How to Open and Set up a Software Company in Dubai

Dubai is ranked first in the world for foreign direct investment or FDI and also for technology transfer in the robotics and Artificial Intelligence sectors. The blockchain sector is growing at a rate of 24%, and there are also more than a 1000 blockchain companies in Dubai as of 2020. Dubai is making rapid progress in its aims of becoming a smart city, and given that software is at the heart of all these, company formation in UAE makes financial sense to anyone thinking about starting a software company in the Middle East.

Steps to Open a Software Company in Dubai

The first step involves zeroing in on a suitable location for your company. There are several free zones where you could establish your software company, or you could open your software company on the mainland. Out of some 45 free zones in the United Arab Emirates, some 30 of them are located in Dubai. You could choose a free zone like Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, International Free Zone, or any other. The advantage of free zones is that they offer dedicated infrastructure.

If you are establishing your software company in a free zone, it is to be kept in mind that only Limited Liability Company structures are possible in free zones. In other words, if there is more than one shareholder in the company, all shareholders have equal participation in the company. If you would like to have minority shareholders and majority shareholders in your software company, it is recommended that you establish your company on the mainland.

The next step is to draw up the company formation documents. These might be better known to you as the Memorandum of Association if there is only one owner for the company. In case there are multiple owners, the company formation documents are more likely to be familiar to you as the Articles of Association. If you are setting up a Branch Office, that is to say it will be fully owned by another company, the company formation documents might be known as Articles of Incorporation.

Irrespective of the nomenclature, the company formation documents specify the name of the company, who the owner(s) is/are, and the purpose for it is being established. An experienced company formation expert can help you draw up the company formation documents and also get them notarized by a Notary Public so that they have legal validity. It is strongly recommended that you get in touch with a company formation expert, who can also recommend the best company structure for your software company.

Once you have drawn up the company formation documents and gotten them notarized by a Notary Public, you need to select a suitable office space for your software company in Dubai. A free zone offers multiple configurations from a single shared desk in a co-working space to a fully furnished office, replete with meeting rooms. Or you could lease a semi-furnished office space from the Free Zone Authority and do up the interiors yourself. There is a lot of flexibility to be had in a free zone.

However, it is on the mainland that you will be more accessible to your clients as well as the other way around, that is your clients will be more accessible to you. There are still plenty of options to be had when selecting your office. The rule of thumb is that you need about 100 square feet of office space for every employee you plan to hire. You need to enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the landlord and get this registered so that it becomes an Ejari or a legally binding Tenancy Contract.

The address of your office on the mainland becomes the registered office address of your software company in Dubai when company registration and a Business License are granted. You can change your registered office address only once every year, at the time of renewing your Business License. However, in a free zone, you can shift into a larger or smaller office at any time without changing your address, because your address is a PO Box at the free zone.

For grant of company registration and a Business License for your software company in Dubai, you need to submit the company formation documents and the Lease Agreement (if you are planning to open your software company in a free zone) or Ejari (if you are planning to open your software company on the mainland). If in a free zone, the application is to be submitted to the respective Free Zone Authority. If on the mainland, the application is to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development, Dubai.

You would also be required to furnish additional documentation, such as copies of the passports of all the shareholders. If they are resident in another country, proof of residency in the shareholder’s respective country of residence also needs to be submitted. If everything is in order, you are granted company registration and a Business License for your software company in a matter of days.  With that, you are ready to commence operations.

You can now proceed to open a corporate bank account to make and receive payments with ease.

List of Documents Required for Opening a Software Company in Dubai

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your visa, if already in the UAE
  • A copy of your Emirates ID, if already a resident of the UAE
  • A No-Objection Certificate or NOC from your Local Sponsor, if already a resident of the UAE
  • Articles of Incorporation / Company Formation documents
  • A copy of your Lease Agreement (if in a free zone) or Tenancy Contract (if on the mainland)

Why Choose A&A Associate LLC for Opening a Software Company in Dubai?

At A&A Associate LLC, we have years of experience helping establish companies on the mainland and in free zones in Dubai. We can be counted for all matters of business setup in Dubai as well as mainland company registration. We have been of professional assistance to clients from 100 countries around the world, and we have an excellent client satisfaction rate so far. For more details, call +971 56 408 6728 or send us a message using the contact form below.

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