How Much Does It Cost To Start A Company In Dubai?

Beginning a business in Dubai is an exciting venture since there are ample business opportunities, but understanding the costs involved can be daunting. The United Arab Emirates offers attractive tax benefits and full foreign ownership, drawing entrepreneurs worldwide.

This blog will shed light on the cost to start a company in Dubai, i.e., the expenses of establishing a company in Dubai’s dynamic marketplace, including registration fees, office rent, etc. Let’s unveil what it takes financially to turn your business dream into reality.

Options for Starting a Business in Dubai

When considering launching a business in Dubai, which has become a business hub nowadays, entrepreneurs are faced with various strategic options, each offering distinct advantages and regulatory frameworks that cater to different business needs and objectives. 

Whether it’s establishing a presence on the mainland, taking advantage of tax benefits within a free zone, or operating an offshore company for international dealings, Dubai presents diverse possibilities for company formation tailored to your commercial aspirations. In simpler words, it means that your dream company allows you to explore your business vision without inconvenience.

Mainland Company

A Mainland Company in Dubai can offer many kinds of services and is a popular choice for businesses. To start one, you need to get an OK from the Department of Economic Development (DED).

This means filling out forms, picking a business name, and following some steps. If you want to open a shop or sell things directly to people in and across the UAE markets, this kind of company is good for that.

Some business types let owners from other countries have all the shares without needing a local sponsor. For example, with an LLC business setup structure, certain activities allow 100% foreign ownership.

Professional folks like consultants or lawyers can also own their whole company by starting a Civil Work Company. So whether selling goods or providing smarts and advice, going the Mainland way might be your ticket into Dubai’s busy world of business.

Free Zone Company

Establishing a free zone company in Dubai can be cheaper than other areas, i.e., the company will cost lesser to start up. The cost of opening a company or starting a business, i.e., the cost for registration starts at about USD 1000. You’ll need to get an office and pay rent, but many free zones offer different sizes and types of spaces that fit your budget.

Every year, you must renew your license to keep running your specific business. This fee changes with each free zone; some charge more, some less. For instance, the trade license fee at Dubai World Trade Center is USD 1,350 while DMCC could ask for over USD 13,000 if you want a general trading license for your general trading company.

Remember to plan for costs like visa renewal for employees and putting down a financial guarantee if required by the free zone authority.

Offshore Company

An offshore company in the UAE, Dubai, can be a good way to protect your money. People set up International Business Companies (IBCs) here because they’re not under the same rules as local companies.

It costs about AED 15,500* to start one of these companies. You might have to pay more for things like sharing capital and having an office that’s just for your company. Some people also use nominee services. Remember – every year you need to pay the fee to account for your company performing normally.

Now let’s look at how expensive it is when comparing mainland businesses with free zones in Dubai.

Cost To Start A Company in Dubai (Mainland)

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey in Dubai’s mainland necessitates understanding the various monetary commitments, from initial registration to securing your trade license. Navigating these costs, including the cost of starting a business, cost of registering, etc., is a critical step toward establishing your business presence and tapping into the vibrant economy of this bustling metropolis.

Registration Fee

To start a mainland company in Dubai, you need to pay for registration. This company registration cost or fee is what you give to the government so they know about your new business. The Department of Economic Development (DED) charges AED 235* as company registration fees just to say “okay” at the beginning.

You also have to pick a name for your company that no one else has. Choosing this trade name costs AED 735*. These fees are just the first step towards setting up your company on the Dubai mainland. The best part is that the registration process is not very complicated. 

License Fee

After you finish the registration, you need to get a company license. This is like getting a special permission that says your company is allowed to do its business. For setting up a mainland company in Dubai, this fee can change based on what kind of work your company does.

If it’s something simple, like selling clothes, it might cost less than if it’s doing big projects like building houses or making food products. You will pay about AED 15,000* to AED 35,000* for the license fee.

The government looks at what type of activities your business will do and then tells you how much you have to pay every year for your license. This money helps make sure that only serious businesses are running and follows the rules.

It’s important because having this license means customers and other companies can trust what you do is good and legal.

