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Dubai Launches Virtual Licence for Non-Resident Entrepreneurs

This initiative will support the emirate’s efforts for entrepreneurial growth and the Dubai 50-Year Charter agreement.

The government of Dubai launches a virtual licence to support the emirate’s efforts on entrepreneurial growth in the region by simplifiying the process which non-local entrepreneurs seek to introduce their business to the market. 

The announcement came from senior government officials at the Dubai Investment Week, where it was also revealed that the emirate’s growth rate is set to outgrow advanced countries in the upcoming years, as well as the announcement of certain initiatives aligning with Dubai Expo 2020’s 50-year charter announced earlier this year.

“I would like to announce the launch of the virtual commercial licence. The first of its kind, the lincence is granted without the need for a residence visa in Dubai. The initiative corresponds to the 50-year charter announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to ensure Dubai’s sustainability and prosperity,” says Sami AlQamzi, Director-General of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.

Virtual companies will be registered in Dubai to individuals who don’t reside in the UAE, with the eligibility criteria only open to owners of companies that are nationals or tax residents of certain countries. Additionally, residents of approximately 120 countries can obtain the virtual commercial licence with whom the UAE has signed double-taxation avoidance agreements. On the contrary, the licence will not automatically guarantee physical access to the UAE, whether it’s in a form of a business or visitor or resident visa to any of the company’ partners or employees.

“Dubai Government authorities are working on a simplified visa process for the holders of virtual company licence. A virtual company licence doesn’t automatically guarantee a business bank account in the UAE but it will at the discretion of the commercial banks. However, we can facilitate access to the account opening process,” states the Dubai Virtual Commercial City’s official website.

Virtual companies have the opportunity to undertake selected professional activities including services related to computer programming, design, consultancy, printing and advertising.

Based on the growth in investment and economic potential seen in Dubai’s Expo 2020, the emirate will continue to outpace global growth of advanced economies in the next couple of years, taking account of the uncertainties brought by various world events such as Brexit, the global trade war and the forecast for current oil prices. After Expo 2020, the Chief Economic Advisor of Dubai Economy, Dr. Raed Safadi says the government will push for growth driven by initiatives to be announced by the government under Dubai’s 50-year charter.

“First charter will be announced in early 2020. Charter will seek higher skills and higher digital technology adoption including further use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain,” adds Safadi.

The virtual licence costs $233 (Dh850) for one year which is divided into a startup fee of around $55 (Dh200) for sole proprietorship and for the licence. The two-year licence will cost $411 (Dh1,508) and $589 (Dh2,161) for three years.


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