Dubai’s economy is known for its openness and dynamism, providing opportunities for companies to operate globally. Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, introduced the first Virtual Company License in Dubai. This initiative is a collaborative effort involving Dubai Economy, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Smart Dubai, and the Supreme Legislation Committee.
The Virtual Company License primarily targets three key industries: creative industries, technology, and services. With a virtual license, foreign entrepreneurs can establish businesses in the UAE without the requirement of residing in the country. It is important to understand the specific requirements and the application process to successfully apply for a virtual license.
What is a Virtual Company License in Dubai?
A new regulation called a Virtual Company License, or Virtual Commercial License enables foreign business owners to digitally establish a company in Dubai without relocating there. As a result, owners of Virtual Company Licenses can manage all business-related tasks digitally, including document signing and submission, and the signatures are recognized as valid in the UAE.
The virtual company license in Dubai is available to citizens of about 120 nations with which the UAE has DTAA. Furthermore, the UAE wants 100,000 businesses to be part of the virtual city through this initiative.
Commenting on the announcement, His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, said:
“We are proud to launch the first Virtual Commercial City in the region that will provide virtual licenses for doing business digitally and without requiring residence in Dubai, in partnership with the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs. The initiative underlines the role of Dubai’s Economy in shaping the future of business as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It also marks a quantum leap in the concept of doing business and will be a major attraction for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Eligibility Requirements for Dubai’s New Virtual Company License
To qualify for a virtual company license in Dubai, entrepreneurs must meet certain prerequisites:
- You can not be a resident of the UAE to apply for the virtual company license in Dubai.
- Only foreign citizens of the approved countries can apply for a virtual company license in Dubai.
- You can only perform business activities from the predefined sectors with your virtual company. The predefined sectors include consultancy, and related activities, service activities, computer programming, and design activities.
- You will be subject to the rules and regulations regarding corporate affairs and taxation of your home country.
- If the revenue of your virtual company surpasses $100K per year, you will be subjected to the 5% VAT in UAE.
Starting a virtual company in UAE will not give you permission for physical access to the UAE. You will need to acquire a visa to enter the country.
There are 101 countries whose citizens are allowed to apply for a virtual company license in Dubai. The eligible countries include:
• Saudi Arabia
• South Africa
And the non-Eligible countries include:
• Sri Lanka
Starting a Virtual Business in Dubai: Step-by-Step Guide
To establish a virtual business in Dubai, follow these steps to apply for a Virtual Company License:
- Fill out an online registration application form as the initial step of the process.
- Undergo a background investigation, which typically takes one to thirty days.
- Attend an identification and validation visit, where your identity and business details will be verified.
- Once the verification process is complete, obtain the virtual company license by paying the required fees.
By following these steps, you can successfully start your virtual business in Dubai and begin operating under the Virtual Company License.
What Are the Business Activities Permitted Under a Virtual Company License?
Before applying for a virtual company license in Dubai, you will need to determine the business activities you want to perform. You will need to keep in mind that the business activities will be conducted remotely. You should choose a business activity that suits your skillset, capabilities, and financial resources.
There is a specific list of business activities that you can perform under a virtual company license. These business activities come under three main categories. Here is the list of business activities permitted under a virtual company license in Dubai:
1. Service activities
- Design & Artwork Services
- Books Binding
- Promotional Gifts Preparing
- Typesetting Services
- Greeting Cards Production & Distribution Services
- Color Separation Services
2. Computer programming, consultancy & related activities
- Computer Systems & Communication Equipment Software Design
- Public Networking Services
- Managed Cybersecurity Services Provider
- Electronic Chips Programming
- Social Media Applications Development & Management
- Cyber Security Architecture
- Cyber Risk Management Services
- Auditing, Reviewing & Testing Cyber Risks
- Marketing Services
3. Creative Design
- Interior design
- Calligraphers & Painters
- Product Design
- Fashion Design
- Jewelry Design
Documents Required for Virtual Company License in Dubai
- Passport-sized photograph on a white background
- Scanned copy of Passport
- Proof of tax residency
- Proof of present address, like a utility bill or official letter
- Phone Number & Email Address
Cost of Virtual License in Dubai
Starting a virtual company in Dubai is one of the best decisions you can make right now as an entrepreneur. Starting a virtual company is one of the most affordable ways to start a business in Dubai. The cost of virtual company license will depend on some factors, like the type of business activity and the validity of the license, among other factors. Here is a breakdown of the cost of obtaining a virtual company license in Dubai:
- For trade name registration: Around AED 700
- For the virtual company license: Around AED 1800 per year
- For identification and passport validation: Around AED 300
Advantages of Virtual Company License in Dubai
The advantages of starting a virtual company in Dubai are huge. You will have access to the Dubai market by starting a virtual company in Dubai without even relocating to the country. The potential for growth is also very high.
Here are some of the advantages of starting a virtual company in Dubai:
- Starting up is affordable with low initial costs.
- Your business can be accessed online, making it easily available to potential customers.
- Dubai’s thriving business environment offers numerous opportunities and benefits for entrepreneurs.
- You can expand your client base, explore new markets, and attract investment.
- Your business can be listed in the directory of virtual businesses, increasing its visibility and reach
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What is a virtual company license in UAE?
A virtual company license allows foreign entrepreneurs to start a virtual company in UAE without moving to the country. This means you can digitally setup a business in UAE and run your business operation remotely. You will not need to move to the country to start a virtual company. However, you will need to be a citizen of one of the 101 eligible countries to be allowed to apply for the virtual company License in UAE.
How to start a virtual company in Dubai?
Here are steps you can follow to start a virtual company in Dubai:
- Choose your business activity
- Select a company name
- Register your company
- Upload the documents
- Monitor the Progress of Your Application for a Virtual Business License
- Verify your identity with VFS Global
- Pay the relevant cost
How do I register my virtual company?
You can register your virtual company by visiting the official website of the Dubai Virtual Commercial City. You will need to complete a provided application form with relevant information when registering the company. You will also be required to upload the relevant documents required by the authority. This step usually takes around one month to complete.