Starting a business in Dubai just got easier thanks to the newly launched Virtual Company License in Dubai. This new virtual business license in Dubai will allow foreign business owner/investors to set up a business in the city without actually residing in the UAE! Interested to know more? Continue reading find out about the new virtual business license and how you could possibly start a business in Dubai from your home country!
What is a Virtual Company License?
The Virtual Company License aka the Virtual Commercial License is a new directive that enables overseas entrepreneurs to digitally establish a business in Dubai, without acquiring a residence in the city. Application of the new virtual license in Dubai is open to foreign businesses from over 101 countries and covers main sectors including creative industries, technology and services.
The new Dubai Virtual Company License aims to align with the third Article of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s 50-Year Charter to build a Virtual Commercial City in Dubai.
Commenting on 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 licences 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 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 CRITERIA FOR THE NEW BUSINESS LICENSE IN DUBAI
Here are some of the virtual company license requirements entrepreneurs have to meet to be eligible.
Criteria to start virtual companies in Dubai
- Applicants of the Virtual Company License cannot be residents of the UAE
- Owners of virtual companies in Dubai must be national or tax resident from any of 101 approved countries. This includes India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Unites States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan etc. (Visit VCC’s official website for the full list of approved countries)
- Only business activities from the pre-defined sectors can set up a virtual business in Dubai. The predefined sectors include service activities related to printing and advertising; computer programming, consultancy and related activities; and design activities in fields fashion, jewellery, interiors amongst others.
Apart from these, virtual company owners in Dubai must remember that their companies will continue to remain subject to corporate, individual income and social taxation of the country where they are based.
Also if the virtual company’s revenue within the UAE exceeds $100k per year, they will be subject to the 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UAE. This means that a Dubai Virtual Company License holder will be required to register the company with UAE’s Federal Tax Authority.
Another important thing to note is that the Dubai Virtual Company License does not automatically guarantee physical access to the UAE through a business/visitor/resident visa to any of the company members. The same applies to open a business bank account in the UAE. Opening a bank account will be subject to the discretion of commercial banks
Visit the Dubai Virtual Commercial City’s (VCC) official website to get the exact details of the qualification criteria of the Virtual Company License in Dubai.
STEPS TO APPLY FOR THE DUBAI VIRTUAL COMPANY LICENSE ONLINE
To set up a virtual business in Dubai, the overseers business owner needs to apply for the Virtual Company License. Here is the application process for the Dubai Virtual Company License.
1. REGISTER THE COMPANY
Visit the Dubai Virtual Commercial City’s official website to initiate the registration process for the virtual company. Here you will need to fill out the online company registration form. Details such as your name, contact details, date of birth, passport information and your previous experience with Dubai if any, will have to be entered. The owner must also enter the trade license name of the company and define the business activity that they intend to carry out.
2. UPLOAD THE DOCUMENTS
The next step is to upload the following documents. Here is a list of required documents fo the Virtual Company License, that has to be uploaded online.
- Passport copy (with more than 3 months till expiry)
- Proof of address (any utility bill or official letter, not more than 3 months old)
- Proof of tax residency (if you are not from the approved countries)
- A recent photo on white background (not more than 3 months old)
3. TRACK THE STATUS OF YOUR VIRTUAL COMPANY LICENSE APPLICATION
Once the application is submitted, the information submitted will be sent for authentication. The Dubai Government authorities carry out the authentication via a background check. This virtual company license verification step can usually take a month, so ensure that all the submitted information is accurate. After the screening process, the owner will receive an email notifying them of either an approval or rejection.
4. Confirm your identification at VFS Global
After receiving the approval the owner will need to go in person to VFS Global for identification and passport verification. A visit to VFS Global must be pre-booked by making an appointment from their website or sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. A charge of EUR 75 (AED 300) + applicable taxes in the selected country, must be paid as a service charge for this step.
5. PAY THE COST OF THE VIRTUAL BUSINESS LICENSE
After successfully validating the identification at VSF Global, owners will have to pay the Dubai Virtual Company License cost. The fee can be paid via ePay, which is the VCC’s official payment gateway, provided by the Dubai Government’s Smart Dubai. This Virtual Company License fee is calculated based on the license validity selected in the online company registration form.
The total cost of the Virtual Company License in Dubai for a sole proprietorship, is AED 850, i.e. AED 200 for company name and AED 650 per year for a virtual company license.
With Expo 2020 just being less than a year away, the opportunities for innovation and partnership have grown tremendously. With the new virtual business license in Dubai, this is expected to grow. Almost 100,000 companies are expected to bring their business ideas and services to Dubai thanks to this virtual company license.
For more information on all the details mentioned here, make sure to visit the VCC’s official website. If you are living in the UAE and are looking to start your own business, here a guide on how to start a business in Dubai. If you’re planning to start an online-based business in the city, make sure to familiarise yourself with the e-trader license which works as a home business license in Dubai.