• Jenny Hunt

Can I get a new business license in Dubai, despite COVID-19?

3rd June 2020

Despite the global lockdowns in relation to COVID-19, can you still set up a new business and get a new business license issued in Dubai? The answer is YES!

Whilst, Dubai had a stringent lockdown protocol whilst carrying out its sterilization programme, it is now open for business again and very much focused on opening up businesses and returning to some kind of normal. Dubai has had a gradual reopening, but as of today, is allowing businesses to operate with 100% capacity. As would be expected, there are of course stringent hygiene measures which need to be followed including social distancing and wearing of face masks.

Is now the right time to start a business in Dubai?

Despite the lockdowns caused due to COVID-19, the UAE has recorded an increase in the number of business licenses issued during May which confirms the continuity of economic activity whilst providing confidence in the economy and opportunities here.

Being the owner of a number of businesses myself, I think it is important for companies to take action. Those companies which have a clear direction and are quick out of the starting blocks now, as economies start to reopen, will be the companies which thrive. Those, companies which have been badly affected by the pandemic and have lost their way, rather than strategizing how to make the best of a bad situation and diversifying where possible will be the ones which suffer.

Business is about informed risk taking and those which have the cashflow to be able to make investments to expand into Dubai and have products and services which will benefit Dubai and its strategies and plans for the future, will surely make their investment work, but will need to take the necessary actions to get active in the market.

However, with such a large investment of expanding into Dubai, do be sure of where your brand will sit and whether any changes might be required in order to adhere to local customs. Be confident that you have a strong pipeline of business and the right team in place. It is essential to know the market, understand how business is done here and to have knowledgeable and well connected employees on the ground to be successful. If you can tick those boxes, then there is no reason that you shouldn't get a business license in Dubai now.

Travelling to and from Dubai

One of the key elements which affects business is the movement of people, especially when setting up a new business in a foreign country. Companies are reliant on air transport for getting their employees into the country to carry out feasibility studies, due diligence and building up a network of connections - all before the process of starting a business. Business travel is somewhat essential when expanding overseas. The good news is that Dubai's Emirates Airline has started to fly again. In May it started flying to nine destinations (London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne). A further 30 destinations were relaunched on 1st June and the airline is aiming to be flying to 80 destinations by the end of this month as more countries ease their travel restrictions.

Tender fees cancelled

Further good news is that the Ministry of Finance has this week announced that it is cancelling fees for the purchase of tender documents in federal entities to boost the business environment. This is great news for companies intending to tender for federal government projects. Just remember, that you will need to have your trade license issued prior to tendering, so its a good idea to start setting up your Dubai company well in advance to ensure that you have the right corporate documents in place - there may be delays in getting corporate documents notarised and legalised around the world.

How to start a business in Dubai

There are many different ways of setting up a business in Dubai, so engaging an expert like the Gateway Group of Companies will ensure that you get the correct license type for your plans. (The cheapest license, may not be suitable for your intended business activities in Dubai.) Preparation is key to ensuring a smooth company setup.

  • Confirm your intended business activities in Dubai

  • Identify your anticipated clients in Dubai

  • Decide upon the legal structure for your Dubai business

  • Choose your local sponsor (if establishing a mainland business rather than in a free zone)

  • Arrange your corporate documents in your home jurisdiction (a number of documents will require notarizing and legalizing and these will be determined based upon the chosen legal structure)

  • Commence the company formation in Dubai to get your business license issued!

How Gateway Group can help with your organisations' company formation in Dubai

Gateway Group is the authority on company formation in Dubai. We believe that establishing a company in a foreign country is one of the most important decisions your organisation will make and we want to be sure that when we say our services will meet you requirements, we mean it! We want to get to know as much about your organisation and its plans for doing business in Dubai as possible so that we can determine the best company set up for your business. We begin with a discovery questionnaire and consultation to know you and so you can get to know us - setting up a company is a bit like a marriage, its essential to be sure you are compatible. To get started with your company formation in Dubai click here.

Call Gateway Group: 600 567562

Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO

Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE


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Help your Abu Dhabi and Dubai businesses stay compliant by engaging the award-winning Gateway Group to deliver our customised visas and Emirates ID processing for your in-country employees. For help with obtaining and maintaining your employee visas and Emirates IDs in UAE, Email us: Info@GatewayToUAE.com


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