Established in the year 2000, in the heart of “New Dubai”, Dubai Internet City (DIC) has gained the reputation of being the largest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Business Park in the Middle East and North Africa. Dubai Internet City provides a tactical and economical platform for ICT companies trying to capture emerging markets from Indian subcontinent to Middle East, and from Central Asia to Africa. Its strategic location (25kms from Dubai, Shaikh Zayed Road to the South, Palm Jumeirah to the North, and Marina district to the West) plays an important role in attracting dynamic IT international community to setup their operations in DIC.

Setup by the government of Dubai, this economic free zone boasts of world-class infrastructure, business-friendly environment, flexible legal structure, and affable ecosystem for global and regional companies to set up their ICT business in the United Arab Emirates. DIC now houses renowned ICT companies comprising global giants like Microsoft, Cisco Systems, IBM, HP, Dell, Canon, Siemens, General Electric, Sun Microsystems, Computer Associates, PeopleSoft and Sony Ericsson along with other promising entrepreneurial ventures.

Reason to Setup Company in Dubai Internet City

Dubai Internet City is one of three initiatives of the Emirates government to develop Dubai into a knowledge-based economy. Knowledge Village (for academic institutes and training centers), Dubai Media City (for media-related companies), and DIC (for Technology companies) form the cornerstones of the government’s vision for Dubai’s growth.

Huge market for IT products and services in the Middle East and the abundant advantages that the UAE Free zones offer (tax exemptions, 100% ownership, liberal policies, etc.) continue to drive start-ups, successful technology SMEs, global IT players (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and Fortune 500 companies to register their business presence in the UAE.

Dubai Internet City is the perfect place for IT business setup as it offers the best technology start-up ecosystem in Dubai and has all the elements of the an ICT value chain. Robust IT infrastructure, extensive talent pool of multi-lingual and skilled staff, tranquil landscape, state-of-the-art offices, excellent retail services, residences and hotels, and 24-hour security ensures that this IT free zone is the strategic base for over 2 billion IT people contributing towards a GDP of $6.7 trillion.

Here are few reasons why DIC is the ideal location for your company formation:

  • 100% exemption from personal and corporate income taxes for 50 years
  • 100% exemption from customs duty
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% repatriation of profits
  • Dynamic international community
  • Opportunities for business interaction and networking and market development
  • Communications infrastructure based on next-generation technologies
  • Digital voice and high-speed data services offered at competitive rates
  • World’s largest commercial IP telephony network
  • Reasonable operating costs
  • Pre-existing infrastructure, business conference facilities, and commercial office setup apt for technology companies
  • Presence of star hotels, and retail chains, 24 hour medical help and security and access to advanced fitness, banking, and ATM facilities

Business Set Up Process in Dubai Internet City

Specific legislation and regulation laws related to Employment, Dispute resolution and Licensing apply to the companies looking to for commercial opportunities in DIC. Setting up a business in Dubai Internet City is not tough once you approach a reliable service provider. There are multiple company formation formalities that need elaborate planning and decision making, and it’s always advisable to have a local consultant who can guide you through the legal procedures so that you are spared from the administrative hassles.

We take care of the entire process, and helps you launch your technology business in DIC with great ease by ensuring that you conduct permissible business activity by availing suitable licenses.

Types of Permissible Legal Entities

DIC is an offshore area isolated from the mainland UAE; therefore companies located within this region are not allowed to do business outside DIC (unless they obtain necessary permissions from the relevant authorities). Entities can be legally registered in DIC in the following ways:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) that can be owned by 1 to 50 individual or corporate shareholders with a minimum share value of AED 1,000 and a minimum share capital investment of AED 50,000
  • Branch of a UAE Company, where the applicant is a UAE national without any capitalization requirement
  • Branch of a Foreign Company, where the applicant is a foreign national without any capitalization requirement

Types of Permissible Business Activities

There is a restriction on the type of business activities that can be performed within DIC. The license to carry out business in DIC is issued only to the corporates and/or individuals performing any of the below mentioned activities:

  • IT Services – Development or offering standard IT based services like corporate learning, security solutions, IT training and localization
  • Internet and Multimedia – Development, and/or distribution of Internet or multimedia content and acting as an intermediary between multiple companies or individuals by providing them an online platform
  • Software – Development, modification and installation of software products for own or third-party use
  • Telecommunication and Network – Development, modification and installation of operating networks or providing network-based application services to self or third-parties. Also, manufacturing physical components and products within the zone (however direct trading into UAE market is not permitted)

Further, all 4 categories mentioned above are sub-divided into 4 segments, and companies need to obtain segment specific license for their chosen license category.

  • Developer
  • Solution Provider
  • Consultancy
  • Customer Service Provider

Licensing Procedures

There are two types of business licenses available in Dubai Internet City:

  • Service license
  • Trading license

Procedures to obtain a business license

  • Submit a business license application along with the proposed business plan and Passport photo copies of all shareholders, managers, and directors
  • DIC will review the application and grant provisional approval letter to the applicant with a checklist of required legal documents
  • Provisional approval letter must be accepted by the applicant, signed, stamped and sent back to DIC
  • Submit all legal documents within 15 working days from the acceptance of the Provisional Approval Letter (There are different set of legal documents to be submitted depending on who the applicant is – A corporate body, Branch of a foreign or UAE company, or an Individual)
  • DIC will review the legal documents, send applicant a Customer Confirmation Letter and check if the required office space is available
  • Applicant have to return signed and duly stamped Customer Confirmation Letter to the DIC
  • After receiving the Customer Confirmation Letter, DIC will issue an invoice for initial payment (Fee for license and registration and 34% rental of the total annual lease)
  • DIC will issue Personnel Sponsorship Agreement and office space Lease Agreement after receiving the initial payment
  • Upon receiving the signed and stamped Lease and Personnel Sponsorship Agreement, DIC will issue a trade license allowing the company to start trading
  • DIC will issue the invoice for outstanding lease rental amount payable in two instalments after issuing the trade license (33% first instalment payable after 4 months from the initial payment date, and 33% second instalment payable after 4 months from the date of payment of first instalment)

The licensing and registration cost may vary based on a number of factors, you may Incorp International to get the current cost structure by availing free consultation.

Feel free to contact us.