?

Although at the beginning of 2022 the requirements for opening a corporate bank account were tightened across the Emirates, it is still possible to do so, even with a Freezone company. Thanks to our excellent contacts and large network, we can ensure that you will get a company account. Our banking packages even come with a money-back guarantee.

However, the coveted account can only be obtained if one of the partners has a valid residence visa for the United Arab Emirates. Also the activity of the company has to be considered (we will advise you accordingly) and the nationality of the shareholder plays a role too. We will recommend a bank package to you, taking all this into consideration.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A RESIDENCE VISA?

If you want to live in the Emirates permanently or need a company bank account, then you need a so-called residence visa. This is a 2-year residency permit for the UAE. In the course of setting up the company, you acquire the corresponding eligibilities for a specified number of residence visas. Each visa eligibility costs around EUR 500 and includes the authorization to apply for a 2-year visa. In addition, the fees of the authorities have to be paid, which add up to around EUR 960.Service fee is not yet included.

The residence visa is valid for the entire Emirates and you also receive the so-called Emirates ID, comparable to an identity card from any other country worldwide. This allows you to live anywhere in the United Arab Emirates and is not limited to just one emirate. The bank account can also be opened at selected banks in the United Arab Emirates and is not limited to the emirate where your company is located.

DO I ACTUALLY HAVE TO LIVE IN DUBAI?

No, with this visa you are not obliged to live in the Emirates. It is sufficient if you enter the country every 6 months (employee Visa) or once a year (Investor Visa) so that the visa remains valid. There is also no obligation to register your place of UAE residence.

100% TAX FREE?
Dubai is a city of superlatives and offers another priceless advantage for private individuals: 100% tax exemption - there are currently no income taxes in Dubai. Only in August 2023 a low corporate tax of 9% was incorporated. However, it will not affect most of the small and medium sized businesses as there is a tolerance threshold of AED375,000 profit per year. If you stay below, you are exempt from this tax. You can also pay out employee salaries and shareholders dividends almost as you like. The corporate tax was implemented due to pressure from outside and the government is seeing this very relaxed. So it cannot be compared to the strictness of tax laws in other parts of the world! Most companies will still enjoy the freedom of not paying taxes.

VAT
There is also the value-added tax (VAT) for mainland companies, which is only 5% and is of course only a pass-through item for local companies. Companies in the free zone are not affected by the VAT unless their income generated with UAE clients exceeds AED375,000 per year.

Is a residence visa in Dubai necessary?
No, it is not mandatory to be a resident in the UAE to set up a company in Dubai. Depending on the type of company form and the respective license, there are different provisions. In principle, however, one person in the company needs residency and Emirates ID to set up a company corporate account.

Cost of starting a company?
The costs for company formation depends on the respective activity, the free zone and last but not least on the required visa authorizations. Currently, the prices for founding a Dubai company with 1 visa entitlement starts at around $5500 including all costs for the first year.

How long does it take to set up a company?
Once all the required documents and information has been collected, founding a company usually only takes 3 to 5 working days. You don't have to be physically present during the setup procedure. We are an official Freezone partner and can set up the company with your digital signature.

How long does the visa process take?
The visa process is started after the company is incorporated and the immigration card and e-permit are received and takes about 5 business days. For the issuance of the (digital) Emirates ID, you have to reckon with around 5-12 working days. After that a corporate bank account in the UAE can be opened.

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About us

Company formation agency in Dubai

EmiratesSetup is a service provided by The Austrians LLC, a Mainland LLC based in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, with offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The shareholders are Ms. Barbara Roessle and Mr. Gerhard Strasser. EmiratesSetup is one of the first European run agencies in the UAE and trusted partner since many years of almost all Freezones in the UAE.

The Commercial License number is CN-2167310 and can be verified on the DED website (https://www.adbc.gov.ae/).

100% recommendation from customers! EmiratesSetup is the first and leading local German-Speaking Agency. Since July 2016, we have been active in the field of company formation, and we have now successfully supported over a thousand individuals with company formation, residence visas and the opening of bank accounts in Dubai.