How to Choose Your Best Option For Business Setup In Dubai

There are numerous advantages of setting up an offshore company in Dubai, registering as a mainland company or operating in one of Dubai’s free zones. Among those are attractive tax policies, low costs, etc. Besides, you are granted easy access to cooperation with top companies of the Middle East, as well as to trading with countries of the East. Due to fast economic growth, numerous offshore and free zones (e.g. Dubai South Free Zone), Dubai definitely deserves your consideration for business setup in UAE.

Company setup in UAE is easier than ever. The Department of Economic Development of the UAE has made the process trouble-free to attract new companies to UAE and Dubai in particular. The only thing you need to be concerned about is where business setup will be the most beneficial. There are three options for starting a business in Dubai: in the Dubai mainland, offshore or free zones. Naturally, each of the options has its advantages. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Registration options


Mainland Companies:
  • Local Sponsor
  • LLC Company
  • No distributor/agent required


Free Zone:
  • 100% ownership
  • License issued within 1 day
  • Tax free


  • International Business Solution
  • 100% ownership
  • Low setup cost

Option #1. Starting a Business In The Dubai Mainland

Dubai Mainland is your best option for business setup in Dubai if you want to trade within the state itself. Having chosen other options, you will not be able to do that without local agents and/or services providers. Yet, while this is the main advantage of the region, there are numerous others:

  • Limitless amount of visas for company’s employees and/or management;
  • Fewer restrictions on nationalities in ownership of the business or visas acquirement;
  • Opportunity to set up the office anywhere in the mainland part of Dubai;
  • More options on business activities that are allowed.

Basically, you can choose from three license options for your business in Dubai mainland.

  • Professional License: allows you to provide services that are non-physical (e.g. consulting services);
  • Commercial License: allows you to provide physical services or engage in trading activities;
  • Branch or Representative Office.

Option #2. Dubai Free Zones

A free zone is an area with special tax, imports and customs regimes that are different from the ones of the mainland. Dubai free zones include but are not limited to: Dubai World Central Free Zone, Dubai International Airport Free Zone, Jebel Ali Sea Port Free Zone, Dubai South Free Zone etc. This option is the most suitable for you if you are not interested in operating within the UAE and you want to run an international business.

Let’s take a look at the advantages that already attracted 150,000+ Dubai freezone companies:

  • No income, capital gain, corporate taxes;
  • No duties imposed on export or import;
  • No currency restrictions;
  • 100% foreign ownership if the company is allowed, as well as 100% repatriation of the profits and/or the capital;
  • No recruitment issues, inexpensive labor force, and liberal labor laws;
  • Modern and efficient infrastructure (including low costs spent on energy).

If you are attracted by all the benefits offered by a free zone, but you hesitate which one to choose from 12 free zones, take into consideration one important thing. Every free zone has its particular regulations formed according to specific activities. For example, Dubai Internet City is focused on IT business development, so its regulations and infrastructure are advantageous specifically to IT companies. Among other criteria, you should analyze the licensing processes, infrastructure offered by the area, costs of business setup and hidden charges.

Option #3. Dubai Offshore Zones

Offshore zones are the areas with liberal regulations for foreign businesses activities. This is your best option if you want to operate on the international scale with low costs while maintaining confidentiality. Offshore companies in UAE can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • No taxes imposed on business activities outside UAE;
  • No audit of the offshore company is required;
  • Easy and fast company registration: it takes from 3 to 7 days to register offshore companies, all the documents can be provided in English;
  • Confidentiality: the information on directors and shareholders of the company is protected by the laws of UAE and can’t be disclosed to third parties;
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the shareholders or directors.

Yet, there is one restriction for the offshore company formation in UAE: every offshore company is obliged to have a registered agent that has an official office in the UAE and necessary status of an agent for offshore companies.

Regardless of what you choose, we are dedicated to being of service to you in your quest. Possessing deep local knowledge of the UAE market and connections to prominent businesses in the UAE, we offer you trouble-free and easy company setup in Dubai.

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