Office Rent

In Dubai, finding the right office space means paying close attention to rent. The average cost is AED 50* for every square foot each year. This price can go up if you want an office in a popular area or need more room.

The cost will be different based on where your office is and how big it is. If you pick a fancy spot with lots of people, expect to pay more. Before you choose, think about how much space you need and what business location fits your budget best.

Next up, learn about the process for making sure your company’s name and rules are official.

Attestation of Memorandum of Association

To set up a mainland company in Dubai, you must get the Memorandum of Association (MOA) attested. This is a legal paper that tells about your business and its rules. Getting this document approved is needed by law.

The cost to do this includes paying for notary services. You will have to sign the MOA in front of an official who makes sure everything is right.

The process can take time and might need help from lawyers or expert business consultants. They make sure all information matches what the government wants. Each step, from writing the MOA to getting it stamped, adds to your starting costs but it’s very important for your company, whether it is a mainland company, a manufacturing company, a freezone company, or any other type of company, to be legal.

Trade License Fee

Getting a trade license is key for a mainland company in Dubai. You must pay this fee before you start your business. The cost changes based on what your company does and the kind of license you need.

For example, if you sell goods, open a restaurant, or offer services, each will have different fees.

Trade licenses are a big part of starting a mainland company’s costs. They can range from AED 15,000* to AED 35,000*. This is not an every-year charge — you pay it just once when setting up your business.

To know exactly how much to pay for your trade license fee, talk with business setup advisors who understand all about the business setup costs in Dubai and how they work with government rules. Doing so will also help you out with other business setup services if required. 

Chamber of Commerce Fee

Once you’ve sorted out the trade license fee, you’ll need to budget for the Chamber of Commerce Fee. This cost is yearly and changes depending on your company type. For a business on Dubai’s mainland, expect to pay between AED 14,500* and AED 25,000* each year.

This fee is key because it lets you join the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). Being part of this group gives your business more respect and helps it follow rules in Dubai.

Cost of Setting Up a Free Zone Company in Dubai

Setting up a Free Zone company in the UAE, specifically Dubai, can be a cost-effective gateway to entrepreneurship, with specific financial requirements for office space, licensing, and visas—keep reading to understand how this option balances setup affordability with business growth potential.

Office Setup and Rent Costs

In Dubai’s free zones, you have different choices for where to work. You might pick a flexi desk or your own office space. Flexi desks are cheaper and good if you do not need much room.

The cost for these can be as low as USD 729 each year. If you want more space, there are bigger offices too. These could cost up to USD 8100 a year.

You pay rent once a year in most free zones around Dubai. This makes it easy to plan how much money you’ll spend on your place of work every year. Rent usually includes some services like the internet, water, and electricity, which helps save money on other bills.

Yearly Free Zone License

You need a license to do business in Dubai’s Free Zones. Each year, you have to pay money to keep this license. The amount depends on what kind of business you run and which Free Zone you pick.

For example, if you choose the JAFZA free zone, expect to pay around USD 8100 every year for your license.

Getting this license is a big part of starting your company in a Free Zone. You must renew it each year to follow the rules and keep your business open. Some places offer cheaper licenses, like the SAIF Zone in Sharjah where it costs just USD 729 per year for a flexi desk option.

Remember, picking the right Free Zone helps control how much money you spend on licenses.

Business Registration Cost

The cost of company registration in Dubai’s free zones is about USD 1000. This fee is for the paperwork and processes to officially start your company there. Different areas might have other charges, but this is a common price to get things going.

Remember that each free zone has its own rules and costs, so the total money you spend can be more when you add other fees like for licenses or office space.

Visa Renewal

Renewing your visa is a key part of keeping your business running smoothly in Dubai. You must go through a process similar to getting your first visa. This means scheduling a new medical exam, making sure all your ID documents like passports and Emirates ID are up to date, and paying the necessary fees.

For a full renewal service, you’ll likely spend around USD 2500. This fee covers applying for the entry permit again and getting a UAE resident ID card. It usually takes about three weeks to finish everything needed for renewing your UAE residence visa.

