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Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED)

About Dubai

Dubai is the second most populous and second largest emirate of the UAE federation. Dubai’s capital, also named Dubai, is the largest city in the country. Dubai has the world’s tallest building, its busiest airport and one of the busiest container ports. It is the GCC’s most important financial centre and, the world’s fourth-most-visited city.

Forward looking policies, as well as Dubai governments’ constant engagement with investors ensure that confidence is strong in the emirate. Dubai’s profile as a preferred investment destination of choice in the Arab World, makes it the ideal destination for entrepreneurs from across the world to start their first business or to expand an existing one. The city is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and it offers a good quality of life and high living standards. 

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The Basics

The UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL) sets out the rules to incorporate a limited liability company (LLC) in Dubai. All company incorporations, outside of free zones, are handled by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

The CCL includes an important clause limiting foreign ownership.  Any company established in Dubai must have a UAE or GCC national shareholder holding at least fifty one percent of the capital.

Foreign investors generally put in place arrangements to protect their minority interest.  Dubai Business Zone provides advice on the terms of those arrangements commonly known as “side agreements”.  We have helped hundreds of business owners by providing them peace of mind when it comes to incorporating a business in Dubai via the DED.

Update: How To Have A Full Ownership Of Your Business In Dubai?


DED Dubai company can operate under these types of licenses:

Commercial License

Encompassing trading activities;

Industrial License

Encompassing industrial or manufacturing activities;

Professional License

Encompassing professional services;

Documents Required to Start aN LLC Company in Dubai

The Dubai government is a strong believer in e-government and is actively working on transitioning many bureaucratic procedures via an online portal. The below set of documents are those that are currently required and may be subject to change as the process switches to an online system.

Current list of documents required:

  • DED license form
  • Company name reservation form
  • Copy of the passport and Emirates ID card of the UAE or GCC national or company documents of the LLC shareholding company
  • If it is an industrial license, technical and environmental assessments might be required
  • If it is a professional license, educational documents proving proficiency in the service offered may be request if applicable
  • If the foreign shareholder has an existing UAE residence visa, a NOC from the sponsor is needed
  • If the shares are held by a company instead of an individual, they need to be notarised and attested. If they are held by a foreign company, you will need to have them legally translated to Arabic and then attested by the home government, UAE Embassy and UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Copy of the passport and Emirates ID of the foreign shareholder(s) and general manager
  • Memorandum of association (notarised at the public notary)
  • Lease contract along with map of the location
  • External approvals (if applicable)

Timeframe for Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

The timeframe to get a licence from the DED can range from 4 to 12 weeks. If the business requires approvals from additional departments such as the Dubai Municipality or Federal regulatory bodies, standard timelines can extend to several months. Speak to our consultants for further details.