Thinking of opening a company in UAE? Here’s a checklist

Like a building structure will only be as good as the foundation it is built on, your start up business in UAE will also be as good as all the groundwork that goes behind it. To ensure that the base of your business is sturdy, here is what you should do before opening a company in the UAE.

Create a business plan

The very first step in pursuing your own venture is finding a business idea you are passionate about. Ask yourself if the idea can be sold as a service or a product? Is it worth your time, energy, and most importantly, investment? If yes, move on to finalising the following:

Choose a business activity

Based on what product or service you want to sell and how, you can choose from more than 2,000 business activities allowed by the Ministry of Economy in the UAE.

Have a clear vision of your product/service

It is important to think about your ultimate goal of opening a company in the UAE. Who will it benefit the most; how can you diversify and expand in the near future?

Note down your short- and long-term goals. Map out the strategies you need to implement in order to achieve the goals. Allocating funds and a deciding on the timeframes for each goal are equally important.

Figure out your target clients and market

Study your target customers including their requirements, purchasing habits, spending capacity and geographical composition, among others. Then move on to conducting a research on whether the market is currently sufficing their needs. Can you offer them a better product or experience? That will also be your unique selling point (USP).

Study your competitors and assess risks

Without a doubt, all businesses face tough competition in the marketplace. Even if you come up with a niche product or service that fairs well, there are high chances for other players to imitate your offering and sell it at a more affordable price.

You have to brace for such things and find out ways to sustain. Some of the ways to do this include, building customer loyalty, forming a strong business network and being a part of a collaborative entrepreneurial community, which can provide you the right support.

Choose your company structure and secure budget

You need to choose the most suitable structure for your UAE company as it will determine the liability and tax-related procedures.

  • Set aside initial costs, estimating the revenue you will need in the first few months.
  • Plan ahead and make sure you can financially sustain for at least six months of starting your company.
  • In case you do not have the required funds, find a suitable partner or get a manageable business loan.

Get a business license

Once you have figured out your product/service and laid the groundwork to launch it, it is time to legalise it and get started with the incorporation of company in the UAE. Listed below is the step-by-step process of obtaining a UAE business license:

Pick a suitable name

Choosing an appropriate name for your business is not only important for paperwork, but it also reflects the identity of your brand. Therefore, think carefully whether the name you intend to give your company represents your product/service.

At the same time, it should also adhere to the naming rules laid down by the UAE government. Some of the main points to bear in mind while choosing a business name is to avoid obscene or indecent words which may offend the general public. You should also refrain from using any words or names containing any religious attributes.

Finalise your company structure

There are two main types of company structures you may opt for your start up business in the UAE:

  • Sole-establishment: A sole-establishment allows 100% ownership of the company by a single owner. This is popular for businesses offering professional services.
  • Limited liability: A limited liability company, also known as LLC, has a provision for minimum two to maximum 50 shareholders to pool in their finances and resources.

Prepare necessary documents for license application

The basic documents required for incorporation of a company in the UAE include:

  • Copy of your passport and visa
  • Copy of your Emirates ID or entry visa stamp (for non-residents)
  • Copy of the passport and visa of partner/s (if any)
  • Two coloured passport-sized photographs
  • Additional business documents such as the business plan and other necessary documents supporting your company. These may include no-objection certificates and approval letters from various government entities.

Submit application and pay license fees

Once all the documents are ready, fill in the license application form and pay the processing fees. Soon, you will have the license for opening a company in the UAE.

Pick a location

Select a facility that fits your business nature and design it to according to your brand. Furthermore, make sure it is easily visible to your clients and also accessible for your staff members.

Get marketing – introduce your business

Once your company is underway, you have to build your own network and start selling. Here are some of the ways to do that:

  • Showcase and advertise your products/services on available platforms, including print media (newspaper and magazines) and digital mediums such as search engines (Google and Bing) and social media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and TikTok).
  • You also can carry out public activities such as roadshows and giveaways to introduce your brand.
  • Build a website where potential customers can browse your offerings, interact with you and even book services and place orders.
  • Reach out to potential clients on social media. Additionally, do not forget to customise your content as per the platforms you post on.

Start with just AED 5,499!

How about opening a company in the UAE with AED 5,499 only? This exclusive business set-up package from Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) will allow you to start your venture with a minimum investment so you can test the waters before adjusting your strategies to conquer the market.

For more information, you can simply call +971 7 204 1111 or drop an email to

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