Business setup in Dubai comes with a lot of options to choose from. Depends on the business activity investors may choose among different types of business licenses in the mainland, free zones and offshore. Entrepreneurs who are planning to set up businesses in Dubai mainland need to equip themselves with proper knowledge about the type of licenses issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Depending on the business activity, the DED mainly issues three types of licenses in Dubai:
What is a Professional License in Dubai?
The Professional license in Dubai is designed for professionals associated with businesses in specific industries that offer various services including consultancy services. Setting up a company in Dubai with a professional license comes with the benefit of 100% ownership provided a local service agent is appointed. The professional license is the best option for professionals seeking to start a business in sectors that depend on their skills.
A professional license in Dubai is intended for individuals or companies conducting service-oriented business that depend on the owner’s knowledge and professional skills. DED Dubai issues the Professional License Qualified professionals in specialist sectors like doctors, accountants, lawyers, consultants, and engineers could apply for professional license activities in Dubai. Qualified professionals, who want to set up a business in the mainland in a wide range of business activities including consultancies, technical services, accountants, auditors, artisans etc.
List of Business Activities Fall Under Professional License
Professionals who want to incorporate a business in Dubai mainland need to check with DED for the business activities list defined by the authority on its website.
Following are the most popular business activities that fall under the Professional category:
- Accountants, Auditors and Financial Advisors
- Accounting and Auditing companies
- Advertising Professionals and Entertainment Artists
- Architectural Consultants
- Beauty Salons
- Business Consultants
- Carpentry and Artisan Activities
- Consultancy Services
- Healthcare and Medical services
- Information technology services
- Internet and Web Design Services
- Lawyers and Legal Advisors
- Management consultancy
- Medical Representatives
- Printing and Publishing
- Teachers and Educational Professionals
- Technical Services
100% Ownership for Companies with Professional License
The Professional License type provides the benefit of 100% ownership for qualified professionals who opt for a service-oriented business in Dubai mainland. This is in stark contrast to trading companies in Dubai mainland where the business owner is required to partner with a UAE national who owns the 51% share in the Limited Liability Company (LLC). However, businesses having a professional license need to have an agreement with a local service agent for all government procedures.
How to Get a Professional License in Dubai?
The DED defines 8 steps in the process of establishing a business in Dubai. The following procedures can be followed for setting up a company with a professional License:
1. Choosing a Business Activity
The first step in the process of issuing a license is determining the activity type which identifies legal form options and parties associated with that activity. There are over 2,100 business activitieslisted on the DED Dubai website, which fall into different classes and groups: industrial, commercial, professional and tourism activities. Applicants can choose the activity that falls under the professional category.
2. Selecting a Legal Form
A ‘legal form’ is a description of the kind of business that is being set up in Dubai and the legal form is not something that is required to be filled up. Business type, business activities, and the nationality of the owner should be considered while choosing the legal form. Each business activity corresponds with an appropriate legal form, based on which the selection has to be made.
3. Deciding on a Trade name
The trade name for the business should be related to the business activity that has been selected. The application for the trade name can be done online through the Business in Dubai App, authorised service centres or business consultants. DED will issue then a transaction number.
The trade name reservation fees need to be paid within 72 hours of receiving the transaction number. Applicants need to pay AED 620 approx. for trade name reservation and a tradename certificate will be issued which is valid for 6 months.
4. Application for Initial Approval Certificate
Businesses need to apply for Initial Approval Certificate, which is an official confirmation from DED that it has no objection for the applicant to start a business in Dubai mainland. The certificate is valid for 6 months and can be renewed by paying AED 120 approx. if the required documents are valid. However, the following activities require approval from the concerned government bodies:
To apply for initial approval, external approvals of bodies governing the following activities are required:
- Legal Department-related activities
- Securities and Commodities Authority-related activities
Note: The license cost depends upon the nature of the selected professional activity.
5. Memorandum and LSA Agreement (If Applicable)
Depending on the legal form of the company, the business owners and partners may need to draft and sign a Memorandum of Association (MOA). For a professional License, the owners need to sign a Local Service Agent (LSA) / Corporate Agent agreement with a UAE national, who will represent the business for licensing and compliance. MOA needs to be notarized by the notary public.
A Memorandum of Association (MOA) is required if the legal form of the business is:
- Limited Liability Company
- One Person Company
- Private Shareholding Company (Private Joint Stock Co)
- Public Shareholding Company
- Simple Limited Partnership
- Partnership Company
- Civil Company
6. Establish a Business Location
DED demands a physical address for companies to set up a business in Dubai. The business owners can sign the tenancy contract with the landlord and register the contract with Ejari for attestation.
7. Get Licensing Approvals
Businesses owners need to check if their activity falls under the categories defined by DED that requires approvals from government bodies. Business activities and external approvals lists are updated regularly by the Business Registration and Licensing Sector in DED.
8. Issuance of License
After all the above-mentioned procedures are is completed the necessary documents can be submitted through online or authorised service centres. Companies need to ensure that the following documents are submitted:
- Initial approval receipt
- Copy of the lease contract duly attested by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in Dubai
- Duly attested memorandum of association (for all types of companies)
- Approval from government bodies (if applicable)
- A duly attested service agent contract
Related: How to get a trade license in Dubai?
How Jitendra Business Consultants can Help in Setting up Businesses with Professional License?
Established in 2001, Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC) is one of the most reputed business setup consultancy firms in Dubai, UAE. JBC’s team of qualified business setup consultants assist the professionals in setting up their businesses with a professional license in Dubai Mainland.
JBC helps professionals in getting approvals from relevant authorities, finding local service agents and handle all the documentation procedures required by DED to apply for the professional license in Dubai Mainland.