Setting up a new business in the UAE can be exciting and incredibly profitable. However, when first starting out, expenses like leasing an office space can quickly put off many aspiring entrepreneurs and cause them to shelve their plans.
Many businesses in today’s digital age are conducted almost entirely online and there is minimal or no actual need to have physical office premises. However, in the majority of cases, renting business premises is a legal requirement to register a company in the UAE.
Fortunately, over the last few years, the UAE’s various economic departments have recognized this trend and have created virtual business licenses to accommodate this trend and encourage more digital based start ups to consider setting up in the Emirates.
Which business licenses waive the requirement for physical office space?
- Abu Dhabi e-Commerce license (Tajer Abu Dhabi)
- Abu Dhabi Virtual license
- Dubai Virtual Company license
Abu Dhabi e-Commerce license (Tajer Abu Dhabi)
The word ‘Tajer’ in Arabic translates to ‘trader’, and this licence is exactly that. Launched in 2017,Tajer Abu Dhabi was created in response to the global growth of e-commerce and to allow the UAE to gain a greater share of this expanding market. Unfortunately, it was initially only open to UAE nationals and the list of business activities that were permitted was relatively small at only 100.However, in 2018, this was expanded to entitle all GCC nationals and UAE residents to apply for the license under three legal forms:
- establishment for Emiratis and GCC nationals
- one-person company for Emiratis and GCC nationals
- limited liability company for residents in partnership with Emiratis.
It now allows for 1057 business activities to be practised, all without the need for physical office space. It is ideally suited to small businesses and freelancers whose revenue is generated from online sales.
The fee for this license is dependent on the business activity being carried out but is generally between AED 1,500 and AED 3,500.
Abu Dhabi Virtual license
The Abud Dhabi Virtual License was introduced in 2021 in response to the growing tech industry and to enable more cross-border digital trade.
It is open to non-resident foreign investors and allows them to obtain a business licence from outside the UAE and without any residence requirements to be met.
The license covers a wide range of business activities which can be grouped under 13 business sectors. These are:
- Health and Entertainment Events
- Import and Export
- Leasing Services
- Retail trade
- Wholesale Trade
The business can be structured as either a Sole Proprietorship or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Dubai Virtual Company License
This license enables overseas investors to establish a business in Dubai without being a resident or being physically present in the UAE. Office premises are not required to obtain the license and it is open to citizens and tax residents from over 112 countries.
It allows for the practice of a wide variety of activities in industries such as marketing, design, IT, consultancy and other service-based sectors.
These virtual licenses are an ideal way for individuals in digital based professions to establish a UAE company and gain access to new clients and new markets. With no need for residency in the UAE or physical office space, set-up and administrative costs are kept to a minimum and profits can be maximized.
How can Global Link help?
Global Link has over 16 years’ experience working with local and global businesses, providing bespoke consultancy services for company incorporation in Dubai and the wider UAE.
We can advise you on the best business license for your venture and provide support through the incorporation process and beyond, liaising with all relevant parties on your behalf to ensure a swift and seamless business setup.
If you need advice on virtual business licenses or for any other company incorporation, visa or PRO service, please get in touch with us on +971 4 553 9901 or email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.