Dubai Virtual Commercial City (DVCC) is a joint project combining the activities of the free zone of the Dubai International Financial Center, the General Directorate for Residents and Foreigners, the Supreme Legislative Committee and Smart Dubai.
The leadership of the emirate believes that a business idea should not be limited to a place of residence or a place of work. This belief was put into practice in the launch of a new program for the creation and implementation of virtual commerce.
Dubai has become a pioneer in the development of a virtual commercial city. Currently, he invites entrepreneurs, freelancers and global corporations to organize their operations and offices in this digital environment.
About the Dubai Virtual Commercial City program
DVCC is an ambitious project of the government, which allowed it to become the first global digital commerce city, a trade zone without taxes, tariffs or quotas for any imported goods.
In 1994, the Principality announced the creation of the first IT-free economic zone and became a strategic center for the intersection of global trade routes, logistics and finance. Since then, the emirate has been promoting technology, innovation and a variety of creative ideas to maintain leadership in the world of digital commerce. The recently launched DVCC is another step in the chosen direction.
DSC allows organizations to work from anywhere in the world: they can control everything through a single platform and use all business functions on the Internet from anywhere on any device.
What is a virtual company license?
To become a full member of the DVCC community, you will need a Dubai Virtual Commercial License (Virtual Company license) – an official permit that allows investors from all over the world to develop their business in the UAE via the Internet. Businessmen and freelancers from the most remote corners of the planet will have access to a regulated e-commerce ecosystem, through which they will be able to:
- explore new markets;
- conclude deals;
- monitor and coordinate all business-related activities;
- establish electronic document management, including and with the authorities.
Simply put, the presence of such a permit allows foreign entrepreneurs to open a company in Dubai without having to buy a house there.
The possibility of obtaining an e-commerce permit is open to foreign firms from more than 101 countries and covers a wide range of industries, including creative industries, technologies and services. The project complies with article 50 of the Dubai Charter, which proclaims the implementation of economic policies that ensure progress, growth, as well as the sustainability and prosperity of Dubai.
The developers of the program believe that with its help it will be possible to attract at least 100 000 enterprises from around the world, as well as maintain the position of the Principality in the top ten largest regions with the highest level of investment attractiveness for at least the next decade.
The project will give investors from all over the world the opportunity to work in Dubai digitally without having to physically visit the city, which will increase business confidence and open up new horizons for the competitiveness and growth of Dubai and the UAE.
Advantages of a license in DVCC
Working in virtual space:
- It will reduce the administrative and operational costs of the business and help the entrepreneur to focus on investing.
- It will save finances that are required for flights, office rent, housing, etc. with a different business format. This money can be used to expand the business.
- It will simplify office work.
- Will make it possible to manage all business operations on the Internet.
- It will allow you to benefit from the established business industry of Dubai.
- It will provide access to new clients, markets and investments.
- Allows you to get into the directories of virtual organizations.
Conditions for obtaining a license
To become a license holder, the applicant must:
- Be a confirmed citizen or tax resident of any of the 101 approved countries that have implemented the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. These include Canada, India, Pakistan, USA, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc. The full list is available on the official DVCC website in the form of a heat map. There is also a list of unacceptable States. Among them are Yemen, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Venezuela, Algeria, Egypt. Residents of the United Arab Emirates do not have the right to apply for the opening of a digital business. If the applicant is a resident of the UAE, already residing in the emirate, he also does not have the right to obtain a license permit.
- To be authenticated by the state authorities of the Principality.
- They can work at any geographical point in predefined sectors.
- Are subject to corporate, individual income and social taxation in the country of registration and/or residence, depending on the place of work and international tax agreements. If the income from a virtual enterprise in the United Arab Emirates exceeds 100 000 USD per year, it is subject to mandatory registration with the UAE Federal Tax Authority, as it will be subject to value added tax (VAT) of 5% in the United Arab Emirates Best.
- They must work transparently, including a complete publicly available register of owners’ names, which will be transferred to the tax authorities of the relevant jurisdictions upon request.
- In addition to the fact that they cannot be locally owned, they do not have the right to have a local director, an auditor or a qualified business service provider.
A digital commerce permit does not automatically grant any partner, director or employee of the company the right to physical access to the country, whether in the form of a business, guest or resident visa. Nevertheless, the authorities are working to simplify the visa regime for this category of entrepreneurs. Also, the permit does not guarantee the automatic opening of a bank account: this can only be done at the discretion of commercial banks. However, one of their services is to simplify access to account opening processes.
The creation of an Internet business in the Principality is suitable only for legitimate business interests. The Emirate’s Government is taking tough measures to combat money laundering and tax evasion in accordance with international agreements and conventions to which the UAE is a party.
How to apply for a license in Dubai Virtual Commercial City
The process is simple and takes place in several stages.
Filing an application for registration
To start the process:
- Go to the official DVCC website.
- Fill out the online form posted here, specifying:
- the name of the company and the type of activity it intends to engage in;
- its name;
- contact information;
- date of birth;
- passport data;
- any previous work experience in the emirate, if any.
Sending necessary documents
The next step is to prepare a package of documents, including:
- photocopy of passport;
- proof of address;
- certificate of tax residence;
- recent photograph of the owner of the company on a white background.
All submitted documents must be no older than 3 months, and the validity period of the passport must have at least 3 months in stock.
Send the application with the documents attached to it for verification.
The information specified in the application, after its submission, will be sent for authentication. Authentication is carried out by government agencies through background checks. This stage takes up to a month, so make sure that all the information you provided is correct. Otherwise, you will get a refusal and you will have to start all over again, which will lengthen the procedure. After the authentication is completed, the applicant will receive an email informing about the approval or rejection.
After approval, the applicant must personally visit VFS Global for identification and passport verification. A visit to VFS Global must be planned in advance by reserving time via the website or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The service is paid: 75 euros (300 dirhams UAE) plus the corresponding taxes in the selected country.
After identifying the identity in VSF Global, the applicant will receive an email with instructions on how to pay the license fee. You can pay through the official VCC or ePay payment portal provided by the Dubai Government’s Smart Dubai. The cost is determined by the license validity period selected during the online registration process.
How much does it cost?
The fee for opening your company for an individual legal entity is 200 dirhams for its name and 650 dirhams per year for a license.
What types of activities are allowed for virtual companies?
As with most free zones in Dubai, commercial licenses are usually allowed for a specific list of activities. Digital is designed specifically for non-resident businessmen and freelancers. Before delving into the study of the list, it is worth understanding the difference between a commercial and a trade license.
Throughout the country, the act of purchase and sale is called trade, which means that the terms “trade license” and “commercial license” are used synonymously. The virtual license is focused on creative services and technology industries. Based on this, the list of services allowed in Dubai Virtual Commercial City includes:
- related to printing (binding, layout) and advertising;
- on design and decoration;
- on the production and distribution of greeting cards;
- preparation of promotional gifts;
- computer programming, consulting;
- software development for computer systems and communication equipment;
- cyber risk management;
- audit, checks and testing of cyber risks;
- on cybersecurity architecture;
- web design;
- on the development and management of applications for social networks;
- marketing through social networks;
- design (creative, fashion, jewelry, garden, interior).