Starting a Business in Dubai As a Foreigner : Complete Guide 2024

Strat a business in dubai as a foreigen

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Starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner can be an exciting opportunity. Dubai is a vibrant city famous for its welcoming and business-friendly environment. It attracts people from all over the world for business, investment, and family life. Out of its 3.3 million population, there are over 2 million expatriates.

Its straightforward immigration process and visa laws make it easy for foreigners to settle here. Moreover, as a major business hub, Dubai offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to prosper. Dubai has everything you need if you want to start a new business or run your current company remotely.

If you are a foreigner and want to do business in the UAE, then explore how foreign entrepreneurs can start this journey.

Can Foreigners Start a Business in Dubai?

Yes, foreigners can start a business in Dubai with 100% ownership.

The economy is stable in Dubai, which offers growth opportunities as well. Low corporate tax rate mean more earnings for business owners.

The government supports entrepreneurship with incentives. On a personal level, Dubai offers a high standard of living, exclusive healthcare, many amenities, and safety. Its diverse and vast population welcomes people from over 200 countries.

The government encourages foreigners to invest, so there are few business restrictions. However, the process can be complex, especially for those unfamiliar with UAE systems. For this, you can ask RFZ Corporate Service Provider anytime for assistance.

Things to Consider When Starting a Business in Dubai

things to consider before starting a business in dubai

1. Legal Structure

Before you start a business in Dubai as a foreigner, choose how you want to set up your business legally. You can choose from options like being the sole owner or partnering with someone. This depends on what your business does, its goals, and how it works.

You can form a limited liability company (LLC) or set up a branch of a foreign company. Most foreign investors go for an LLC, so this is one of the things that should be considered.

2. Jurisdiction

In Dubai, you can start your business on the mainland or in one of the many free zones. If you are a foreigner starting a business in Dubai, you might wonder about the difference between the mainland and free zones.


Running a company on Dubai Mainland lets you do business locally and internationally. Setting up your company is smooth and straightforward. You can get your business license in just a week.

Free Zone

Starting a business in free zones is often a great choice, especially for new ventures. Some of the well-known free zones in Dubai include

However, the rules and timeline for setting up free zone companies may differ from one free zone to another because each has its governing authority.

3. Market Research

Before starting a business in Dubai, it is important to do thorough market research. This means understanding whether there is a demand for your product or service. There are different rules for every specific business. You should also learn about local preferences, cultural differences, and your competitors.

4. Taxation

Unlike other countries, Dubai offers great tax benefits. Understand the tax implications of doing business in Dubai. The 2 major types of taxes include VAT (Value Added Tax), which has a standard rate of 5%. The other tax is Corporate Tax, which is 9%, which a business has to pay if the profit exceeds AED 375,000/-.

5. Networking

Investing time in networking is key to success in Dubai business community. Attend industry events, join business associations, and use social platforms to connect with potential partners, suppliers, and customers. Building connections can open up opportunities and help your business thrive.

How to start a business in Dubai as a Foreigner?

How to start a business in Dubai

As a foreigner, getting a business license in Dubai is necessary. If you are planning to start a business, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Type

Before starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner, deciding the type of business you want to build is important. Your decision will determine the structure of your company. You can opt for a sole proprietorship, where you are the business’s sole owner. Instead, you can create an LLC. It is the most common choice in Dubai and gives your business its legal identity.

Step 2: Choose a Trading Name

Reserve a trade name before registering your company. Your company name should reflect the nature of your business. When selecting a name, ensure it has not been registered before and doesn’t offend public sentiments. Also, make sure it aligns with your business activities.

Step 3: Obtain a License

As a foreigner starting a business in Dubai, obtaining a license is a must. You can get a trade license from the relevant free zone authorities or the Department of Economic Development (DED). Or let the RFZ Corporate Service Provider handle the legal requirements for you so you can enjoy the smooth process.

