Cost Breakdown: How Much Does It Really Cost to Set Up a Business in the UAE?

Set Up a Business in the UAE

Setting up a business in the UAE is an attractive option for many entrepreneurs due to its strategic location, business-friendly environment, and numerous economic benefits. However, understanding the costs involved is crucial for effective financial planning. Here’s a detailed cost breakdown to give you a clearer picture of what to expect when setting up your business in the UAE.

1. Business Licensing Fees

The type of license you need depends on the nature of your business. Common licenses include commercial, industrial, and professional licenses. The cost for these licenses varies:

  • Commercial License: AED 10,000 – AED 30,000
  • Industrial License: AED 20,000 – AED 40,000
  • Professional License: AED 7,000 – AED 20,000

2. Office Space

Renting office space is a mandatory requirement for most business setups in the UAE. Costs depend on the location and size of the office:

  • Free Zones: AED 15,000 – AED 50,000 per year for a small office.
  • Mainland Dubai: AED 40,000 – AED 100,000 per year for a small office.

3. Visa Costs

Entrepreneurs and their employees will need residence visas, which also involve costs:

  • Investor Visa: AED 3,000 – AED 5,000
  • Employee Visa: AED 5,000 – AED 7,000 per visa

4. Sponsorship Fees

If you choose to set up a business on the mainland, you will need a local sponsor:

  • Sponsorship Fees: AED 10,000 – AED 50,000 annually, depending on the agreement with the sponsor.

5. Initial Approval and Trade Name Registration

Before obtaining your business license, initial approval and trade name registration are required:

  • Initial Approval: AED 1,000 – AED 3,000
  • Trade Name Registration: AED 500 – AED 1,000

6. Additional Approvals and Permits

Depending on your business activity, additional government approvals may be necessary:

  • Government Approvals: AED 1,000 – AED 5,000
  • Special Permits (e.g., health, safety): AED 500 – AED 3,000

7. Memorandum of Association (MOA) Drafting

Legal documentation such as the MOA needs to be drafted and notarized:

  • MOA Drafting and Notarization: AED 2,000 – AED 5,000

8. Bank Account Opening

Opening a corporate bank account in the UAE often requires an initial deposit:

  • Initial Deposit: AED 10,000 – AED 50,000 (varies by bank)

9. Miscellaneous Costs

Other costs to consider include administrative fees, attestation of documents, and PRO services:

  • Administrative Fees: AED 1,000 – AED 3,000
  • Document Attestation: AED 500 – AED 1,500
  • PRO Services: AED 5,000 – AED 10,000 annually


The total cost of setting up a business in the UAE can vary significantly based on the type of business, location, and specific requirements. On average, entrepreneurs can expect to invest between AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 to get their business up and running. By understanding these costs and planning accordingly, you can ensure a smoother setup process and a solid foundation for your business in the UAE.

For expert assistance and a hassle-free business setup experience, consider partnering with professional consultants like Creative Zone. They can provide tailored solutions and support to help you navigate the complexities of establishing your business in the UAE.

John Rogers

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