So plan ahead to make sure you stay legal!

Financial Guarantee

In Dubai, starting a free zone company means you need to provide a financial guarantee. This is like a promise that you have enough money to run your business. The government wants to make sure companies can take care of their costs without getting into trouble.

Not every free zone asks for this guarantee, but some do.

The amount you’ll need for the financial guarantee changes based on the type of business and the free zone rules. Think of it as a safety net that stays with authorities while your company is up and running.

If everything goes well, you might get this money back later on!

Cost of Setting Up an Offshore Company in Dubai

Starting an offshore company in Dubai might seem like a puzzle, but once you know the costs, it gets easier. You’ll have to pay for things like making your company official (registration), getting the right papers to do business (licenses), and sometimes extra fees if your business is very special or needs specific approvals.

The price can change based on what kind of work you do.

You pay fewer taxes with an offshore company and can keep your private information safe. Many people choose Dubai because they want these benefits. Setting up this type of company usually costs between AED 9,000* to AED 18,000* approximately; however, prices may go higher if more services are needed.

It’s important to plan for these costs before starting so you don’t get surprised later on.

Comparing Costs: Dubai Mainland Vs Dubai Free Zones

Evaluating the costs between setting up a business in Dubai Mainland versus Dubai Free Zones is crucial for potential entrepreneurs. The decision heavily influences financial planning and potential for growth.

Mainland Company Setup: Here, companies face a higher initial business investment due to diverse government regulations. Mainland companies must typically partner with a UAE national, who will own 51% of the business, adding to the complexity and cost.

License Costs Differ: A trade license for a Mainland company can be quite expensive, whereas in Free Zones, the cost can be substantially lower. For example, a general trade license in the DMCC free zone can surpass USD 13,000, while comparable Mainland licenses might command a similar or higher fee depending on the business activity.

Office Space Requirements: Mainland businesses are required to lease or rent a physical office space, which can be a significant expense in prime Dubai locations. In contrast, Free Zones offer Flexi desk options that drastically reduce the cost and need for physical space.

Free Zone Advantages: Free Zones provide benefits like 100% foreign ownership, full repatriation of profits, and no import or export duties, which can offset the initial setup costs over time.

Visa Costs Vary: Despite the Free Zones’ streamlined visa processes, costs for visas can fluctuate with additional fees for medical examinations and issuance of a UAE resident ID. Mainland companies may have similar visa expenses, but the business requirements and processing times can differ.

Mandatory Fees: Mainland companies are subject to a Chamber of Commerce fee, whereas Free Zone entities are exempt from this. Nonetheless, some Free Zones require a financial guarantee, which adds to the overall cost.

Annual Renewals: The cost of yearly license renewal must be considered for both jurisdictions, though Free Zones often offer more transparent and fixed pricing structures.

Incentives and Restrictions: Free Zones often provide incentives such as tax exemptions and no currency restrictions, but they limit the ability to trade directly with the UAE market, unlike Mainland companies.

After examining the costs between Dubai Mainland and Dubai Free Zones, it’s clear that they each have distinct financial implications which should align with the goals and strategy of the business entity. Moving forward, identifying ways to minimize expenses is the next logical step.

How to Keep Costs Down While Beginning a Business in Dubai

Getting started with a business in Dubai can be exciting but also expensive. To save money, follow these tips:

  • Choose a flexi desk or workstation – These offer a place to work without the high cost of an office.
  • Look into free zones – Setting up here can be cheaper and you don’t have to pay VAT.
  • Share your office space – Splitting the rent with another business lowers your costs.
  • Pick the right business structure – A limited liability company might have a low cost as compared to other types.
  • Do some tasks yourself – You can save money by not hiring others for things you can do.
  • Use online marketing – It’s often cheaper than traditional advertising methods.
  • Buy used furniture and equipment instead of new ones to keep startup expenses low.

Frequently Asked Questions

8. Frequently Asked Questions: Dive into our FAQ section for rapid answers to pressing queries about the financials and logistics of launching your enterprise in Dubai, sparking an informed beginning to your business journey.

How to Set Up a Business in Dubai?

