What are the costs associated with business setup in Dubai?

What are the costs associated with business setup in Dubai?

Business setup Dubai offers a world of opportunities due to its strategic location, favorable tax regime, and pro-business environment. However, establishing a business here also involves various costs that potential investors need to consider. This comprehensive guide will break down these costs into different categories, helping entrepreneurs and businesses understand what to expect financially when setting up in Dubai.

1. Initial Considerations

Before diving into the specific costs, it’s essential to understand that Dubai offers various business zones, each with its own rules, regulations, and cost structures. These include the Mainland, Free Zones, and Offshore areas. The choice between these zones will significantly impact your overall setup costs.

2. Business Licensing and Registration Fees

The first step in establishing a business in Dubai is obtaining a business license, which varies depending on the type of business activity, the chosen jurisdiction, and the legal structure of the business.


  • Commercial License: Required for trading activities. Costs can range from AED 10,000 to AED 30,000.
  • Professional License: For service-oriented businesses, costing approximately AED 10,000 to AED 20,000.
  • Industrial License: Necessary for manufacturing or industrial activities. The cost can vary significantly depending on the scale of operations, typically starting from AED 20,000.

Free Zones

  • Free Zone licenses can vary greatly, ranging from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000, depending on the Free Zone and the type of business activity.

3. Office Space and Infrastructure

The cost of office space is a significant factor in the overall expenses of setting up a business in Dubai. Rates can vary widely based on location, facilities, and size.

  • Mainland: Office spaces in the mainland area of Dubai can range from AED 40 to AED 160 per square foot per year.
  • Free Zones: Many Free Zones offer flexi-desk or shared office options as a cost-effective solution, starting from AED 15,000 per year. Dedicated office spaces in Free Zones can cost upwards of AED 30,000 per year.

4. Visa and Immigration Costs

Obtaining visas for you and your employees is an essential part of setting up your business in Dubai. Costs include visa fees, medical testing, and Emirates ID registration.

  • Investor Visa: Can cost around AED 10,000.
  • Employee Visa: Depending on the role and qualification, costs can range from AED 3,000 to AED 7,000 per visa.

5. Legal and Consultancy Fees

Many businesses opt for legal and consultancy services to navigate the setup process smoothly. These services can include company registration, license application, drafting legal documents, and more.

  • Consultancy Fees: Can range from AED 15,000 to AED 30,000, depending on the complexity of the business setup.
  • Legal Fees: Depending on the services required, legal fees can range from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000.

6. Insurance Costs

Business insurance is a crucial factor to consider, protecting your business against unforeseen events. The cost depends on the type of business, coverage amount, and risk factors.

  • General Liability Insurance: Starting from AED 1,000.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: Can vary widely based on the level of coverage, starting from AED 5,000.

7. Additional Considerations

Bank Guarantees and Deposits

Some business activities and licenses require bank guarantees or deposits, which can range from AED 50,000 to AED 100,000.

Utility and Connectivity

Setting up utilities and internet services for your office space is another cost to consider. Initial setup fees and monthly bills can vary based on usage and service providers.

8. Ongoing Operational Costs

Once the business is set up, there are ongoing costs such as employee salaries, utility bills, annual license renewals, and more. It’s crucial to factor in these recurring expenses when budgeting for your business setup in Dubai.


Establishing a business in Dubai is an attractive proposition for many entrepreneurs and companies worldwide. While the emirate offers a business-friendly environment, understanding and planning for the associated costs is crucial for a successful setup. By considering the various expenses outlined above, businesses can better prepare for their venture into Dubai’s dynamic market.