Answering Your Questions About Business Setup in Dubai

Starting a business in Dubai

You have made the right decision in choosing Dubai as your business destination. The city’s geographic location, global reputation, robust infrastructure, and excellent government support has made it an attractive place to conduct business around the world.

We are here to answer all your questions about the business setup process in Dubai. We will answer all your questions about business setup in Dubai and introduce you to a world of opportunities with IFZA, Dubai’s acclaimed International Free Zone Authority.

Free Zone or Mainland?

“Free Zones” and “Mainland” are terms anyone researching setting up a business in Dubai will come across. The two refer to the types of economic zones in which you can set up a business in the UAE. They differ in many aspects, including ownership and business scope (where the company can conduct business within the UAE).

Free Zone

If you choose to launch your business within a Free Zone you can utilize 0% business and personal tax, 100% exemption on import and export tax, unrestricted foreign currency exchanges, and cost-effective, simplified processes. Without the need for a local sponsor, you will acquire 100% ownership of the company. Your company will be authorized to conduct business only within the jurisdiction of the free zone.

Free Zone companies with basic visa allocation are not required to have offices in the area; they can operate through virtual offices.

Mainland

Before, mainland or onshore company owners were required to partner with a local sponsor, where they acquired 49% of the business, and the sponsor owned 51% of the company. But amendments were introduced in 2021, permitting 100% ownership with a condition of partnering with a local service agent.

 If you choose to set up a mainland business, you can trade directly with local and international markets, and a mainland company will charge fees to facilitate this.

It is mandatory to provide office space of a minimum of 200 sq. ft for each employee to operate as a mainland company in Dubai.

Does the Industry I Choose Affect My Business Setup Process?

Yes, deciding your business industry and business activities ahead is important before starting the process of company formation in Dubai.

In the UAE, some areas authorize specific business activities. You must ensure the location you have decided on permits the business activities of your company before going through the procedures of business setup in Dubai.

There are two types of business activities:

Regulated activities: they are business activities that require approvals from specific government authorities, e.g., financial and banking institutions.

Non-Regulated: these refer to business activities that do not require the approval of any external regulatory authorities.

IFZA is one of the Free Zones in Dubai that offer diversity in business activities.

Are There Any Company Name Restrictions?

Whether you have picked or are still thinking about your business name, there are a few things to consider. Your business name must not contain any indecent language or refer to any political or religious groups, nor can it use Allah’s name or refer to one of his divine attributes.

If the business is named after a person, only shareholders’ names can be used; using initials is not allowed. The name must not match the names of previously registered businesses, government entities, or world-renowned companies.

Your business name cannot begin with the words: “international,” “global,” or “Middle East,” nor should it be translated or contain any special characters, e.g., comma (,), slash (/), or “&” is excluded from the special characters rule. Also, the name must not contradict the nature of the business activity.

Should I Be in Dubai to Proceed with the Company Formation Process?

If you choose IFZA as your economic zone for your business setup in Dubai it can be done remotely. First, our Professional Partners will contact you via email or consult with you at our office. Upon your discussion with them you will be sent a proposal with the following details:

  • Type of License
  • Business Activities
  • Visa Package
  • Office Solutions

Our license options are meant to meet the different needs of all businesses, from local ventures to large international businesses. We offer the following options:

Professional license: it is meant for businesses offering professional consultancy and multiple types of services, e.g., technical or retail.

Commercial license: grants authorization to import, export, distribute, and store specified items.

Industrial license: authorize the import of raw material, manufacturing, processing, packaging, and exporting of specified products.

Branch registration: foreign incorporated companies are allowed to register a branch at IFZA Dubai.

We achieve flexibility by allowing companies to combine professional, commercial, and industrial business activities under one license.

I Am Setting up a Business at IFZA; What’s the Procedure?

With IFZA, you will enjoy a fast and efficient Free Zone company establishment and world-class access to global markets to embark on your journey to success and growth in no time.

The first step is consultation, where you will discuss your business requirements with our multinational, multilingual team who can advise on thousands of business activities determine your proposal which will include license type, business activities, visa package, and office solutions. As we mentioned above, this can be done via email, phone, or at our office in Dubai.

For the company formation document requirement, you will need to submit the following:

  • License application form (including Ultimate Beneficial Ownership information)
  • Passport copy
  • Digital passport photo
  • Emirates ID and visa copy for UAE residents (If applicable)

Then, the IFZA support team will register the documents on the registration portal. Upon approval, two e-legal forms will be issued to be signed before the issuance of incorporation documents.

Finally, a soft copy of the license will be sent via email, and the original copy will be available for pick up from the IFZA office.

Are you ready to partner with Dubai’s leading free zone, where you will experience premium standard business setup solutions through its network of Government Authorities and Professional Partners business setup with easy access to global markets and convenient business formation and administration services?

We pave the way to prosperity and provide you with the guidance of professional multinational business setup consultants. Contact us today to learn more about company incorporation with IFZA.

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BIZ FOR GOOD – A PITCH VLOG COMPETITION powered by IFZA in collaboration with Nikon ME, Rove Hotels and letswork

 

OFFICIAL RULES

ENTRY IS FREE. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO ENTER OR WIN. ENTRANTS MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE AT TIME OF ENTRY. THIS CONTEST IS INTENDED FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) ONLY AND WILL BE GOVERNED BY APPLICABLE UAE LAWS. 

