How to Start a Startup in Dubai for a Non-UAE Resident?
setting up business in UAE

Over the years, Dubai has become a top choice for entrepreneurs who are planning on setting up business in UAE. Thanks to 0% tax rate, straightforward incorporation procedures, and strategic location, as well as allowing foreigners to own 100% of their businesses (in most cases) a lot of foreign investors are choosing the city for starting new business ventures and/or expanding their existing businesses.

The incorporation procedures may be simple, but there are still several conditions and requirements that business owners/investors, especially non-UAE residents, must meet before they can start setting up a business.

Can non-UAE residents start a business in Dubai?

In most cases, foreigners are allowed to start and own 100% of their business as long as it is established within the free zone. Depending on the guidelines or requirements implemented in certain locations, foreign investors may start a business in the UAE as long as they have shareholders who are UAE residents. If you are not familiar with the laws and requirements in setting up a business in Dubai as a non-UAE resident, you may consult with services providers who specialize in setting up startup businesses in Dubai.


What are the options for establishing a business in Dubai?

Free zone companies

If you’re a non-UAE resident considering a new business setup in Dubai, it may be more beneficial for you to establish your business within the free zone. This way, you can enjoy all the benefits mentioned above as long as you follow the meet all the requirements and acquire all licenses needed to start your operations legally. While there are several requirements that you must meet, the process for acquiring the permits and licenses is simpler compared to other business types.

Mainland companies

There are certain limitations for establishing businesses in the mainland and the requirements are often more complicated compared to starting a business in the free zone. If the plan is to start a mainland business setup Dubai, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the standard type of company in the UAE mainland. Unlike the free zone companies, there are no restrictions on where LLCs can conduct their business activities. However, at least 51% of the shares of LLC companies must be registered to a UAE national sponsor or a local partner. Business partnership in Dubai is becoming more common as global businesses try to grow their networks by working with local and international brands who share a common goal/interest.

If you need legal advice or services to set up your business in Dubai, Austria Business Center offers a range of business solutions and legal services to assist you in acquiring all requirements and completing legal procedures so you can start your operations as soon as possible.


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