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Have you Heard of the UAE Virtual License?

Some background

A first in its region, the joint initiative of Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”), Dubai Economy, Smart Dubai, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs (“GDRFA”), and the Supreme Legislation Committee, the launch of Dubai’s first Virtual Company License was announced by the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Dubai Virtual Commercial City (“VCC”) focuses on three main sectors of 1. Technology 2. Creative Industries and 3. Services, the Virtual Company License provides investors across the globe the opportunity to conduct business in Dubai on a digital basis, in accordance with the highest international legal standards and without having a permanent residence in the UAE.

The initiative is a successful step towards the third Article of the 50-year Charter of Vice President, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and the Prime Minister of the UAE, which intends to develop a Virtual Commercial City in Dubai.

So, what is the aim of introducing the Virtual Company License?

The Virtual Company License has been initiated with an aim to allow global investors to create a successful business foundation in Dubai at par with the highest legal standards of the UAE, evading the restrictions of a permanent residence in the Emirate.

Virtual Company License holders will have the liberty to carry out all business-related activities including digital submission and document signing.

According to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed, Dubai is proceeding successfully towards enhancing the regulatory frameworks of businesses. It has now managed to establish a position as an emerging business venue in the Global scenario.

With an amazing group of entities leading its administrative table, Dubai has effectively managed to take initiatives and decisions that helps cement the Emirate’s position in the Global business hub.

What are the activities in scope of the Virtual Company License?

The permitted business activities for Virtual License Company are:

Computer programming, consultancy and related activities:

- Computer Systems & Communication Equipment Software Design

- Electronic Chips Programming

- Web-Design

- Social Media Applications Development & Management

- Cyber Security Architecture

- Public Networking Services

- Cyber Risk Management Services

- Auditing, Reviewing and Testing Cyber Risks

- Managed Cyber Security Services Provider

- Marketing Services Via Social Media

Design activities:

- Fashion Design

- Jewelry Design

- Design Services (interior design, garden design)

- Calligraphers & Painters

- Product Design

Service activities related to printing and advertising:

- Books Binding

- Typesetting Services

- Color Separation Services

- Design & Artwork Services

- Greeting Cards Production & Distribution Services

- Promotional Gifts Preparing

What are the conditions to register a Virtual Company License?

The following conditions are applicable for individuals to register a Virtual Company License:

- Non-resident individuals who are verified can register.

- The owners of these companies must be tax residents and nationals in countries that applies the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax matters.

- The legal type of the Virtual Company License is sole proprietorship

- Be from one of the eligible countries such as:

United States, Canada, Greenland, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and majority of EU member states.

How can I apply for a Virtual Company License?

Applications for the Virtual Company License will be available from investors and businessmen in a total of 101 countries via the website and through the VFS* Global offices in 11 locations across the world.

The steps to apply for a Virtual Company License are as follows:

1. Complete and submit an online company registration form

2. An investor background check will be conducted within the following 30 days

3. Validation and identification visits to a VFS office

4. Completion of payments and Virtual Company License receipt

*Headquartered in Dubai, VFS Global is the largest technology service specialized for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide.

How long does it take?

Once you confirm and submit the registration form, you will receive a verdict from the Dubai Government authorities via email regarding their decision on the background check.

Once approved, you need to pay a visit in person to a VFS office for passport and identification verification.

How much will I pay?

The total fee is calculated based on the validity term of the license selected by the investor in the Virtual Company License registration form.

The startup fees for a sole proprietorship legal type is:

- AED 200 ($54.5) one time for the company name, and

- AED 650 ($177) per annum for the Virtual Company License.

- If required, AED 1,000 ($274) company closure service.

Payments are processed through ePay, a payment gateway provided by the city government’s Smart Dubai.

You will also need to calculate a fee of EUR 100 + applicable taxes for registration form filling, identification and document validation service fee payable to VFS Global upon appointment reservation.

UAE Bank account?

As a holder of a Virtual Company License Dubai Virtual Commercial City can facilitate access to bank account opening services with participating banks.

However, banks will use their own discretion in opening and managing bank account services. Having a virtual company license does not guarantee a bank account for you or your company.

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