Business Setup in DUBAI

Table of Contents

Introduction to Setting Up in Dubai

1. Introduction to Setting Up in Dubai

We always see a lot of advertisements on how cheap is to start a business in Dubai. But is it really?

Whether it is starting your business from $100 a month to full packages for $1,000, how accurate are these claims on the low cost business setup in Dubai?

The right and most accurate answer is, if you only need a license with nothing else, then it is pretty affordable. This means if you don’t intend to have an actual office or UAE residency, and so on, then the cost is quite minimal.

The moment you wish to establish an operational company, you’ll need to be aware of all the set-up costs, including visas and immigration charges. And not to mention these days, the compliance cost, as the UAE is no longer a zero-tax country.

Here are some standalone costs for business set up company in Dubai free zones.

Option 1

Option 2

In the following section, we will share with you a further breakdown of Dubai free zone license costs and expenses that you may face when you opt for your operational office setup in Dubai.

If you wish to read about the UAE mainland vs. the free zones jurisdictions, here is a practical article we drafted for you:

2. Detailed Business Set-up Cost in Dubai

Many of the investors we meet find it challenging to grasp the detailed costs associated with starting a business in Dubai.

We understand the frustration with phrases like “Starting From” – they often mislead readers into thinking they can establish their dream company in one of the world’s most prestigious cities, Dubai, with just a few euros.

If you’re considering setting up and operating a company in a Dubai free zone, here are the costs you need to consider. These costs are exact costs and charges taken from one of the free zones in Dubai:

Charges & Fees AED USD Frequency
License Fee (3 Business Activities
Shared Disk
Visa Cost: Allocation
Visa Cost: Immigration Card
Visa Cost: E-Channel
(may be waived under offers)
Visa Cost: Investor
2 Years
Visa Cost: Medical Test and Emirates ID – VIP
2 Years
Company Stamp
One time

Caveat: The above charges and costs, although exact as of today, are subject to change without prior notice.

Also, the reason for mentioning “Sub-Total” above is that opening a bank account for your company in the UAE requires proof of residency in the form of residential lease/ownership in your personal name.

This requirement can significantly influence your cost, depending on whether you lease a property in Dubai Marina, Dubai Palm, or opt for a more affordable location in another Emirate.

Want help with seeking help form a professional company set up service in Dubai, drop us a message on WhatsApp here.

We’re not done yet. In the upcoming section, we will provide you with details on the cost of hiring employees to give you a comprehensive overview of your office setup in Dubai.

3. Cost of Hiring Employees in Dubai

We are sharing another note with you to further explain the potential costs involved in opening business in Dubai.

While some might consider Dubai an expensive city for establishing and operating a business, there are undoubtedly outstanding opportunities that outweigh these costs.

Consider, for instance, one of the lowest corporate income tax rates at 9%. Additionally, your access to the Middle Eastern market, as well as Africa and India. And not to forget the boom of Saudi Arabia!

The cost-benefit analysis varies from one business to another, but a common cost element across businesses is the cost of hiring employees.

Let’s consider the example of hiring an accountant with 2 years of experience. It is advisable today to hire someone with a comprehensive understanding of the UAE VAT (Value Added Tax) and UAE corporate tax framework to accurately prepare and report your financials.

Here’s an example that illustrates the various costs:

Cost Type / Year AED USD Frequency
Salary (at minimum)
60,000 (5,000 monthly)
Visa and Medical Test
2 Years
Medical Insurance*
Bonus (one month salary)
End of Service Provision
Office Space, Laptop, Email License, Time off, Sick Leaves, Others

* Note: While there are options for cheaper medical insurance, employees who command lower monthly salaries, or companies that do not offer bonuses, the figures provided represent an average based on sound business practices.

* Caveat: The above numbers are averages and subject to change based on market conditions.

One of the beauties of Dubai, especially post-pandemic, is that outsourcing has become a common business model for many companies.

Services such as accounting, taxation, web design, content creation, social media management, and SEO are increasingly being outsourced.

In the specific case of accounting, you can easily outsource a Senior Accountant for AED 5,000 (approximately USD 1,362) a month. This approach saves you all the hassle associated with visas, insurance, and end-of-service benefits.

For offers on bookkeeping packages, check this page here:


In conclusion, while the initial costs of setting up and operating a business in Dubai may seem high, the strategic advantages and opportunities for outsourcing essential services can significantly mitigate these expenses. My message here is, Dubai can appear expensive, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it can be smartly affordable, making it a viable location for business expansion.

Want to obtain an initial cost to open a business in Dubai, answer these 7questions in here.