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Requirements for Consultancy Business in Dubai


Overview consultancy business in Dubai

Consultancy business is a professional license in Dubai and can be a commercial license as well. With professional license, an expat can be 100% shareholder of the company, but an UAE national as a service agent with fixed annual remuneration fee is required for it. Range of consultancy business related activities are available under mainland licensing in Dubai, such as HR consultancy, management consultancy, facility resources planning consultancy, marketing research consultancy, project development consultant, feasibility studies consultancy, etc. For the stability and growth of businesses, Dubai Government introduced and implemented the new regulations to minimize the business failure ratio and boost their growth.

But there are activities under consultancy activity groups which needs some approvals from different government departments to get the license in Dubai. Let’s have a look in these special cases:

Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA) approval

Few activities which deals with the security of people, money, precious metals, valuables, monitoring, etc. requires approval from SIRA, which may also increase the cost of the license as additional approval fees is associated with this department. For example security consultant license which deals in providing the consultancy for different projects & sites and develops security and technical solutions for them, needs this approval. This consultancy service will design the monitoring system. For more details on SIRA approval, click here to visit our dedicated article with details on SIRA approval.
Below steps are required to obtain SIRA approval:

AUD exam

Most of the consultancy activities needs to clear an exam called Management Skills Placement Test. This exam is conducted by Centre for Executive Programs and Professional Services department of American University of Dubai(AUD). It’s a two hours aptitude test with objective questions. Its mandatory to get trade name and the initial approval before the exam as it will be required during registration of AUD exam. The manager of the proposed company needs to clear AUD exam. If more than one manager is involved in the consultancy, then also only one manager is required to pass AUD exam. The result is declared on the same day from AUD. If candidate fails then he/she needs to take admission for a course which is conducted by AUD, before next attempt, and then re-apply for the exam. For more details on AUD exam, click here to visit our dedicated blog article on AUD exam which explain you cost, time and guidelines of the exam. Below is the list of consultancy activities which requires AUD Exam.

Activities Name Activities Name
Human Resources Consultancy
Mortgage Consultancy
Computer consultancy
Web Design and Development consultancy
IT consultancy
Internet consultancy
Environment Studies consultancy
Marketing Studies consultancy
Transportation consultancy
Economic Feasibility Studies consultancy
Management Studies consultancy
Cooking and Culinary Arts consultancy
Radiance Diagnosis Centres consultancy
Acoustics, noise and vibration Control consultancy
Vertical & Horizontal Transportation Systems consultancy
Green Facilities consultancy
Scientific and Technical consultancy
Radiant Energy consultancy
Advertising Studies consultancy
Forensic Medicine consultancy
Pharmaceutical consultancy
Quality and Benchmarking consultancy
Media Studies consultancy
Construction Resources Planning consultancy
Fitness Centres and Clubs consultancy
Project Development consultancy
Procurement consultancy
Heritage consultancy
Food and Dairy Products consultancy
Veterinary Services consultancy
Logistics consultancy
Health Planning consultancy
Fine Arts consultancy
Music consultancy
Marine Services consultancy
Tax consultancy
Statistics consultancy
Health consultancy
Banking and Finance consultancy
Electronic Security Solutions consultancy
Parliamentary Studies consultancy

Requirements for Consultancy Business in Dubai

External approvals

Department of Economic Development(DED) is the federal authority who issues license for business setup in Dubai Mainland. Generally, DED process the initial approvals like trade name, till the issuance of trade license. But for certain business activities, approval from DED is not enough. These activities are regulated by different government departments and  external approvals from them comes into picture. Only after getting approval from the respective departments, DED will issue the license. For more details on activities that requires external approvals, click here to visit our dedicated blog article on external approvals.

UAE National shareholder

There are some professions under consultancy activities in which only UAE National can be the shareholder in the license with 100% shares of the company. Along with this, the UAE National is required to obtain a professional certificate / degree and experience certificate related to the relevant activity. Auditing and reviewing, testing cyber risks, on demand labour supply etc are the activities in the list, where on demand labour supply is 100% owned by an UAE national sponsor and manager also needs to be an UAE national.

Office space requirement

DED has allowed some activities to register on desk space, but there are other activities which can not be registered on the desk space. It’s required to have minimum 200 to 500 sq ft offices space in business center or any commercial office space. Engineering consultancies and safety consultancy are one of those.

Degree, skills & experience requirements for expat partner

There are few activities related to consultancies where government make sure that only highly skilled people can setup such businesses in Dubai to avoid any serious risk in the future as they deal with critical things. The basic requirements for theses consultancies are generally a degree / certificate, 2-3 years of experience certificate in respective fields and pass the AUD exam. Activities such as pharmaceutical consultancy, mechanical engineering consultancies, pawn consultant, health planning consultancies, network consultancy, architectural design consultancy, maritime consultancy etc. Requirements in safety consultancy are; civil defense exam for manager role and Dubai Municipality approval

The selected consultancy activity may fall in any of the above category or even in more than one. It is mandatory for the trade name to reflect the kind of activity the firm carries. The consultancy license is the legal way to start a consulting business in Dubai with right skill sets and the experience.

This blog is written by Ms. Ananya, Business Advisor at Flyingcolour Business Setup, VAT and Accounting Services in Dubai and across UAE. It is always recommended to consult professional advisory to avoid costly mistake which could harm the business growth. To consult, please contact us at +971 4 4542366 or email us at info[at]flyingcolour[dot]com.


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