8 Steps to Start Online Business in Dubai

Dubai is the epitome of electronic business. It is renowned for its incredible business and trading opportunities and is enriched by an economy having a high per capita income. The government has contributed significantly toward employment creation. Moreover, spending on infrastructure development has opened the doors to greater private sector involvement with free trade zones.


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A whole new breed of entrepreneurs is interested in setting up and running their businesses in Dubai – even those who do not prefer to relocate here. Dubai comes with a strong base in digital and physical infrastructures. The city has used digital marketing as a tool to promote its advancements. Due to high social media penetration in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the E-commerce market has witnessed massive growth. Experts are already anticipating retail e-commerce sales to reach a new high by 2022, from $4.28 trillion in 2020 to $5.4 trillion.


Simple steps for setting up a business online in the UAE

To set up an e-business in Dubai, we must adopt specific measures, including what the government requires. This process involves eight simple steps:

  • Strategic location: Choosing a Jurisdiction

A strategically significant city like Dubai has both onshore and offshore advantages. The city is divided into two main economic zones or jurisdictions:


It is also called onshore. Businesses incorporated globally can freely operate across the UAE and international markets. Mainland companies have no limit on employee visa quota depending on the company’s magnitude. They can effortlessly acquire government plans. We cannot establish an online business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Free Zone

Free zone businesses have no customs duties inside their margins. These jurisdictions are free-to-trade zones. At least 20 plus free trade zones are in Dubai, boosting trade and economic growth. This zone offers an array of activities focusing more on logistics and marketing. Online businesses get to enjoy a unique tax customs and imports regime. Companies in UAE-free zones are not allowed to operate in a restricted area without the help of a local agent. These free trade zones offer 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes.

  • Deciding the name for our company

While selecting the company name, we have to follow certain naming pacts. Dubai has strict rules regarding the trade name. It is necessary to remember these rules to have our trade name approved by the authorities.

While choosing a name for our business, we must follow these rules and regulations. They are implemented and deemed mandatory:

  • No offensive language or inappropriate names
  • References to Allah are prohibited – no mention or regard to religion, caste, or community
  • We should avoid the use of politically charged terms
  • No sectarian or political groups

If there is trouble understanding the rules, we must consider hiring a consulting firm with a deep understanding of the UAE, its culture, and customs. For registering the trademark of the company, it can cost us anywhere near AED 8,700 in Dubai.

  • Procurement of the preliminary endorsement documentation

We must get endorsement documentation, a particular contract, for initializing the e-business. Simultaneously applying for trade name approval and an initial approval certificate will help us save more time in the procurement process. It is valid for only six months, and it is non-renewable.

  • Website for your business credibility

A website is a hub that provides essential data regarding our business. It can also work as a straight platform for e-business. For a business website, a domain name is one of the most critical features of the website to secure web hosting. However, we have to optimise the website to improve our position on search engines and create good traffic. For this, we can take help from Business Ad Makers. Through a good website, we can make a name for our brand in the marketplace. A payment gateway will connect our website to a checkout system. A flexible payment system will increase the chances of increasing sales.

  • Online Marketing

To scale our business, we need to advertise relevant content to engage customers. We can use professional Business Ad Maker tools and SEO experts for this. The ultimate goal is for your business to rank on the first page for queries relevant to your business and business keywords so you can get seen by more searchers and drive more people to your website. This takes a successful SEO strategy. A quicker way to show up on search engines is with search engine ads, also known as search engine marketing (SEM), search engine advertising, paid search advertising, or pay per click advertising (PPC).

  • The application process to acquire visas

The number of visas we can apply for will depend on the size of our business and where we choose to set up. It is necessary to start the incorporation process for a company. The benefits of starting an online business include – no requirement of the physical infrastructure to conduct an online business. We require a legal address for holding an e-business that follows the guidelines in Dubai.

  • Initializing the process of gaining a license

We can run a business from anywhere in the world through this license. A license for business portrays a company’s activities. The type of license needed will depend upon the nature of business, activities, and the jurisdiction we choose. Examples are – A mainland license will be valid only for operating on the Dubai mainland, and authorities issue free zone trade zones licenses in a particular zone.

Getting a permit will take about a week, and we must renew it yearly. We must provide all details regarding our social media handles and servers related to business while applying for a license. We need to submit various documents, including the application form, passport copy, and passport-sized coloured photograph.

  • Opening a corporate bank account in Dubai

After obtaining a license and establishing our online business, we can open our corporate bank account in Dubai. Starting a bank account is rapid and straightforward. It is vital to submit all crucial documentation after choosing the concerned bank:

  • A passport photocopy
  • The original reference letter issued by the bank where we hold an individual or commercial account from either the native or foreign nation
  • An up-to-date C.V. or Emirates ID
  • Bank statements, at the latest up to six months, either from the home nation or any nation in the world.
  • Visa copy  


Dubai is a city of advanced digital facilities and infrastructure. The strategic location between Europe and the rest of Asia has made it attractive to businesses worldwide. The city has taken many technological initiatives to provide world-class internet services and transform e-commerce, thus promoting and increasing opportunities to host business online in the country. Starting an online business in Dubai is easy and can be done without visiting the UAE. Through expanding internet marketing, there is a transition from a retail business to building a robust online business.