Geographical barricades are for humans, not businesses! Then why should a business idea be limited to where you live or work? Thought Dubai, and thus the “virtual commercial licence” came into existence. Keep reading if you’ve got get-up-and-go to start a company in Dubai with no intention to reside in the emirate.

The word “virtual” has been fascinating people for time immemorial. In hindsight of what’s going on around the world, more and more people are turning to virtual company setup in a business-friendly city. Maybe the ongoing pandemic, maybe the tons of business opportunitiesor maybe the ever-growing technology, the world is getting virtual at breakneck speed. And we are not complaining. In this hyper-connected digital world, you don’t have to be physically present in the location where your target market is. Setting up a company virtually overseas is like a walk in the park more than ever, especially if your heart is set on Dubai for business. Featuring all the success ingredients, Dubai issues a virtual company license, so entrepreneurs and investors from the world over can bring their pipe vision of doing business in a foreign country to life from the comfort of their home state. Perks? There are plenty of them. And one of them obviously is you can reach a brobdingnagian and profitable market remotely without having to move physically into the country of operation.

Why Dubai?

Also known as the “city of superlatives”, Dubai is not just infamous for breathtaking skyscrapers, picturesque sightseeing attractions, beguiling beaches, jaw-dropping man-made islands and state-of-the-art road infrastructure. You may find these aesthetics in some other countries too like New York, Hong, Schengen as well. Then what is it that makes the emirate stand out on the world map? What calls hundreds of thousands of people to Dubai with a dream in their heart to work and live here? What is it that makes Dubai bewitching to millions of tourists? Why do entrepreneurs and business persons from across the world gravitate towards Dubai to incorporate or expand their business? It is obviously beyond just the awe-inspiring city skyline or driverless trains. Not just one, two or a handful of things don’t make Dubai the most sought-after place to live, work and invest in, but the fact that it has something for everyone does.

Bursting at the seams with tons of expats and tourists, Dubai is every bit business-perfect. Huge market within the vicinity, trade-friendly environment pioneered free zones with 100% foreign ownership & other perks, tax-free policies (no income, corporate or personal taxes but VAT of 5%, only if applicable), straight-forward rules & regulations, low-cost setup & renewal structures, ongoing & ambitious legal reforms, long-term visas… Dubai, without a doubt, is no less than a paradise for business persons and their likes. Dubai twinkles with all things beautiful and meaningful, entrepreneurs hanker after. And virtual company licence just gilds the lily!

What is a virtual company licence in Dubai?

A combined initiative of Dubai Economy, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Digital Dubai and Supreme Legislation Committee, virtual company licence has made the life easier for those entrepreneurs who wish to commence a company in Dubai and conduct business activities from anywhere. Allowing the foreign nationals to incorporate business in the emirate without residing here, the new virtual business licence aka virtual commercial licence lights up the path to new worlds of opportunities, especially during these turbulent times. Under this scheme, overseas entrepreneurs from over 101 nations can digitally establish a business in Dubai, revolving around three main sectors – creative, technology and service – without relocating to Dubai or any other emirate of the UAE. The Johnny come lately licence is zeroed on aligning with the third Article of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s 50-Year Charter to build a Virtual Commercial City in Dubai (VCC), Dubai government’s ambitious project that will be a new hub for trade, innovation, and e-commerce

Why virtual company licence?

Virtual Commercial City and the virtual company licence jointly provide an unparalleled opportunity to launch and develop your business. The licence aims at those individuals who always wanted to breathe life into their dream of having a business in Dubai without leaving the country they are based in. This means that Dubai’s VCC licence owners can manage all their business-related activities, including document signing and submission electronically, and the signatures are legally binding in the UAE. The key to unlocking the door to the world of new possibilities where virtual meets real, the virtual company licence of Dubai is structured keeping the legitimate entrepreneurs in mind who desire to celebrate their innovative achievements in a new-sprung, growing market.

What are the perks of opening a virtual company in Dubai?

Dubai’s VCC licence enables entrepreneurs, freelancers and investors worldwide (limited to 101 countries or so) to do business in Dubai digitally sans needing residence and in accord with the highest international legal standards. The VCC licence holders can access a regulated e-commerce platform and easily work with Dubai-based companies while also exploring new markets and investment opportunities digitally. Let’s look at the other benefits of doing business in Dubai virtually and digitally. Opening a virtual company with VCC licence simplifies your work and life through the provision of:

  • Low costs and administrative burdens to initiate and grow your company
  • Online access to your company
  • Access to tons of business opportunities in Dubai
  • Access to new customers, markets and investment opportunities
  • Participation in virtual companies’ directory
  • Access to DubaiStore.com

Who is eligible for the Dubai virtual business licence?

