Getting a business consultancy license in Dubai offers excellent opportunities to provide advisory services to companies across the UAE. However, the application process requires careful planning and preparation. This guide covers step-by-step instructions, requirements, costs, and tips to obtain your consultancy permit successfully.

Eligibility Criteria for a Consultancy License

Before applying, you must meet several criteria to be eligible for a Dubai consultancy license:

  •     Be at least 21 years old.

  •     Hold a bachelor's degree or higher in your field of consultancy

  •     Have 2 years of relevant experience

  •     Provide proof of financial solvency with a bank statement

  •     Obtain appropriate office space in Dubai.

If you meet these requirements, you can proceed to the application process.

Step-by-Step Application Instructions

Follow these key steps to submit your business consultancy license application in Dubai:

Choose a Business Activity:-

First, decide your consultancy's focus area, which determines your license type. Common options include:

  •     Management consultancy

  •     Human resources consultancy

  •     Information technology consultancy

  •     Economic and financial consultancy

  •     Select a Business Location

You must have an office in Dubai to register your consultancy with the Department of Economic Development (DED). Options include:

  •     Rent office space and provide a lease contract

  •     Set up at a business centre and get their flexi-desk agreement

  •     Use a friend or family member's office temporarily

Make sure the space meets DED specifications before confirming.

Get Initial Approval:-

Before applying, you must first get initial approval from the relevant Dubai authorities:

Department of Economic Development (DED): Submit your credentials for review. If approved, you get an initial sign-off to apply.

Competent Authorities: Get approvals from specialized departments overseeing your consultancy category, like the Computer Emergency Response Team or Human Resources Department.

Choose a Business Name

Pick a unique name for your consultancy that has not been trademarked in the UAE. Check availability on the DED website.

Choose Your Legal Structure

Decide between sole proprietorship, LLC, or private shareholding company structure - based on liability and control preferences.

Prepare Required Documents

Collect all documents needed for submission, including:

  •     Passport copies

  •     No-objection letter from current employer, if employed

  •     AED 300K bank statement

  •     Attested educational qualifications & credentials

  •     Lease agreement

  •     Competent authority approvals

Make multiple copies of all original documents.

Seek a Local Service Agent:-

By law, foreign investors must hire a UAE national or company as their local service agent to complete licensing formalities. Find one through business connections or agencies.

Submit Your Application:-

File all documents in person, along with the signed Local Service Agent agreement, to the DED. Pay fees. Get a receipt of successful submission.

Await Approval:-

Applications are processed in 20-25 business days. You can track your status online with your application number.

Register for Tax and Customs:-

Upon approval, register with the Federal Tax Authority for VAT tax and with Customs for import/export activities if applicable.

There may also be fees for typing centres, translation centres, local service agents, PROs and other administrative costs.

Renewal, Cancellation & Changes

  • Licenses must be renewed each year before the expiry

  • Report any significant shareholding or legal changes

  • Cancel permit if closing business

Fines apply for late renewals or failure to report significant business changes to the DED.

Consider these tips when applying for your Dubai consultancy license:

  •     Work with a reputable Local Service Agent who is familiar with the process. Quickplus can be a reliable and effective partner.

  •     Hire a PRO to handle all submissions and follow-ups.

  •     Ensure your office space meets all DED requirements before signing.

  •     Have an Arabic speaker review all translations to prevent errors.

  •     Keep photocopies and scan digital copies of all submission documents.

  •     Save licence portal login details to track application status.

  •     Follow up regularly with authorities by phone and email.

Careful preparation, persistence and attention to detail will facilitate successful approval.

Key Takeaways

  •     Meet eligibility criteria like degree, experience and proof of capital

  •     Choose a business activity area and Dubai office location

  •     Obtain initial approvals from DED and competent authorities

  •     Submit passport, bank statement, education/experience documents

  •     Work with a Registered Local Service Agent to finalize the license

  •     Pay all consulting license fees totalling over AED 10K

  •     Renew license annually and report significant company changes


Obtaining a business consultancy license in the thriving Dubai market enables experienced professionals to provide valuable advisory services. By meeting eligibility criteria, choosing a legal business structure, securing office premises, submitting the proper paperwork through a local service agent, and completing the Department of Economic Development's application process, expats can formally register their consultancy in Dubai. While it requires an investment of time and resources, having this recognized permit allows consultants to tender their services to enterprises across the UAE legally. With the proper preparation and diligence, securing your Dubai consultancy license can be a straightforward, beneficial step to advancing your career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the consultancy have to be my only job?
No, you can have a consultancy license while working a regular job, provided your employer submits a no-objection letter.

Can I get a free zone license instead of a mainland one?
Yes, several Dubai free zone authorities offer consultancy licensing with different requirements. However, mainland licenses allow for more business flexibility.

What if I cannot provide an AED 300K bank statement?
If you have less than 300K AED in capital, your only option is to partner with an investor willing to sign a Local Service Agent agreement and provide the funds.

Can the consultancy be under my spouse's name?
No, your spouse must qualify and independently submit the license application.

Are educational qualifications attested once valid forever?
No, educational certificate attestation must be redone every two years for license renewals.

Can I use a virtual office for consultancy licensing?
The DED requires a physical office space to register a new mainland consultancy.

Are the fees the same across all consultancy categories?
No, some speciality categories have additional fees, but the baseline DED fees tend to be similar.

What paperwork does the Local Service Agent need?
Emirates ID, valid passport copies, proof of address, and trade license if a company serves as an agent.

Can freelancers get a consultancy license?
Freelance individuals must register as sole proprietorships after meeting all standard criteria.

Can I get licenses for multiple consultancy activities?
Yes, you can apply for multiple licenses from the DED for different business activities.

Can I open branches of my consultancy outside Dubai?
You can apply to open other UAE branches with an attested copy of your Dubai consultancy license.

Can the offices also be used as residences?
DED offices must be separate commercial spaces and cannot serve residential purposes.

Can a new graduate qualify for licensing?
No, two years of experience in consultancy is mandatory for approval in Dubai.

Do I require an Emirates ID to apply?
Yes, you must hold a valid employment residence visa in Dubai or an investor visa to apply.

Can I get a license if I have a skill but no degree?
Unfortunately, all applicants must submit an authenticated bachelor's degree minimum to qualify for consultancy licensing.

What kind of health insurance do I need?
Consultancy owners in Dubai must have Essential Benefits health insurance coverage per DHA rules.

Can I use international experience, or does only UAE experience count?
You can use qualified experience gained abroad in your consultancy field for the license application.

Are license costs refundable if rejected?
Unfortunately, application fees are non-refundable regardless of the outcome of your submission.

What is the size requirement for the office space?
DED mandates a minimum office space of 500 square feet to issue a first-time mainland consultancy license.