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Are you looking to start a business in the UAE? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

This is the ultimate guide to starting a business in the UAE, covering everything from company incorporation to visa applications.

Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking a new challenge, or an established business wishing to expand into the UAE. This guide will help you navigate the UAE business landscape with ease.

With an experienced and knowledgeable team to guide you through the process, you will be well on your way to taking advantage of the UAE.

The team at RHJ has been instrumental in helping me to arrange my cross-border business.

Working with their local contacts, they made the process work smoothly, anticipated and advised on potential pitfalls and were always available to answer questions and provide advice.

The RHJ team's ongoing support and ability to respond to my business' changing needs has ensured that I can focus on delivering services to my clients.

Adam W.UAE client

Company incorporation process

The process begins by choosing which type of UAE business structure you would like to opt for. The two options available are the mainland and the free zone area. Our clients always opt for the free zone, as it creates the most tax-efficient structure.

Once you have chosen your preferred business structure, our business support team will request all relevant documentation. Then our UAE team can submit an application form to the UAE authorities. Typically we will request the relevant identification documents, a description of your trading activity and trading name options. Depending on individual circumstances, and the type of business being incorporated then you may have to provide more information. However, that’s the role of our business support team to request all relevant information from you!

Once the application form has been granted, you will receive the trading license, at which point we can request the establishment card of your company. The establishment card shows that you legally have a business in the UAE. It’s important to note that depending on your business structure, there may be additional requirements such as the appointment of a local sponsor or obtaining relevant approvals from various government departments. But again, our business support team are on hand to request what’s relevant.

Once your business is incorporated, you may also need to consider opening a personal and/or corporate bank account. Plus, you may want to look at having a virtual office, or nominating a UAE director – if you choose to live outside of the UAE. As always, our business support team is on hand to ensure your company is efficiently setup.


Visa process

Once the company incorporation process is complete, individuals seeking to relocate to the UAE will need to begin the visa application process.

To start, a general application form is submitted to the authorities for your UAE visa request. The authorities should respond within 3-4 working days, providing a copy of your E-Visa. Upon receipt of the E-Visa, you can then consider arriving in the UAE.

When you arrive, you will need to complete a medical test and apply for your Emirates ID. Don’t worry though, our UAE team will be present with you during this process! Once these steps are concluded, you can expect to receive the Emirates ID within 7 or 20 working days; depending on whether you opt for our VIP process or not.

And there you have it! We know it may sound too easy, but it really is- that’s why many of our clients opt for a UAE-based business option.


Living in the UAE

Finding suitable accommodation is the next step. Our UAE team can assist you with finding suitable accommodation, ensuring that you have a comfortable and convenient living space. You just need to provide us with the following information to get started:

1) Budget
2) Number of bedrooms
3) Rental or sale purchase

Then our real estate partners can work with you to find suitable properties to view!


How RHJ Accountants can help

We can help with every part of the UAE process, from start to finish, and even beyond that!

If you’re considering a UAE startup, we highly recommend making use of our FREE initial consultation. This consultation will provide you with valuable insights on how to get started and what to expect during the process.

We also have a range of other articles on our website that explain more about the tax structure in the UAE and what it’s like to live in the country. These articles can help you make informed decisions and prepare you for life in the UAE.

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💬 PSA: between April & June our Portuguese team have limited meeting availability due to the Tax Return Submission Period 🇵🇹