How to start a consultancy business in the UAE?

How to start a consultancy business in the UAE?

Every now and then, a business finds itself in need of services that cannot be availed of internally, or runs into problems that cannot be solved internally. This is exactly when the need to hire consultants arises. Consultants are skilled professionals in a specific field and offer advice and solutions relevant to their area of expertise. Consultancy services in the UAE can be availed for a variety of specialisation areas that include HR, finance, law, marketing, real estate, and so on.

Following are some scenarios where a business may reach out to a consultant:

  • Availing solutions when it does not have the resources to provide the necessary expertise
  • Short-term tasks/projects that demand specific knowledge
  • Obtaining an outsider’s opinion about their internal business processes

Being a global business hub, the UAE is home to businesses encompassing a wide range of industry sectors. Hence, it comes as no surprise that consultancy businesses are in such high demand in a multifaceted business hub like the UAE. It is worth noting that the UAE is the second biggest consultancy market in the GCC, only after Saudi Arabia. So, if you are looking to set up a consultancy business, look no further than the UAE as your business destination. All you need is the right guidance to get started with your consultancy business in the UAE.

Setting up a consultancy business in the UAE

A consultancy business can be set up as a mainland or free zone company in the UAE. Due to the numerous benefits it offers, a free zone emerges as the more beneficial jurisdiction for setting up a consultancy business in the UAE. No matter what field you plan to consult in, the procedure to start a consultancy business in a UAE free zone remains more or less the same.

1. Decide on the type of free zone entity

A free zone company can be one of the following legal entities:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC)
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
  • Branch

2. Register your business name

Your business name must align with the naming conventions set by the free zone authorities.

3. Obtain external approvals

Depending on the type of consultancy business you wish to start, you will have to obtain the necessary approvals from government authorities. For instance, to start an educational consultancy, you would need approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Additionally, in the case of certain specialization areas, you may have to appear for examinations as asked by the relevant authorities. As an example, setting up a real estate agency requires you to appear for an examination conducted by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency). In certain cases, the process of obtaining external approval is conducted after applying for a business license. It is advisable to consult with a business setup service provider for details about external approvals.

4. Apply for a business license

Submit the business license application form along with the required documents

5. Business license issuance


The free zone authorities will issue your business license along with the unit lease agreement (if applicable).

Starting a consultancy business in the UAE is no doubt a lucrative opportunity. However, forming a consultancy company involves a lot of legal and regulatory procedures. As such, having a business setup service provider by your side is absolutely necessary to ensure legal compliance and to avoid unnecessary complications. At InZone, our business setup experts are well-versed with the laws, regulations, and procedures relevant to company formation, and can help you launch your consultancy business in no time.

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