Dubai Incorporation Agency

How to incorporate a company in Dubai and the costs

This page is mainly about what types of legal entities are available in Dubai and how to establish one. How much does it cost?

Types of Dubai and UAE Corporations

There are two main types of corporations required to work in Dubai: local corporations (mainland corporations) and free zone corporations.

Local Corporation (Mainland Corporation)

It is a general domestic corporation of the Emirate of Dubai. It is like an ordinary joint stock company in many countries. It is a legal entity suitable for doing business in Dubai.

Free Zone Corporation

A free zone is similar to a bonded zone or special economic zone. In the free zone, VAT (value-added tax) and other taxes are not levied on goods handled in the free zone when trading. This type of legal entity is particularly beneficial for trade.

Characteristics of each

This section will focus on how each corporation differs from the others. However, since it is difficult to understand the contents from this table alone, explanations will be added below in order.

Dubai Mainland CorporationFree Zone Corporation
Location/Registered AddressDubaiDubai or
Other Emirates
corporation tax0-9% (0-9%)0% if conditions are met
Licensing feeshighLow to normal
Business LicensesBasically everything.Different for each free zone
Suitable usageAll except overseas trading operationsParticularly good at overseas trade operations
External credibilityhighDifferent for each free zone
Obtaining a Visaeasyeasy
foreign capital100% possible100% possible
capital stockfreedomfreedom
Difficulty in opening a bank accountsomewhat easyusually

Location and registered address

The local corporation will have an address within the Emirate of Dubai. In most cases, an office or P.O. Box in Dubai will be the address of the head office.

Free zones, on the other hand, are scattered throughout Dubai and the other emirates of the UAE. It is estimated that there are currently about 50 free zones in total. The head office of a free zone company is a virtual office in the respective free zone. On the other hand, the practical office can be located anywhere in Dubai or abroad.

corporation tax

The long-standing 0% corporate income tax rate will be 9% for profits above AED 375,000 effective June 1, 2023, while profits below AED 375,000 will not be taxed at the 0% rate.

It also appears that free zone corporations that do not do business with local entities will continue to be tax ex empt.

Licensing fees

In the UAE, instead of a 0-9% corporate tax, all businesses are subject to a licensing system, which means that no business can be conducted without a license. In most cases, the cost of this license is several thousand dollars per year, renewable annually. It is like a de facto fixed tax.

This license fee varies greatly depending on the nature of each business and the location of the corporate registration.

In general, license fees for Dubai local corporationstend to be higher than for free zones. Free zone license fees also vary, with well-known and popular free zones generally tending to have higher license fees. On the other hand, emerging free zones tend to lower their license fees in order to attract new corporate clients.

Business Licenses

Business licenses are required for local corporations, which must obtain the necessary licenses from a group of nearly 1,000 subdivided business licenses.

Free zone corporations must also choose a suitable one from the list of hundreds of licenses created by each free zone.

However, each free zone has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, a free zone that is strong in Internet-related business, a free zone that is strong in trading business, and a free zone that can handle virtual currency, etc., must be selected according to the purpose of use.

Suitable use and usage

Local corporations can do almost all business outside of bonded areas. Free zone companies are good at trading through the bonded area. On the other hand, a free zone company cannot do business with local companies or UAE citizens. Therefore, if you are planning to do business targeting the UAE domestic market, you should choose a local corporation without hesitation.

External credibility and brand strength

Until 2021, Mainland corporations (local corporations) could not be created with 100% foreign capital. Therefore, many people feel secure with Mainland corporations (local corporations).

On the other hand, free zone corporations are a mixture of large corporations and paper companies, so they may be a little less secure than local corporations (but this also depends on the free zone). (However, this also depends on the free zone.)

As local corporations become more mixed, the difference in brand power between local corporations and free-zone corporations will disappear.

Regarding visa acquisition

The UAE is proactive in accepting entrepreneurs.

Foreign capital ratio

Since foreign investment restrictions were abolished in 2021, both local corporations (mainland corporations)* and free zone corporations can be established with 100% foreign capital. *Some restrictions remain for each emirate.

capital stock

You are free to choose the amount of capital. However, if the capital is too low, it may cause problems when opening a bank account, so a substantial amount must be set.

