Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Tuesday announced the launch of the region's first 'Virtual Company Licence’.
What does this mean?
The Virtual Company Licence will allow investors worldwide to do business in Dubai digitally without requiring residence and in accordance with the highest international legal standards. Virtual Company Licence owners can manage all their business-related activities, including document signing and submission digitally, and the signatures are legally binding in the UAE.
This initiative is aligned with the third Article of the 50-Year Charter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to build a ‘Virtual Commercial City’ in Dubai.
Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed said that Dubai is making major strides in enhancing business regulatory frameworks and emerging as one of the world’s best business environments, thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council. Dubai’s leadership has taken a number of innovative decisions and initiatives to further cement Dubai’s position as one of the world’s major business hubs.
Infrastructure and technology
Sheikh Maktoum said that Dubai’s sophisticated infrastructure, which is among the most advanced and reliable in the world, has opened new opportunities to develop our economic capabilities at a time when technological developments have changed the way business is conducted. Dubai has always kept pace with technological developments and taken advantage of them to advance its strategic objectives and support all businesses regardless of their size, he added.
Who is the licence for?
The Virtual Company Licence, a joint initiative of Dubai Economy, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs (GDRFA), Smart Dubai, and the Supreme Legislation Committee, focuses on three main sectors: creative industries, technology and services.
The initiative, which offers vast opportunities for investors around the world to work digitally in Dubai without having to be in Dubai, will enhance confidence among businesses and investors while also opening new horizons for business competitiveness and growth in Dubai and the UAE.
The programme allows only verified non-resident individuals to register a company, and the owners of such companies have to be the nationals or tax residents of countries that have implemented the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and share tax information about their citizens and residents.
The official website has a heatmap showing the eligible and non-eligible countries across the globe. India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, North Americas, South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Brazil, Argentina, Chile are some of the countries on the eligible list. Yemen, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Venezuela, Algeria, Egypt are on the non-eligible list according to the map online.
Freelancers benefit too
The Virtual Company Licence will enable freelancers and business people worldwide to have access to a regulated e-commerce platform and easily work with Dubai-based companies while also exploring new markets and investment opportunities digitally.
How to apply
Dubai Economy will start receiving applications for the Virtual Company Licence from businessmen and investors in 101 countries through the website www.vccdubai.ae or through the offices of VFS Global across 11 locations worldwide. VFS Global, headquartered in Dubai, is the world’s largest technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The initiative is expected to attract more than 100,000 companies and offer new opportunities for innovators and local companies, accelerating economic activity and the knowledge economy in Dubai.
Virtual Commercial City
The virtual city is designed in full compliance with international agreements that Dubai and the UAE are party to.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy said: “We are proud to launch the first Virtual Commercial City in the region that will provide virtual licences for doing business digitally and without requiring residence in Dubai, in partnership with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. The initiative underlines the role of Dubai Economy in shaping the future of business as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It also marks a quantum leap in the concept of doing business and will be a major attraction for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Al Qamzi further said: “The Virtual Company Licence is a testament to our commitment to eliminating barriers for the private sector, which is a strategic partner in sustainable development. The public and private sectors are integral to Dubai’s diversified economy and the Virtual Commercial City will further strengthen public-private partnerships in enhancing Dubai’s profile as a global business and investment destination.”