To start a business in Dubai, you must first decide what kind of company you want to create. You can pick from mainland, free zone, or offshore companies. Each type has its own rules and costs.

For the mainland, contact the Department of Economic Development (DED). They will tell you about licenses and fees. If you choose a free zone company, find out which free zone fits your needs best since they all have different benefits.

You need to get the right license for your business activity too. This could be commercial, service, or industrial among others. Make sure your documents are ready when opening a corporate bank account for your official needs in Dubai; it’s important that these papers match the activities listed on your business license.

Consider getting help from experts at Xpert Advisory to guide you through visa processes and other setup tasks in the UAE to meet local law demands efficiently.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business in UAE?

Starting a business in the UAE is not cheap. To get started with your business, you might pay around USD 1000 just to register the company in a free zone. The license fee can change based on what your business does and where it sits.

If you want to live and work there, getting a visa could cost about USD 2500 all together. And don’t forget, every year you’ll have to spend money again for license renewals, taxes, keeping track of money stuff like accounting and auditing, which are extra costs that keep your business going in the UAE.

Can a Foreigner Own a Business in Dubai?

Yes, a foreigner can own a business in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. In the free zones in the UAE, you can have 100% ownership of your company without needing a local partner. This is perfect for individuals who wish to remain as the sole owner of the company. This is good news for people from outside the UAE who want to run their own lucrative business here with or without business support.

If you choose to start a mainland company, foreigners are usually allowed to own up to 49%, while a UAE national holds at least 51%. But there’s an exciting option for investors – if you buy property worth AED 2 million* or more, you might get a Golden Visa for 10 years.

Next, let’s explore which businesses can bring good profits in the UAE.

Which Business Is Profitable in UAE?

Now that we know foreigners can own businesses in Dubai, let’s talk about which ones might make you money. In the UAE, some top business areas are really good for making a profit. For example, tech companies and e-commerce are booming right now because lots of people shop online.

Food and drinks places also do well since everyone needs to eat, and tourists love trying new things.

There is big money in real estate too. With so many people coming to live and work here, they all need places to stay. If you start a company that helps these folks find homes or offices, you could do quite nicely for yourself.

Health services are another hot area with lots of chances to grow your business as the population here gets bigger every day.


Starting a company in Dubai can fit different budgets. Costs change based on the type of business and where it goes. Free zones offer perks but may cost more. Mainland businesses have other fees to think about.

Plan well, and you might start your dream company in Dubai without breaking the bank!


1. What are the basic costs to start a company in Dubai?

To begin your business in Dubai, UAE, you must pay fees for setting up a company, like getting licenses from the Ministry of Economy and possibly leasing a space. The exact cost depends on whether it’s a limited liability company or free-zone startup.

2. Is starting a business cheaper in a Dubai Freezone?

Yes, often starting in a Dubai Freezone can be less costly because it might have lower capital requirements and offer special tax rules like no income tax or VAT.

3. Do I need to pay for help from professionals like attorneys and real estate brokers when starting my company?

Yes, you should expect to hire attorneys who understand UAE’s laws to help with contracts and legal stuff. You should also hire real estate agents if renting property is part of your plan, i.e., if you need help with renting space, cost of renting, etc.

4. After my company starts, what other costs will I need to think about?

Once your business is running, remember that ongoing costs such as salaries for workers, utility bills for offices or stores, service charges by banks or customs while trading internationally will add up.

5. Can startups get any money back on value added taxes they’ve paid out?

If your new startup spends on items that include value-added tax (VAT) within United Arab Emirates (UAE), under certain situations you could apply for a VAT refund through specific government programs.

6. Are there other expenses I shouldn’t forget when budgeting for my new LLC company formation in Dubai?

Definitely! Don’t ignore overheads which cover general day-to-day spending like office supplies and equipment expenditures; plus consider if you’ll use consulting services which can also affect overall cost.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only. The content is provided “as is” and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding its accuracy, completeness, or suitability. Any reliance on the information is at your own risk. We are not liable for any losses or damages arising from the use of this blog.

* – Fees and Costs Mentioned are for Reference Only.

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