How to obtain a business license in the UAE

A license is required to conduct business in the UAE. Let's look at the process step by step.

Step 1

Firstly, determine where to register a company: on the mainland or in one of the free economic zones (freezone). Companies registered in the mainland can conduct business both within the UAE and abroad, while in the freezone, they can operate within their free zone and on the international market.

Step 2

Rent an office for a year and obtain a legal address. If you are searching for an office in Dubai, consider Richman House Business Center. Situated in the picturesque Business Bay area within the renowned Opus by Omniyat building, the business center offers office spaces ranging from 11 sq.m to 180 sq.m for the duration needed to acquire a license.

The authenticity of an office lease transaction is confirmed through Ejari, an electronic registration system that generates an official record of the lease agreement at no cost.

Step 3

For those opting to establish a company in the mainland, a set of documents must be compiled, submitted to the Department of Economic Development (DED), and associated fees paid. The required documents include:

• Personal passports, copies of passports, and visas of all company managers

• Office space lease agreement, along with Ejari registration

• Memorandum

Step 4

Upon submission of your application, await a response, the duration of which depends on the DED's workload.

Step 5

If the application is accurately completed, you will receive a confirmation. Thoroughly review all information and, if any errors are identified, promptly contact the DED for rectification.

Post obtaining the license, an Establishment Card must be acquired, which serves as the basis for obtaining subsequent documents such as a resident visa, Emirates ID, and Labor Card.

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