How to set up your company in Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

April 5, 2017

The UAE’s free zones are well-known around the world – and it’s not hard to see why. With 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption on offer to those who set up within them, free zones offer one of the most attractive environments in the world to do business.

On top of these headline benefits, each free zone also offers its own particular advantages which differ slightly from others in the region. With that in mind, in today’s instalment of our weekly series highlighting the specific benefits of individual free zones, we are going to look at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Located in the heart of Dubai, at the centre of the Jumeirah Lakes Towers district, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre is the perfect place to set up your business. Twice crowned ‘Global Free Zone of the Year’ by the Financial Times fDi magazine, DMCC is home to a vibrant community, innovative infrastructure and world-class business services.

So, if you’re still considering your options when it comes to setting up in a free zone, below is everything you need to know to help you decide if DMCC company registration is right for you. So let’s look at some of the key advantages. 

1. Multiple office packages: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre provides several office solutions – flexi, virtual, communal and permanent – each offering its own distinct benefits. The virtual package is ideal for entrepreneurs who need a business presence in the UAE but have no requirement for physical office space. For those who require an occasional physical base, the flexi-desk package fits the bill, offering entrepreneurs many business services such as desk space, call screening and conference room hire on a flexible, ad-hoc basis. The added advantage of this option is that it allows entrepreneurs to apply for up to three visas. For those who need more than three visas, physical office space is required. With both the communal and permanent packages, office space can be taken in the stunning JLT district with its striking waterfront, breath-taking skyline and top-quality restaurants, hotels and facilities. 

With both the communal and permanent packages, office space can be taken in the stunning JLT district with its striking waterfront, breath-taking skyline and top-quality restaurants, hotels and facilities. 

2. Affordable company setup costs: Entrepreneurs can start a business in Dubai Multi Commodities Centre for under AED 100,000. This includes business registration fee, flexi-desk package and share capital which can be withdrawn later – everything you need to get started. 

3. Easy setup and registration: DMCC company registration is simple. Your initial application can be completed online and you will only be physically required to meet with free zone authorities once to sign the required legal documents. It is a good idea to work with a business setup expert at this stage to ensure all the paperwork is correct. Once complete, your new free zone company should be up and running in a little over two weeks.

4. Wide variety of business types welcomed: One of DMCC’s biggest draws is that it allows entrepreneurs to undertake a wide array of business activities without the need for a local sponsor. Aside from restricted activities such as real estate and manpower supply, there are few barriers to the type of business you can set up. Today in fact, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre is home to more than 13,000 businesses from industries as varied as agriculture, energy and financial services to diamonds, gold and base metals.

5. Auditing and bookkeeping requirements: DMCC’s strict bookkeeping requirements make it one of the most respected free zones among banks and other professional institutions. However, while regulations may be tight, that’s not to say they are complex. There is no requirement for DMCC Free Zone businesses to file accounts, while audits – which must be completed annually at the time of licence renewal – can be submitted via an automated online portal.

6. Share capital process and requirements: Entrepreneurs looking to set up in Dubai Multi Commodities Centre are required to pay share capital upfront. A minimum of AED 50,000 must be deposited into the company bank account no more than three weeks after the issuance of a business licence. This share capital can be withdrawn at any time once the process is complete.

7. Easy corporate bank account setup: The DMCC Free Zone makes it easy to set up your business bank account. Not only will you be offered assistance with finding the bank that’s right for you and completing any required paperwork, but as all major financial institutions acknowledge the comprehensive compliance practices of DMCC, the setup process is fast and straightforward.

8. Sponsoring dependants: As well as making it easy to apply for your own visa, the DMCC Free Zone gives entrepreneurs the option to apply for visas for dependants – providing salary requirements are met. Whether you require a visa for a spouse, child, maid or driver, the process is made up of four straightforward stages: entry permit, status adjustment, a medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping. So with this in mind, it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses – to ensure that before you start an application, both you (and those you’re hoping to sponsor) meet all of the entry criteria.

9. Multiple shareholders: Another factor that draws entrepreneurs to set up business in DMCC is that it allows for multiple shareholders. Entrepreneurs wishing to do so simply need to register a Free Zone Company (FZCO) which is essentially a Limited Liability Partnership within the free zone. Shareholders can be individuals, companies or a combination of the two.

10 Establishing a branch or representative office: For entrepreneurs looking to expand, the DMCC also makes it easy to open a branch of an existing business. The process is similar to setting up a new company: an online application followed by an in-person visit to sign the required documents. The process usually takes around two weeks.

For entrepreneurs looking to expand, the DMCC also makes it easy to open a branch of an existing business.

11. Location: Located in the bustling business district of Jumeirah Lakes, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Free Zone boasts excellent transport links via road, sea or air. DMCC sits just off the E11/Sheikh Zayed Road – half an hour from Al Maktoum International Airport and 20 minutes from one of the world’s busiest container ports, Jebel Ali. 

Setting up in DMCC

So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business in DMCC – what next?

There are a number of steps that need to be undertaken, some complex, some less so. Usually the first thing to do is choose your business activity. From here you’ll need to decide on your company name, complete and file your registration paperwork with the relevant authorities, open a bank account, and apply for any visas that may be required.

However, the specifics of this process will depend on the type of licence you are applying for and the kind of business you wish to run. That’s why before starting any of these steps, the first port of call should always be to a company setup expert who will guide you through every part of the process, ultimately ensuring the entire application requires little more than a few hours of your time.

About the author: Olga Melnik, Senior Formation Advisor at VirtuELITE (division of Virtuzone)
About the author: Olga Melnik, Senior Formation Advisor at VirtuELITE (division of Virtuzone)

Having spent the past seven years working in the field of legal company incorporation, Olga now works closely with entrepreneurs both locally and internationally in assisting them with their UAE company setup requirements. This includes both free zone and onshore in Dubai and other emirates across the UAE. Olga always advises each of her clients on the best legal setup for their particular needs, and in so doing she supports across the entire range of company setup, from legal translation to document certification to management of the entire communication and legalities with the local UAE company setup authorities. Olga was born and raised in the Ukraine and has a degree in Business Administration and International Law.