Answering your questions about business setup in Dubai

Answering your questions about business setup 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.


IFZA Official

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.

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.


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.

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

We achieve flexibility by allowing companies to combine professional and commercial 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.

NOTE: All content on this page along with the downloadable guides is created solely for educational purposes. The information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge, and it may not reflect any changes or developments that occur after the date of publication.

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