Overseas entrepreneurs have to meet certain criteria to be eligible to apply for a Dubai virtual company licence. You might want to keep a few important things in mind while wondering to obtain a Dubai virtual licence i.e.,

  • First and foremost, virtual business licence applicants cannot be residents of the UAE
  • The official website of VCC has a full list of VCC-eligible and ineligible countries. The applicant of Dubai virtual commercial licence has to be a national or tax resident from any of 101 approved countries. This includes Germany, France, Finland, Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan and others.
  • The virtual company owners can perform only location-independent business activities that belong to pre-defined sectors in Dubai. These sectors involve service activities associated with printing & advertising; computer programming, consultancy & related activities; and design activities in fields of fashion, jewellery, interiors amongst others.
  • Besides these pre-set standards, the companies incorporated under virtual commercial licence in Dubai will continue to remain subject to taxation policies (corporate/individual income/social taxes) of their home country.
  • In addition, the businesses operating in Dubai under virtual business licence are required to register themselves with UAE’s Federal Tax Authority if their annual revenue within the UAE hits the threshold of $100k to be able to pay 5% value-added tax (VAT) to the UAE government.
  • Be informed, Dubai’s virtual business licence 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 opening a business bank account in the nation. Opening a bank account will be subject to the discretion of commercial banks.
  • Last but not least, all virtual companies will automatically get access to DubaiStore.com, an online marketplace that caters to all companies registered with Dubai Economy.

For exact details of the eligibility criteria in regard to virtual company licence in Dubai, refer to the official website of Dubai Virtual Commercial City.

What business activities are permitted under a virtual company licence?

The companies operating under Dubai virtual business licence should come under three main industries: Creative industries, Technology industries and Service industries

Service activities related to printing & advertising:

  • Books Binding
  • Typesetting Services
  • Color Separation Services
  • Design & Artwork Services
  • Greeting Cards Production & Distribution Services
  • Promotional Gifts Preparing

Computer programming, consultancy & related activities:

  • Computer Systems & Communication Equipment Software Design
  • Electronic Chips Programming
  • Web-Design
  • Social Media Applications Development & Management
  • Cyber Security Architecture
  • Public Networking Services
  • Cyber Risk Management Services
  • Auditing, Reviewing & Testing Cyber Risks
  • Managed Cybersecurity Services Provider
  • Marketing Services Via Social Medi

Creative Design:

  • Fashion Design
  • Jewelry Design
  • Design Services (interior design, garden design)
  • Calligraphers & Painters
  • Product Design

How to apply for the Dubai virtual company licence?

To start the application process, all you need is your laptop and an internet connection. Dubai Economy accepts applications for the virtual company licence from business persons and investors in 101 countries (mentioned in the heat list) through the website www.vccdubai.ae. If you are not hands-on with online methods or have any doubts regarding the application process, you may also apply for the licence through the offices of VFS Global located across 11 countries worldwide.

Steps to register a virtual company in Dubai

Forming a virtual company in Dubai is as easy as ABC. Just five steps and voilà! Let’s take a look at them:

  • Complete the online company registration form available on the Dubai Virtual Commercial City’s website.
  • Upload the required documents viz. a copy of your passport (with validity >3 months), address proof (any utility bill or official letter, not more than 3 months old), proof of tax residency (if you don’t come from any of the listed approved nations) and a recent photograph with white background and let the authority perform a background check that usually takes 1-30 days.
  • Keep tracking your application. Within a month or so, you will receive an email confirming the approved/disapproved status of your VCC license application.
  • Visit VFS Global for self-identification and passport verification purposes on application approval. You can book an appointment with them online by paying AED 300.
  • Once the identification is complete and validated by VFS Global, pay the virtual business licence fee i.e., $233 or AED 850 through the official payment gateway portal on the VCC’s website.

What is the cost of virtual company licence in Dubai?

The fee towards virtual company licence varies depending on the validity term. A virtual business licence with one-year validity costs $233 or AED 850 (AED 200 start-up fee for sole proprietorship + AED 650 for the licence). While the cost of a two-year licence is $411 (AED 1,508), the three-year licence will cost $589 (AED 2,161).

Bring your A-Game with AG!

Contact us for any assistance in establishing your virtual company in Dubai, UAE. The team of qualified and experienced Dubai business advisors at Adam Global makes sure your entrepreneurial journey is free from any bumps. We help you every step of the way – from getting the virtual trade licence and virtual company registration to business expansion and everything in between. Click hereto benefit from our free consultancy in Dubai.

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