  1. The organizer of BIZ FOR GOOD – A PITCH VLOG COMPETITION (“Competition”) is INTERNATIONAL FREE ZONE AUTHORITY FZCO (“IFZA Dubai” or “IFZA”). The Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with either Face
  2. book, Instagram and LinkedIn. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are hereby completely released of all liability by each Entrant in this Competition.
  3. The Competition is open to individuals (“Entrants”) aged 21 and older at the time of entry who have a personal Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn account and are residents in the UAE. Employees of IFZA or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
  4. The Competition will start on 17 October 2021 and will end on 5 December 2021.
  5. To enter the Competition, Entrants must complete the following steps:
    1. Sign up to the competition on the official portal, ifza.com/bizforgooduae
    2. Upload your video to the Entrant’s Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts (which must be set to Public) with the following details:
  1. Add Biz for Good UAE to the title of the video
  2. Add Entrant’s name, your Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn account URL, and the hashtags #BizforGoodUAE.
  • Follow and tag the organizer (IFZA) and all partners (Nikon MEA, Rove Hotels and letswork) to qualify. 
  1. The accounts must be set to Public. The video should contain the Entrant’s pitch for a business idea.
  1. Submitted videos could be taken with any video recording device. Once posted, Entrant’s videos must remain on Entrant’s account until the end of the Competition Period set out at Rule 3 above, otherwise Entrant’s entry will not be judged and Entrant will not be eligible to win.
  2. Uploading a video according to Rule 4 above and entering the Competition signifies that the Entrant has accepted and is bound by these Competition Official Rules.
  3. There is no limit to the number of videos that Entrant can upload to participate, but each video must be unique and comply with these Competition Official Rules.
  4. Video(s) may be modified with any image editing software or programs. Entrant guarantees that video enhancement was made using legally acquired software.
  5. Video submissions:
    1. must be in the English language or accompanied with an English translation;
    2. may not be inappropriate, offensive, libelous or defamatory, pornographic, sexually explicit, unlawful or plagiarized, as determined by IFZA in its sole discretion;
    3. must be in accordance with prevailing UAE laws, ordinance, or regulation
    4. may not infringe upon any person’s personal or property rights or any other third party rights;
    5. may not contain commercial or corporate advertising,
    6. may not use any watermarks or distinguishing artist marks (such as signatures); and
    7. may not violate the terms of service of Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn
  6. On or about 6 November 2021, IFZA will start reviewing all eligible video entries submitted through Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn during the Competition Period. 20 Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges set by IFZA including at least one independent judge on the basis of the judging criteria. Judges’ decision will be final and binding and cannot be appealed. The videos will be judged, at IFZA’s sole discretion, based on the following criteria
    1. BUSINESS IDEA – 40%
    2. SOCIAL RELEVANCE – 30%
    3. CREATIVE PRESENTATION – 20%
    4. VISUAL/EMOTIONAL IMPACT – 10%
  7. On or about 16 November 2021, shortlisted entries will be contacted using Entrant’s Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts by IFZA Dubai’s official accounts. Each shortlisted Entrant will be required to respond via email and (i) submit the file of the shortlisted video; and (ii) submit the Entrant’s name, contact number and address. Any potential winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility, a liability release and/or a publicity release. Failure to comply when requested may result in disqualification.

If a potential winner does not respond and comply with the instructions within 2  days, or if the data reveals that the video does not comply with these Official Rules, the Entrant will not be eligible to receive the prize and an alternative winner will be selected.

  1. On or about 16 November, 20 shortlisted entries will be invited to create their final pitch to market their business idea and product/service to their target audience. Training sessions which will be organized by IFZA Dubai and the Competition Partners at the Rove Hotels on or about 19-20 November 2021. Attendance to these sessions are not required but highly encouraged.
  2. PRIZE Three winners will each receive
    1. IFZA Business License with 1 Visa Allocation
      1. IFZA Business Startup Support
      2. FlexiDesk
      3. Mentoring
      4. Website and Marketing Assistance
    2. Financial support of up to USD5,000
    3. Use or Rove meeting rooms (up to 10x)
    4. Letswork membership (3 months)
  1.  

The prize does not include other costs payable in relation to the winner’s establishment card, any status change fees, or the costs for medical tests and issuance of Emirates ID Card. The prize also does not include costs and processes related to securing third party government approval, should it be required based on the winner’s proposed business activities.

IMPORTANT: IFZA has no responsibility for a winner’s inability or failure to accept or utilize a prize as described herein. The prize is non-transferable nor convertible to cash. If a potential winner is found to be ineligible, is not in compliance with these Competition Rules, does not respond to the email in a timely manner, is disqualified or forfeits prize for any reason, or declines to accept the prize, IFZA reserves the right to award the prize to an alternate entrant who will also be selected per the judging criteria from all remaining non-winning entries received during the Competition Period.

  1. Finalists will be contacted on or about 9 December 2021 via private message.
  2. The winners will be announced in an event on 10 December 2021 at a specified venue in Dubai.
  3. Acceptance of prizes shall constitute consent on the winner’s part to allow IFZA & its representatives use of the winner’s name, image and/or likeness by IFZA for editorial, advertising, promotional, marketing and/or other purposes without further compensation or review except where prohibited by law.
  4. By entering videos into the Competition, the Entrant warrants that:
    1. the submitted videos comply fully with terms of service/use for Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn and the Competition rules
    2. the permission has been obtained (and a copy will be provided to IFZA promptly upon request) to use the image and any other personal information of any person included in any of the submitted videos in accordance with these Official Rules; and
    3. the appropriate licenses, permissions and/or releases have been obtained (and a copy will be provided to IFZA promptly upon request) to use any music, images, video, audio, photos, text, or other materials contained in such videos from the owners thereof.
  5. IFZA Dubai makes no representations or warranties whether express or implied, regarding this Competition or the prizes, other than as expressly set out in these Competition Official Rules. IFZA shall not be liable for any technical errors or errors on the social media platforms that may prevent an Entrant from entering the Competition or from receiving or sending direct messages.
  6. IFZA may, without advance notice amend, cancel, suspend or postpone or change duration of the Competition at any time.
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