The UAE and Israel have recently gone public with their efforts to normalise relations between the two nations.
While we have long been partners in scientific research, technology and other fields of national importance, rulers of both countries now wish to encourage greater business links. This opens up a world of opportunity to Israeli entrepreneurs looking to make a mark in the UAE’s thriving business environment.
Businesspeople of Israel are welcomed into this environment with open arms. And, when you work with a company formation expert, starting your business here is fast, affordable, and straightforward.
So, if you’re looking to switch jurisdictions, expand your business beyond Israel, or start anew in the UAE, here’s everything you need to know.
Can Israelis start a company in Dubai?
Absolutely. Relations between our countries are stronger than ever. The UAE and Israel have a comprehensive bilateral agreement that incentivises and protects investors in each nation.
All investments are protected from non-commercial risks such as confiscation, asset freezing, and judicial seizure.
What’s more, the UAE has a long-standing law that protects foreign entrepreneurs and business people’s investments without exception. This is a major factor behind the country’s consistently high ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index.
When it comes to the process of setting up a business out here, there are no additional hoops to jump through. Israelis simply follow the UAE’s time-tested company formation procedure.
How Israelis can start a business in the UAE
When you work with a local expert, you can start your UAE business in just seven simple steps.
Step 1: Choosing your business activity
The first step for Israelis starting a new business in the UAE is to outline your business activities.
You must include the details of every activity you wish to carry out, whether it’s trading a specific product or consulting in a specific field. Failure to do so could lead to issues later.
Your activities must align with a published list, but there are thousands to choose from, so you are sure to find one or more that fit.
It’s important to undertake this step first as it will likely have a bearing on the most suitable setup and license for your business.
Step 2: Deciding on a company license
Next, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the license types on offer in the UAE. For the most part, these are self-explanatory.
If your business activities fall into the category of industrial or manufacturing, then you will require an industrial license. If you are in the commercial sector – i.e., buying and selling goods – you will require a commercial license. Similarly, those offering professional services will require a professional license.
Step 3: Picking a company name
The next step is to choose your company name. It’s important to note that the UAE has a strict set of naming conventions. You should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting.
Your company setup agent will check that your chosen name is available before registering it for you.
Step 4: Deciding on a free zone or mainland setup
Another hugely important decision for Israelis setting up in the UAE for the first time is whether to do business from the mainland or a free zone.
There are definite advantages to both. Free zones like Fujairah Creative City offer benefits such as a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support, and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions.
Mainland businesses meanwhile can trade directly with the UAE market and take on government contracts.
Once again, a local company formation expert can help at this stage, advising on the best setup for your business.
Step 5: Making your license application
With the important admin out the way, you make your UAE trade license application. The exact process here depends on the license you require, and whether you have decided on a mainland or free zone setup.
If you are setting up in the mainland, you should apply to the relevant body such as the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). If you are setting up in a free zone, you can apply directly to the managing authority. In both cases, a company formation expert can manage this entire process for you.
Whether making your application yourself or through a company formation agent, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:
- Completed application form.
- Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners.
- Two colour passport size photos.
Step 6: Applying for your visa
As well as applying for your license, you can also apply for any visas that you may require. This includes your residency visa, visas for company employees, and those of domestic staff such as housekeepers or drivers.
The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.
The process for citizens of Israel is the same as any other, following five simple steps:
- Apply for an entry permit.
- Status adjustment.
- Medical and fitness test.
- Emirates ID registration.
- Visa stamping.
Step 7: Opening your business bank account
The final step for Israelis starting a business in the UAE is to open a corporate bank account. There are various local and international banks to choose from, however, opening an account can be a complicated process for overseas entrepreneurs.
Before making your application, you should first familiarise yourself with several financial institutions to find one best suited to your business needs and most likely to offer you corporate banking services.
Are you Israeli? Start your business in the UAE with BIZ
If you’re armed with the right knowledge, starting a business in the UAE as an Israeli doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that making an application is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ) when establishing a new company in the UAE.
We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
As well as handling your license application, BIZ can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.
We also offer visa and immigration services, and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits, and visa applications required to trade in the UAE.