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How to Setup an Online Business in Dubai


Setup an Online Business in Dubai | Online business license Dubai


As technology evolves, it continues to thrive, shaping the way we live and do business. The digital realm has seen a remarkable rise in e-commerce ventures, making Dubai a prime destination for entrepreneurs looking to launch online businesses.

The onset of the pandemic forced businesses to pivot towards online platforms, reflecting the growing reliance of consumers on digital solutions. It's clear that digitization is a crucial factor in ensuring business relevance both today and in the years to come.

By harnessing the power of technology, businesses can establish a strong online presence and significantly expand their reach. Embracing digital opportunities is key to leaving a lasting impact on the online landscape and maximizing business potential.

Steps to Start an Online Business in Dubai, UAE

When considering setting up an online business in Dubai, there are various steps that are involved in the process of getting your business up online.


Businesses operating in the mainland can conduct operations across the UAE and internationally. They are licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Mainland businesses have the advantage of no restrictions on employee visa quotas based on office size and can engage in government projects.

Free Zone

On the flip side, businesses established in free zones enjoy the advantage of exemption from customs duties and taxes for transactions conducted within the free zone boundaries. This significantly bolsters trade activities, particularly in terms of import and export operations. Free zones are known for offering a wide range of business activities, with a strong emphasis on logistics and trade facilitation. These jurisdictions are commonly referred to as free trade zones.

Opting for a free zone as your preferred jurisdiction eliminates the need for a local agent. Additionally, you have the flexibility to structure your online business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The decision between operating on the mainland or within a free zone hinges on factors such as the nature of your online business and its target market reach.

Step 2. Choosing the Perfect Company Name and Acquiring Your Initial Approval Certificate

While it might not always be top of mind, selecting your company name holds significant importance. In the UAE, adherence to strict naming conventions is crucial for obtaining approval from regulatory authorities.

Step 3. Initiating the Process of Acquiring Your Online Business License

After finalizing your jurisdiction and location preferences, the next step involves applying for your online business license. The specific type of license required will vary based on your business activities, nature, and the chosen jurisdiction.

Your online business license will be issued by Dubai authorities. The licensing process typically takes about a week and requires annual renewal. During the application, you'll also need to furnish details about all relevant social media channels and accounts associated with your business.

As part of the online business license application process, drafting and submitting a Memorandum of Association (MOA) is necessary, specifically if you opt for mainland jurisdiction for your online company.

Step 4. Visa Application process

One of the many benefits of starting an online business is that you do not require office space, neither do you need to be physically present in the UAE to conduct your online business. However, you will need to have a legal address in order to conduct online business in accordance with the UAE rules.

If you do want to have a physical office in Dubai, you and your employees will need to have a valid visa. Having an online business license in Dubai does enable you to have a valid visa for 2 years after which it should be renewed every year.

The number of visas you can acquire will depend upon the size of your business and jurisdiction. With an online business license, you also have the opportunity to sponsor dependents such as your family members as well as employees.

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