Doing Business in Dubai – What do you need to know? (Legal information)
What are the advantages of starting and running an Israeli business in Dubai? Many Israelis have begun to look into starting companies and businesses in Dubai, in a variety of fields. Dubai actively encourages international investment, and a wide range of opportunities for Israelis have opened up there. In this article, attorney Irena Rosenberg presents important information on starting a business in Dubai, the various permits required, and more.
The specialists in immigration and commercial law of the offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh assist their Israeli and international clients in starting businesses in Dubai, as well as a variety of other locations. Our office has extensive experience in the immigration field, and we provide a range of legal services including handling applications for business visas, registering and starting a company, and ongoing legal consultation.
Doing business in Dubai in the wake of the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates
August 2020 will be remembered as an historic month due to the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This agreement opened the possibility of doing business in the Persian Gulf states to Israelis for the first time. Among business destinations in the Persian Gulf, Dubai is a central target for Israelis, and with good reason. Dubai has become an international business center, scoring high on worldwide ease-of-business indices.
In what fields can Israelis start and run businesses in Dubai?
Dubai is particularly known for its petroleum and natural gas reserves, and accordingly, many energy companies operate there. Given developments in this field in Israel in recent years, it is likely that many cooperative ventures and Israeli petroleum and gas businesses will be opened in Dubai. In the high-tech field, blue-and-white businesses and start-up companies are also expected to appear, given Israelis’ decisive competitive advantage in this field, as well as the many potential benefits that the Dubai authorities offer to businesses with innovative models (such as business permits at no cost).
As a popular travel destination, Dubai will surely attract many Israeli tourists as well. Accordingly, Israelis will be able to start tour-guide businesses and tourist attractions. In the culinary field, in which Israeli has shone in recent years, exporting successful Israeli chefs to the world, Israeli restaurants and grocery chains are expected to open as well. This list, of course, is only a fraction of the many business opportunities that Dubai can offer to Israeli businesspeople, where one can surely say that the sky’s the limit.
The process of starting a business in Dubai
As we noted above, Dubai is an emirate that actively encourages business. Its tax policy greatly favors entrepreneurs and foreign investors, and its regulation of businesses is minimal in most sectors. In many cases it will be possible to open a business and obtain a business visa within a few days of arriving in Dubai; sometimes even in less than 24 hours.
Opening a business is done through the Dubai authorities, and requires submitting an application for the appropriate business license. It is important to make sure that the requested permit is indeed the relevant one for you. Our office has already begun assisting Israeli businesspeople who are interested in starting businesses in Dubai. In helping our clients, we work in cooperation with a leading firm in Dubai, while maintaining ongoing contact with authorities in Dubai and the Arab Emirates.
What are the differences between the various types of permits?
Licenses to operate businesses in Dubai are classified by region (a general license, called a “Mainland License”, as opposed to a Free-trade Zone License) as well as by sector. The sector classification includes four main categories: a professional license, a manufacturing license, a commercial license, and a license for a tourist business.
The first type of license applies to certain types of businesses based on professional skills, such as law, accounting, engineering, etc. As a rule, a professional license should enable foreign investors to hold 100% of the shares in the business. In such cases the company will still be required to appoint a local agent to handle formal matters, but the agent will not have a stake in or legal responsibility for the business.
The second and third categories of licenses are intended for businesses dealing with manufacturing and commerce. In these sectors, a division of ownership is usually required in order to obtain a license. The business will generally be divided between you and a local sponsor in a 51%/49% division. This division also applies to a tourist business permit, for which there are additional conditions as well, including a requirement of prior experience in operating a tourist business.
Contact an attorney specializing in commercial law and setting up businesses in Dubai
Israel is just setting out on the road to business cooperation with Dubai. Above we presented a survey of the various types of licenses in Dubai and the potential areas of opportunity for Israelis. If you are considering starting your own business in Dubai and you have specific questions, you can contact the law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh – an attorney specializing in immigration and commercial law will be happy to assist you. You can reach us at the telephone numbers or email address listed below.