Living in the United Arab Emirates is an amazing and rewarding experience.
However, setting up a photography business in Dubai can feel overwhelming.
There are several ways to go about it, from hiring a paid consultancy to navigate the system, or doing it all by your lonesome.
To understand my business inside and out, I chose to go through the process alone. This proved incredibly beneficial and cost friendly. Especially because once I chose SHAMS (Sharjah Media City) as my trade license provider, I had the 24/7 support of their Business Development and Customer Care Team.
For those interested in taking the steps to register a photography business, I have put together a general path to follow.
Below are the initial steps to creating a company formation in the UAE:
REGISTERING YOUR BUSINESS
1. Choose your company name
2. Choose your business activities
3. Choose your trade license – Free Zone vs. Mainland
4. Choose your trade license provider (in my case SHAMS)
5. Select the number of years for your trade license
6. Decide if you would like your trade license with or without visas
7. Complete the application providing copies of Passport, Residency Visa & Emirates ID
Once you’ve registered your business successfully, you can expect to receive the following:
1. Certificate of Formation
2. Business License
3. Business Activities Descriptions
4. Share Register
5. Memorandum of Association (if requested)
6. Occupancy Agreement (if requested)
7. A Welcome Letter
8. General Policies Guidebook
These papers are critical to the next step of opening a corporate bank account. Each bank will have different requirements, from minimum balances to fees, so be diligent in your research:
CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNTS
1. Choose a bank that has branches close to your home and/or business
2. Research all monthly and transaction banking fees
3. Create a company stamp for your business
4. Gather 6 months of previous bank statements (requirement for every bank)
5. Provide a tenancy agreement (home or office) depending on your license
6. Apply for your corporate bank account, debit and/or credit cards
7. Get to know your banker (better than your best friend)
Now that your business is setup and running, it’s time for GMB (Google My Business). Before any verification will take place, you must prep the following:
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
1. Company Logo
2. Company Signs
3. Company Address
4. Company Phone Number(s)
5. GPS Location
6. Working Hours
7. Photographs of building, signs and inside office
8. Request verification
You can expect the entire process from start to finish to take up to 3-4 months, with the main delay being opening the corporate bank account. But, doing business in the United Arab Emirates is a must for those that want to thrive in the GCC region, and I couldn’t be happier with choosing SHAMS as my free zone license provider.