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Cost of doing a business in UAE

Entrepreneurs are using the UAE as their headquarters more and more often. It's not a surprise, because the Emirates has some stout advantages to it:
  • Flat corporate tax rate: 0-9%
  • Regulatory clarity: Transparent regulations, streamlined compliance — 13th place in the EGDI world ranking
  • Overall appeal: 5.3% record GDP growth, innovation, and profitability
According to Numbeo's 2023 Safety Index & World Economic Forum, the UAE is ranked as the second safest country out of 163 nations.
$1.83bn invested in the UAE tech startups in 2022 according to Geo Annual Report: UAE Tech 2023.
UAE still remains the global transportation hub with Dubai airport being the 2d busiest in the world in 2022 & 2023. The average flight time from Dubai to European, Asian & African capitals is 7 hours.
If you desire to launch a start-up or are willing to relocate your company to the UAE, you should know how much it costs to run your business. How much is the business license, what taxes are there, and what about visas? All of these and more about the cost of starting a business in the UAE here.

Business License

The average business license cost is 5,000 AED for a small business to 100,000 AED for a corporation. It depends on the team size, business activity, and jurisdiction. For example:
  • Small business license in Dubai starts from AED 8,000.
  • Financial or Crypto licenses cost between AED 10,000 and AED 50,000.
You must renew your license yearly, so include this amount in your annual expenses.
With movingo you can avoid all the hassle of calculating expenses. We have designed our packages especially to support entrepreneurs in long term. If you want to get financial help with a cool discount - fill out the form and we will contact you with a personal offer.

Visas and another docs

There are two residency visas for entrepreneurs in the UAE:

Residential visa

This is a standard option for most cases. You can stay in UAE for 2 years. Let's look at the 2-year visa cost. It includes:
  • Visa application fee: from AED 3,000 depending on the Emirate
  • Medical examination fees: approximately AED 500
  • Emirates ID card fees: you need this document for registration in the UAE. Cost starts from AED 270 to AED 370
  • Visa stamping fees: from AED 500 to AED 1,000 (approx.)
So the final expenses can be variable from AED 5,000 to AED 10,000 if you also consider the service fees.

Golden visa (investor visa)

Entrepreneurs can also apply for a golden visa for 10 years. For this, you must meet several conditions:
  • Business valued at AED 1,000,000
  • Recommendation letter from a government/incubator/accelerator
  • Audited financial statements for 2 years
Another way:
  • You are earning AED 30,000
  • 6 months' financial cushion based on what you earn
The cost of a Golden Visa is the same as a Residential Visa — is nearly AED 5,000.
Looking for a business visa and don't want the hassle of registration? Movingo gently supports and leads you through the process, just fill out the form below. We will contact you and give you the care you need.

Corporate Tax registration

To pay taxes, you must register at the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) official website. After that, you will have to make a financial report. With movingo it costs AED 1,500.
This is a mandatory one-time fee. Failure to do so may result in a fine of AED 10,000.

VAT registration & reports

You should register as a VAT payer if your taxable supplies and imports exceed AED 375,000. You can also do this voluntarily when if the value of your taxable supplies and imports is between AED 187,000 and AED 375,000.
The average cost of VAT registration in UAE is AED 1,500, it includes the fee of VAT registration -AED 500.

ESR notification & reports (optional)

The Economic Substance Regulation (ESR) is the legal framework for companies' involvement in specific activities. These entities must file economic substance notifications with regulators, about their operations. Providing this notification is a prerequisite for submitting an economic substance report. The cost depends on the company's revenue.
If your company does business in any of these areas, you need to deal with these reports:
  1. Banking Businesses
  2. Insurance Businesses
  3. Investment Fund Management Businesses
  4. Lease-Finance Businesses
  5. Headquarter Businesses
  6. Shipping Businesses
  7. Holding Company Businesses
  8. Intellectual Property Businesses
  9. Distribution and Service center Businesses
Penalties for failing to file reports can range from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000.

AML reports (optional)

Anti-money laundering (AML) reports are documents used to detect suspicious activity related to money laundering or terrorist financing.
It’s mandatory for all Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs):
  • Banks, finance companies, exchange houses, money service businesses (including hawaladar or other monetary value transfer services)
  • Insurance companies, agencies, and brokers
  • Securities and commodities brokers, dealers, advisors, investment managers
  • Virtual asset service providers (VASPs)
  • Other entities engaged in regulated financial activities
The cost of submitting AML reports starts from AED 2,000, but depends on the specific situation of each financial institution.


Accounting is a mandatory part of any business in the UAE, according to Federal Decree-Law No. (47) of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations and Businesses and Cabinet Decision No. (75) of 2023.
Services fees vary from 500 AED up to 50,000 AED / month. It depends on several factors:
  • size of the company
  • qualifications and experience of the accounting team,
  • brand
  • extra options, etc.
In movingo we offer a wide packages line, of all business sizes It starts from AED 500/month and includes custom package with full support and powerful extra features:
  • FREE VAT and Corporate Tax registration, and VAT return
  • FULL everyday legal support/ PRO support/ month