How to Set Up a Company in Dubai Internet City (DIC)

Look around, don’t you think everything that you see is better than before because of technology? Technology gives humanity tons of comfort and pleasure and makes the world appallingly beautiful, meaningful and leisureful! A million thanks to the tech and IT businesses that bring it to us! They simply deserve the best from the very beginning, believes Dubai. And that’s why Dubai Internet City (DIC) exists. The region’s foremost innovation and tech hub #WhereMindsClick. Carrying forward Dubai’s vision of transitioning into a knowledge-based economy, Dubai Internet City, since its launch in 2000, has been facilitating new as well as established technology organizations in starting their journey and growing upward and onward by providing a prosperous ecosystem. Facebook, LinkedIn, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and many other world-renowned brands in IT and Telecom sectors can be spotted in DIC changing the world using their breakthrough innovations. DIC not just nurtures Fortune 500 companies but also empowers SMEs and brings in leaders of global ICT to Dubai. There are at present 1,700+ businesses of all sizes in the business community. No wonder, the free zone today is North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) region’s most considerable ICT (Information & Communication Technology) hub!

Why Dubai Internet City for Business Setup?

Boasting more than 30 Free Zones offering myriad benefits including full foreign ownership and minimal or no taxes and zero customs duties to expatriate investors, Dubai has something for everyone whether one wants to start a commodity business, media company or tech-based company. Speaking of the latter, if you are on a quest for an ideal free zone to establish your first or next IT company in Dubai, Dubai Internet City is the place to be! Why? You may ask. Sure, you should know the benefits of the location before choosing it for registering your company. So without further ado, let’s look at the major advantages of incorporating your free zone company in Dubai Internet City:

  • Dubai Internet City is the largest ICT hub in the MENA region. The bigger, the better!
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • No currency restrictions
  • Zero personal, income and corporate taxes
  • Restriction-free repatriation of capital as well as profits
  • Metro Ethernet environment
  • Dynamic international community
  • Networking opportunities
  • Market development opportunities
  • World-class communications infrastructure on new innovative technologies
  • Digital voice and high-speed data services offered at competitive rates
  • Commercial offices, Business Centers (Executive Desk and Executive Office) and Conference Facilities
  • Metro Ethernet environment
  • Business centers, commercial offices, and conference facilities
  • Prompt access to knowledge workers
  • Company laws and legal framework conducive to business
  • Immediate immigration process
  • Protection of properties and assets
  • Freehold offices for both sale and lease at moderate rates
  • Easy and swift business formation

Trade Licence Types in Dubai Internet City

You can start a business in Dubai Internet City in one of the four ways available – FZ-LLC, Branch of UAE Company, UAE Company Establishment and Freelancer Permit. As far as Dubai Internet City trade licence is concerned, companies can request from the free zone authority a licence in the following categories:

  • Software: The licence issued in this category enables the licencee to develop, install, and/or modify their or third-party software products as a business
  • Telecommunication & Network: This licence type covers activities regarding the development, installation, modification, and/or operation of networks or delivery of related services aimed at operating network-based applications or services for either the company or a third party.
  • E-Commerce: This type of DIC business licence allows businesses to provide individual products and services to third parties via electronic media like a website, social media, internet search engine, etc. for enabling sales activities.
  • IT Service: This type of licence is for activities associated with the development and/or provision of standardized, repeatable IT-based services. This could also include localization, security solutions, corporate learning, and training.
  • Internet & Multimedia: This DMC licence authorises the holder to carry out activities associated with the development and/or distribution of multimedia or internet content. It may also include other activities, such as the distribution of goods or services using the internet.

Business Activities Allowed in Internet City of Dubai

It is paramount to know which activities are permissible by DIC. Manufacturing and direct trading of physical products in the UAE market are not allowed under any of the DIC licences. Dubai Internet City is dedicated to businesses intended to perform the below-mentioned activities:

  • IT Consultancy services
  • Software products – Development, modification and installation (either their own or third party)
  • Multimedia and internet content: Development and distribution
  • Development of online platforms: Providing online platforms for interaction between companies or individuals
  • Network-based applications and services: Operation, development, installation, modification
  • IT-based services: Providing or developing security solutions, localization and training

Required Documents for Dubai Internet City Business Registration

For Individual Applicants:

  • A certified lease agreement for approved office space within the free zone as proof of the physical address of the business
  • A notarized Power of Attorney appointing the agent (if a local representative agent is involved)
  • A filled-in personal information sheet for the applicant and any shareholders or managers
  • Copies of the applicant’s passport
  • Applicant’s resume
  • Initial approval of intended activities from the Free Zone Authority
  • Trade name approval
  • Any additional documents requested by the registrar
  • A capital investment of AED 50,000