Step 4: Business registration

After completing the necessary steps, you can register your business with the relevant jurisdiction and begin your operations in the UAE. Once registered, your business becomes a legal entity in Dubai.

Step 5: Apply Visa/Residency

A business visa enables easy travel in and out of the country for business purposes. Expats looking to start a business in Dubai can obtain long-term visas for themselves and their dependents. Moreover, anyone wanting to move to the UAE to establish a business can apply for a business visa.

Step 6: Corporate Bank Account

Opening a bank account is another important step in starting a business. This is a necessary part of the process of starting your business as a foreigner. RFZ Corporate Service Provider can assist in the process.

How much does it cost to open a company in Dubai?

How much does it cost to start a business in Dubai

The cost of starting a company in Dubai as a foreigner can depend on factors like the type of business and location. Generally, you can expect company registration, types of business licenses, visas, and office space expenses.

In free zones, costs might include registration, yearly license, and visa fees. Mainland companies may require additional expenses like office rent. It is necessary to budget for government fees and legal assistance.

Business setup in Dubai can involve low to high costs. To take an estimation of your business setup cost, check our cost calculator.

Benefits of Starting a Business in Dubai As a Foreigner

Following are the benefits of starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner:

  1. 100% Business Ownership
  2. Tax Benefits
  3. Strategic Location
  4. Business-Friendly Environment
  5. Stable Economy
  6. Global Business Hub
  7. Infrastructure and Facilities
  8. Quality of Life

1. 100% Business Ownership

Dubai recently changed its ownership laws to allow 100% foreign ownership of a company. No matter what nationality you have. This means foreign business owner from anywhere can fully own their business in Dubai.

2. Tax Benefits

One of the most appealing aspects of doing business in Dubai is its favorable tax system. The low corporate rate means businesses can keep a larger portion of their profits. This improves their bottom line and makes them more competitive in terms of capital and profit.

3. Strategic Location

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Dubai provides unmatched access to key markets covering three continents. Its strategic location makes it an ideal hub for businesses expanding internationally or entering emerging markets.

4. Business-Friendly Environment

The Dubai government actively promotes an environment favorable to foreign investment and entrepreneurship. It regularly introduces initiatives and reforms meant to simplify business processes, cut down bureaucracy, and boost investor confidence.

5. Stable Economy

Even in the middle of global economic uncertainties, Dubai economy stays strong and diverse. Dubai has solid economic foundations. The government helps keep finance, tourism, real estate, and technology sectors stable and growing.

6. Global Business Hub

Dubai holds many global events, exhibitions, and conferences all year. These gatherings help you meet people worldwide who could be partners, investors, or customers for your business. They’re great for networking and getting your business known in the market.

7. Infrastructure and Facilities

Dubai prides itself on world-class infrastructure, featuring modern airports, seaports, roads, telecommunications networks, and business parks. These facilities support efficient operations, logistics, and connectivity, allowing businesses to flourish in a vibrant and fast-paced environment.

8. Quality of Life

Living in Dubai is great because you get superior healthcare, education, housing, and fun things to do. It is a mix of different cultures, with lots of different foods to try and exciting things to see and do. This makes it a popular choice for people moving from other countries, along with their families.


Dubai offers many business opportunities and a great lifestyle for people. With its strong economy and diverse population, it is a hub for international trade and investment. Starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner is a great idea.

The government supports businesses by making it easy to set up and operate, and there are many events to help them grow. People living in Dubai enjoy excellent healthcare, education, housing, and fun activities. The city’s multicultural environment and exciting attractions make it a popular choice for expatriates and their families.

Overall, Dubai is a combination of business-friendly policies, a thriving economy, and a high quality of life. This makes it a fantastic place to live, work, and do business.

Starting a business in Dubai as a foreigner can be overwhelming, but with the right support from professionals, the process can be made significantly easier.

For a free consultation, contact us at +971 4 589 0815. You can also send us a WhatsApp message at +971 4 589 0815 or email your questions to We are here to assist you!

Umber Awan
Umber Awan

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