Business Compliance Matters


Business Compliance Matters

Companies incorporated in the UAE are mandated to fulfil the responsibility of maintaining compliance with various government agencies. The UAE's growth to one of the most dynamic business hubs in the world has made this country an immensely attractive commercial destination. To ensure that this growth and success continue, it is essential that each new business venture complies with a standard set of directives and regulations. Each jurisdiction has its own sets of rules and regulations that it implemented and regulated.

The clearly defined procedures are simple to follow and cover all aspects of running a business in Dubai. The most basic rules of compliance are that you:


  • Have a business licence
  • Ensure that you are operating in the correct jurisdictions
  • Ensure that your employees have the correct employment permits
  • Ensure that you have the correct permits to operate the activity
  • Have an approved location


You need to be fully aware of what is considered to be breaking these rules and what the penalties are for not abiding by them. The fines range from AED 250 for failing to renew a licence within the specified time limit, to AED 20,000 for using Dubai Summer Surprises or Dubai Shopping Festival logos without permission.

Business Licensing and Registration Officers make regular random checks to ensure that companies licences are up to date and that they are complying with all regulations and that they have not changed any aspects of their business without approval from DED.

Other general compliance procedures to be aware of:

Company Registration Number

All registered companies in Singapore are required to have a registration license number called the invoices, official notices, and official publications, etc.

Registered Business Address

A registered local business address is required, and the office address must be noted on all invoices, letterheads, official notices, and official publications, etc.

Permits and Licenses

Depending on the type of business you would like to set up in the UAE, it is sometimes necessary to obtain a license and/or permit when you register your business with DED. DED will indicate if another approving authority is required to grant a license or permit during the application for name approval. Most businesses do not require licenses or permits to operate.

As all of the licenses have several layers of approvals, prior to investing a lot of money in your office and infrastructure there is an initial approval process which is undertaken. The level of requirements & due diligence for the initial approval is dependent on the categorization on the four main risk factors, evaluated on the basis of whether the business activity is harmful to human beings, harmful to animal life, harmful to plants, or harmful to the environment. The higher the business activity risk is considered, the longer the initial approval process from the different Ministries. The timeframes for the different approval processes will be quoted upon delivery of your proposal for incorporation. Business activities in Dubai have been categorized as No-Risk, Low Risk, Medium Risk and High-Risk for the sake of evaluating the risk component.

The Low-Risk category includes chemical plants and similar industrial operations that require pre-approvals from various authorities including Dubai Municipality and Civil Defence. These facilities have stringent standards often embedded in their design and they go through years of preparation and inspections. Hence, there is no risk in issuing them a license. It will in fact allow them to complete procedures like testing and hiring before starting actual operations.

Permits and Licenses

Category Type of Risk Duration for Approval
1 No 2-3 days
2 Low 3-7 days
3 Medium Quoted upon application
4 High Quoted upon application