For Shareholder-based corporate applicants

  • A certificate of registration (business licence or certificate of incorporation) for the existing company notarised by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin
  • A board resolution (notarised by the UAE Embassy in the origin country) from the existing company board of directors expressing intent to incept the new setup in Dubai
  • Documentation of the physical address of the existing business
  • A duly notarised Memorandum of Association or Articles of Association for the existing company
  • A lease agreement for the new approved office space in DIC
  • Copies of the Passport and CV of the designated Manager
  • Completed personal information sheet for each shareholder and manager
  • Shareholders’ passport copies
  • Proof of initial approval from the DIC authority for initial activities
  • Trade name approval certificate
  • Any additional documents requested by the registrar (if applicable)
  • Capital investment of at least AED 50,000

For foreign company branches

  • Shareholders’ passport copies
  • Copies of passport and CV of the designated Manager of the branch office
  • Fully filled sheet of personal information for each shareholder
  • Proof of trade name approval
  • Proof of initial approval from the authority for requested business activities
  • A notarised (by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin) Memorandum of Association or Articles of Association for the existing company
  • A duly notarised board resolution from the existing company board of directors expressing intent to incorporate the Branch Office in Dubai Internet City
  • A certificate of registration for the parent company. This can be a business licence or a certificate of registration for the parent company notarised by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin
  • A certificate of good standing granted by the registrar of companies in the origin country and approved by the UAE Embassy
  • A lease agreement for minimum approved office space as a proof of the physical address of the new branch
  • A feasibility study or business plan
  • Documents describing the company profile
  • Proof of physical address of the parent company
  • No minimum investment is required to establish a Branch Office of foreign companies

For individuals:

  • Passport copy and resume of the applicant
  • Personal Information sheet filled with the applicant’s details
  • Proof of trade name approval/reservation for the new branch
  • Proof of initial approval provided by the free zone authority for the new branch
  • Notarised Memorandum of Association and/or Articles of Association for the existing main branch
  • Commercial lease agreement outlining minimum office space as required by the authority
  • Attested and notarised certificate of registration for your existing company/entity, licence or certificate of incorporation of your existing company/ entity
  • Proof of the parent business address
  • No minimum investment is required for setting up a branch office of local companies

How to form a company in Dubai Internet City?

The process of business formation in Dubai Internet City is pretty straightforward. First and foremost, you must acquire a relevant trade licence from the DIC authority in order to become a part of the business community, where a number of instantly recognizable information technology brands coexist to access the regional markets. DIC business licences are dispensed by Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA). You can form primarily two types of companies to conduct commercial operations from Dubai Internet City – a Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) and a branch of a foreign company (there is also an option for a UAE company branch).

The process of setting up a company in Dubai Internet City completes in two stages:

Stage 1: Obtain initial approval from the DIC Authority by submitting the following documents:

  • Licence Application
  • Detailed Business Plan
  • Intended business activity/ies
  • Passport copies and CVs along with contact details of Shareholders, Directors and Managers
  • A Power of Attorney (must be furnished if a legal representative is making the application on your behalf)

The company name cannot contain any of the words “co,” “ltd” or “limited” and must be followed by “FZ-LLC”. Just so you know, FZCO and FZ LLC both are same and can be formed with one shareholder or multiple shareholders. Be informed that Dubai Internet City supplies template documents to make the report completion process easy for the applicants.

Stage 2: Submit application to obtain the trade licence right after receiving the initial approval. A letter of undertaking must be signed by the shareholders and the second set of documents must be submitted:

Documents in case shareholders are natural persons

  • Licence Application
  • Attested Resolution of Incorporation of FZ-LLC
  • Original notarised copy of RIC (Registration Identification Code) Form for shareholders, directors, and managers
  • Bank reference letter for shareholders
  • Proof of share capital from bank or Trust Account deposit receipt
  • NOC for the Manager from the current UAE sponsor

Additional documents (original & notarised) in case shareholders are corporate entities

  • Company Incorporation Certificate
  • Certificate of Continuity, Existence or Good Standing
  • MOA and AOA of Parent Company

The DIC authority will dispense the licence within a week or two after a thorough review of the application. Once you have the licence you can start the visa process and open a corporate bank account.

Meet Your Dubai Internet City Business Setup Advisor

At Adam Global Dubai business setup consultancy, we not just assist you with the process of business formation on the mainlands but also, in free zones in the UAE as well. And Dubai Internet City is no exception. Okay, let’s face it! Registering a business in the Internet City requires you to jump through several hoops, from choosing an appropriate trade name, obtaining the NOCs from various authorities, getting initial approval, registering the company and collecting finally the trade licence to leasing a perfect office premise suiting your business needs and pocket. Working with our business formation specialist in Dubai, navigating the bureaucracy of business authorities in the region becomes an easy breeze. By passing the buck to our experienced business setup consultant in Dubai, you don’t have to worry about the gruesome paperwork and the other spadework involved. The best part is that we are a one-stop shop for all kinds of business solutions, so after your new business or branch is up and running, you already know where you have to go for post-business formation services such as office fit-out, bank account opening, business insurance buying, accounting & bookkeeping, corporate secretarial services, VAT-relation operations and other compliance services. We make your entrepreneurial journey a cakewalk at any point in time. Just a call away, we are happy to meet you over a cup of coffee or two and know your business needs to come up with the best advice and options. And yes, your first consultancy is on the house!

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