IT Company Setup in Dubai UAE

How to Setup an IT Company in Dubai?

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Have you been dreaming of starting your own IT company in Dubai? As one of the top tech and business hubs globally, Dubai offers great opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in the IT industry.

Why Dubai is a Great Place to Start an IT Business

Dubai has invested heavily in tech infrastructure and e-governance over the past decade. Some key advantages of setting up an IT company in Dubai include:

  • Strategic location and connectivity to global markets
  • Excellent IT infrastructure – high-speed internet, cloud services, etc.
  • Supportive government policies like tax breaks and incentives for tech businesses
  • Availability of skilled tech talent – programmers, developers, designers etc.

The demand for IT services in Dubai is driven by industries like:

  • Financial services – banking, accounting
  • Healthcare – hospitals, clinics, medical device companies
  • Retail and ecommerce – online shopping portals, delivery apps
  • Transportation – logistics companies, fleet operators

This article will walk you through the key steps for successfully starting your own IT company in Dubai.

Step 1: Conduct Thorough Market Research

The first and most critical step is to deeply understand Dubai’s existing IT landscape by conducting thorough market research. This will help you identify gaps and opportunities to establish your niche.

Some niche areas seeing strong growth are:

  • Cybersecurity – securing data, networks, cloud infrastructure
  • Cloud computing and SaaS – web/mobile apps, software platforms
  • Custom software development – mobile/web apps, APIs
  • Blockchain – decentralized ledger technology applications
  • Artificial Intelligence – predictive analytics, conversational AI, computer vision

Make sure to choose an IT niche with solid growth prospects specific to Dubai and the UAE. Analyze your target customer segments and their needs. Speak to at least 5-10 potential customers before finalizing your offering.

Step 2: Decide the Right Business Structure

You can set up your IT business in Dubai under different structures:

Mainland Company

This allows 100% ownership by an Emirati or foreign investor. It requires appointing a local service agent or sponsor.

Free Zone Company

This allows 100% foreign ownership without needing an Emirati partner. There are over 20 free zones in Dubai catering to specific industries like tech, media, finance etc.

Offshore Company

This allows 100% overseas ownership without paying corporate taxes in UAE. But an offshore company cannot conduct business within Dubai or UAE directly.

Each structure has different requirements, costs and compliance processes. Consult experts to choose the right one aligning with your niche, ownership and expansion plans across Dubai/UAE.

Step 3: Obtain Relevant Licenses

To operate legally, your IT company will need to obtain relevant licenses such as:

  • Trade License: Allows conducting business activities legally
  • Immigration Card: Residence visa for foreign owners to live/work in Dubai
  • Municipality Permit: Approves office premises for commercial activity
  • Activity Permits: For specific IT activities like consulting, software dev, cloud services etc.

Consult authorities like Department of Economic Development to understand the exact licenses your niche will need.

Step 4: Set Up Your Office

The next step is finding the right office location and setting it up suitably. Prime business districts in Dubai include Downtown, DIFC, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City etc.

Factor in aspects like:

  • Type of office space needed
  • Accessibility via road and public transport
  • Visibility and reputation of location
  • IT infrastructure – high-speed internet, power backup etc.
  • Budget for rental, utilities, maintenance charges

Co-working spaces offer flexible, low-cost options too. Budget for office furniture, tech equipment, and software as well.

Step 5: Build Your Core Team

A reliable core team is crucial for success. Leverage Dubai’s diverse talent pool to build a skilled team covering:

  • Technical – developers, designers, systems admins
  • Service delivery – project managers, business analysts
  • Sales and marketing – lead generation, digital marketing
  • Admin and accounts – HR, legal, finance functions

Utilize recruitment portals, head-hunters and employee referrals to find qualified candidates. Getting initial employment visas and contracts right is vital. Offer competitive packages to attract top talent.

Register your company with authorities to remain legally compliant always. Open a corporate bank account to easily manage finances and transactions.

Key legal paperwork covers:

  • Business contracts – vendors, clients, employees
  • Company registration documents
  • Accounting systems and tax
  • Data protection policies
  • Employment terms and employee policies

Consult a legal advisor to ensure all business processes and paperwork adhere to Dubai/UAE laws. Stay on top of compliance requirements as the business scales.

Step 7: Start Marketing Your Services

Once fully set up, it’s time to get those first clients! Widen your net by:

  • Building an appealing website showcasing services
  • Networking within your target industry
  • Participating in IT events and conferences
  • Running social media and online ad campaigns
  • Registering on supplier portals of large enterprises

This multi-channel strategy will generate leads and convey credibility to prospective buyers. Offer free trials or POCs to demonstrate your capabilities.


Setting up a successful IT company in Dubai requires diligent planning, significant investment and persistent effort. While the process can seem daunting initially, the long-term rewards are well worth it. Stay patient and committed even if early traction is slow. Identify gaps, adapt quickly and continue enhancing your offerings. Soon, you will be on the road to building a thriving IT business in Dubai!


How much capital is required to set up an IT company in Dubai?

To set up an IT company in Dubai, you will need capital of around AED 150,000 to AED 500,000 depending on size and structure. This covers licenses, office space, legal fees, staffing, hardware and initial operating costs.

What taxes do IT companies pay in Dubai?

If registered in free zones or as an offshore company, your IT business will not pay corporate taxes in Dubai. With a mainland license, you will need to pay up to 20% corporate tax. Value-added Tax (VAT) of 5% also applies on goods and services.

How long does it take to get an IT business license in Dubai?

It typically takes 4 to 8 weeks to obtain an IT business license in Dubai after submission of all documents and fees. The process can be expedited by engaging professional business setup services.

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Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

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