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Virtual Offices and Online Licenses: A Guide for Non-Resident Entrepreneurs in Dubai

Do you want to start a business in the UAE without relocating? You can do it with a virtual office and a virtual license. In 2023, these innovative solutions allow foreign entrepreneurs to operate businesses legally and remotely from the UAE.

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Below, we will answer some common questions about the said options:

  • What is a virtual office and how can it benefit your business in the UAE?
  • How can you get a virtual license for your business in the UAE?
  • Are virtual offices legal in the UAE?
  • Who can apply for a virtual office and a virtual license in the UAE?
  • What kinds of businesses can you run with a virtual office and a virtual license in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?
  • Do you need to visit the UAE to set up your virtual office and get a license?
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How a virtual office can boost your business in Dubai

With a virtual office in Dubai, you can have a legal and postal address for your business in the UAE without paying for a physical space. It is a smart and lawful solution that helps you grow your business worldwide as well as cut the costs associated with rent, utilities, and personnel.

Why foreign entrepreneurs should consider virtual offices in Dubai

A global hub for living, working, and investing, Dubai boasts a huge market and connects you to other countries and continents. As a bonus, Dubai lets you own 100% of your business in free zones, with no taxes and great benefits for non-resident entrepreneurs.

With a virtual office in Dubai, you receive a chance to run your business from abroad. Here’s what a virtual office gives to non-resident business people in the UAE:

  • legal address for your business
  • mailing address for outgoing and incoming mail, which can be forwarded to your actual location
  • phone number with voicemail services
  • meeting rooms and customer service offices (on demand)
  • administrative services
  • virtual customer support with remote call centers.
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To start your business in Dubai, you need to choose the right company structure. It can be an offshore, onshore in a free zone, local, or virtual one. International Wealth experts can help you with that. Contact us today and have your business set up in Dubai fast and easy!

BUSINESS IN THE UAE

What a virtual office means for your business in Dubai

A virtual office is a great option for entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in Dubai without renting a physical space. With a business in Dubai, here’s how you can benefit from a virtual office:

  • Save money on rent, utilities, and staff.
  • Customize the office to fit your needs. You can choose from different services and packages to create your ideal virtual workspace.
  • Stay legal and secure. A virtual office is a lawful option for some business sectors and is only for non-resident entrepreneurs of the UAE.
  • Boost your image and reputation. You can have an official company address in Dubai and do business across different countries.
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FYI: To open a virtual office in Dubai, you need to get a virtual business license first.

How to get a virtual license for your business in Dubai

A virtual license is a legal document that allows foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in Dubai without having a physical office. The Dubai Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DED) issues it to some types of businesses with foreign owners. With a virtual license, you will enjoy the same tax benefits and incentives as other businesses in the UAE’s free zones.

A virtual license is ideal for startups or small businesses that want to enter new markets but don’t have enough money for a physical office. You can run your business in UAE free zones remotely from anywhere in the world with a virtual license.

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You can get a virtual license and office in the UAE online in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. For further assistance, act smart and contact International Wealth experts to ask them about the issues that worry you.

Who can apply for a virtual business license in Dubai?

Do you want to have a business in Dubai without living there? You are welcome to do it with the Dubai Virtual Commercial City (VCC) program. This is a new program that lets freelancers from more than 120 countries get a virtual business license and office in the UAE. You don’t need a resident visa or work permit to apply. 

The VCC program is a joint initiative of the Dubai Department of Economic Development and Tourism and other government bodies.

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FYI: As mentioned above, the VCC program is open to citizens of over 120 countries that have Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) with the UAE. These include France, Germany, China, Turkey, and many more.

If you want to start a business in Dubai without renting a physical office, you need to apply for a virtual office and license. Here are the main requirements for you to qualify:

  • As a company founder, you shall be a citizen and tax resident of an approved country. 
  • Your business activities in Dubai must be within the approved categories for virtual licensing. Here’s what they include:
    • book printing, publishing, and advertising  
    • computer programming, IT consulting, and other IT services 
    • services in fashion design, jewelry design, interior design, and more.
  • As a company or a sole entrepreneur, you will pay taxes on your business income in the country of residence. If your annual income in the UAE is more than USD 100,000 (AED 375,000), you will have to register with the Dubai tax authority and pay a 5% value-added tax (VAT).

FYI: A virtual business license in Dubai does not give you the right to get a UAE business, tourist, or residency visa, or access to financial services and the local banking sector. However, it does let you use DubaiStore.com, which is Dubai’s online marketplace.

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You are welcome to open either a corporate or a personal bank account in the UAE or any other jurisdictions worldwide supported by the International Wealth expert team. Simply message us or browse our service catalog to find what you need.

How a virtual office and license can benefit your business in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi comes with more virtual business opportunities than Dubai for foreign entrepreneurs. In Abu Dhabi, you can start a business in 13 economic sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, various service industries, export, import, and more.

To get a virtual office, you can either set up either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or become a sole proprietor in a UAE free zone. This way, you will retain the right for 100% of your business in the UAE.

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FYI: Virtual licenses are only for foreigners who are not tax residents in the Emirates. Virtual offices in Dubai are also an option available to UAE non-residents only.

Final thoughts: how virtual office solutions help foreign freelancers and companies in Dubai

Do you dream of having a business in Dubai but don’t want to move there? With the UAE government’s new opportunities for foreign investors and non-residents, your dream may soon become a reality. In 2023, you can enter the global market and start a business in the UAE while staying in your home country.

The opportunities are numerous for freelance workers from overseas, offshore company owners, and founders of free zone businesses in the UAE. These are the goals they can achieve in the Emirates:

  • get a virtual office and license in Dubai without being physically in the UAE
  • do business worldwide with a Dubai virtual license and pay taxes only in the country of residence
  • open bank accounts in the UAE and other jurisdictions.
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Are you about to launch a business in the UAE? Make it more efficient with the range of International Wealth services! Our experts are here to assist you with any corporate, tax, and banking solutions in the UAE.

Is a virtual office legal in the UAE?

Perfectly. For an entrepreneur to use a virtual office in the UAE, they shall be a UAE non-resident, have no business ties with local companies or customers, and own a business in any of the categories approved for virtual licensing,

What online businesses can you start in Dubai from abroad?

In Dubai, you can get a virtual license for various services in printing, advertising, IT, and design.

How do foreigners with a virtual license in Dubai pay taxes?

If you have a virtual license in the UAE, you will pay taxes on profits in your country of tax residency. You will also have to register with the UAE tax authority and pay a 5% VAT if your income is more than USD 100,000. A virtual office in Dubai is only for residents of those countries that have Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements with the UAE.

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