Difficulty in opening a bank account

As mentioned earlier in the external credibility/branding scene, until 2021, local corporations could only be established with a majority of domestic investment. Therefore, the image of a local corporation = security and a free zone corporation = a paper company still remains in some parts of the country.

In essence, however, the bank will properly examine each individual corporation, so there is never a general rule that a free zone is a bad thing. As long as the business model is solid and the business has substance, there is no difference between a free zone and a mainland.

Procedures for Establishing a Dubai Corporation or Free Zone Corporation

This section describes the process of establishing a Dubai company, the number of days required, and the necessary documents.
As for the number of days, please consider it only as a guide.

STEP1. Contact Us

To get started, please send us an email and let us know what kind of business your company would like to do in Dubai.

STEP2. Free consulting by e-mail

We will find the right license and corporate registration location for your business.

STEP3. Quotation and Payment

If you are satisfied with the estimate, please make a 50% deposit.

STEP4. Application for corporate registration

The following documents are required for corporate registration

  • Passports of all representatives and shareholders
  • Brief personal histories of representatives and shareholders
  • Simple Business Plan
  • Indicate place of residence
  • Three possible names for the company
  • Other, if necessary.

We will send those documents to the respective registration jurisdiction department via our company. We then conduct an online Zoom interview and sign the documents. The interview takes about 2 minutes. It takes about 5-7 business days from the application for corporate registration to the completion of registration.

STEP5. Corporate registration completed

Upon completion of the corporate registration, you will receive the following documents in digital data. You will enter Dubai with this data.

  • Certificate of registration
  • License (corporate license permit)
  • Articles of Association
  • Shareholders Resolution
  • Terms of Services (Terms of Use for Corporate Operations)
  • Contract of Employment

Please also pay the remaining 50% at this time.

STEP6. Visa Application

As soon as the incorporation documents are sent to us, we will prepare to obtain the visa and EID.
Go to Visa Medical Center in Dubai for medical examination. (Examination time: about 1 hour)
Then wait two weeks.

STEP7. Obtain visa and EID

Go to the Immigration Office and pick up your Visa & EID. Next, make an appointment at the bank.
The bank will specify the required documents, which you will prepare.

STEP8. Open a bank account

The banker through our company will ask you to submit the following documents.

  • Passport, Emirates ID card and visa for the representative
  • Passport, Emirates ID card and visa for the director (if different from the representative)
  • Office Agreement
  • Representative’s Residence Agreement
  • Documentation stating the intended use of the account
  • Documentation proving source of funds
  • List of contracts already finalized
  • Referral letter from business partner
  • business plan
  • Other legal documents related to the corporation, etc.

That completes the entire process! Thank you for your hard work!

Incorporation Fees

Costs can be broadly divided into license fees, office fees, support + agent fees, and visa fees.

license fee

For Dubai local corporation – AED 15,000/year and up
For free zone – AED 12,000/year and up

Office Expenses

For local corporations – from AED 10,000 for the first year (may go down from the second year).
For free zones…many FZs are packaged with a license.

Support + agent fees

From AED 5,000/year for both local and free zone corporations

Total Reference Price

This is a rough estimate, but it is about the same amount in USD. The prices are generally lower in emerging free zones, and higher in well-known free zones and local corporations.

  • Initial cost: Approximately 1 to 2 hundred dollars
  • After the second year: approx. 8,000-12,000 USD

When you request a quote, please let us know if you are more interested in price or location.

Our JP Support Strengths

We believe that each of the numerous Dubai corporate agents has its own characteristics. Here we would like to mention some of the characteristics of our company.

100% bank account opening rate

Our greatest strength is our strong relationship with banks and bankers. This enables us to quickly learn about current trends in bank examinations and take countermeasures. Human relations are also very important in Dubai society.

As a result, to date, we have not had any cases where a UAE company has been established by us and we have not been able to open a bank account.

Advice based on diverse experience

Our consultants have direct experience in many businesses, including IT, healthcare, and virtual currencies, and can provide practical advice. We also have relationships with a wide variety of professionals, including lawyers and international accountants, and can access the best solutions at any time. We don’t simply create a corporation and call it a day.

That is all. If you have any questions about incorporation, please contact us at

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