In his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued Decree No. (13) of 2024 on the Unified Digital Platform for establishing companies in Dubai. The Decree forms part of Dubai’s efforts to enhance its business environment and advance economic growth.

The platform seeks to integrate various licensing processes in Dubai including those managed by the Department of Economy and Tourism, the Authorities of special development zones and freezones, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and other relevant entities. The integration is aimed at significantly improving the investor experience in Dubai. By offering a streamlined channel for accessing information, obtaining licenses, and availing other services related to economic activities, the platform seeks to enhance the ease and convenience of investors.

The Decree, which applies to all economic activities in Dubai, also aims to regulate the issuance of licenses, permits and approvals in the emirate to enhance clarity and simplicity. It also seeks to help investors overcome obstacles in setting up or operating businesses in Dubai.

The Decree seeks to enhance electronic integration between licensing departments and other key entities to avoid duplication of procedures, and support Dubai’s digital transformation in line with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to establish the city as a digital economy hub.

In a move that complements the new Decree, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, issued Resolution No. (5) of 2024 of the Council, approving the key principles behind facilitating the investor’s journey in Dubai. These principles are applicable to the processes for all licenses, permits and approvals related to business activities in Dubai. The Resolution is effective from the date the new Decree goes into effect.

According to the Resolution, all licensing entities and federal and local entities tasked with regulating and supervising business activities in Dubai, are responsible for facilitating a smooth journey for investors in Dubai and implementing the procedures required to facilitate this.

The Resolution also outlines various measures to provide a smooth experience for investors including registration on the ‘Invest in Dubai’ digital platform, unified digital data registration, instant licensing, instant license renewal, one-step fee payment, streamlining of licensing requirements, and the standardisation of procedures, rules and conditions.

According to Decree No. (13) of 2024, the Department of Economy and Tourism is responsible for operating, managing and developing the ‘Invest in Dubai’ platform in collaboration with relevant licensing bodies, in line with the digital transformation guidelines set by the Dubai Digital Authority.

According to the Decree, all requests related to licensing and permits should be processed through the ‘Invest in Dubai’ digital platform in accordance with the procedures, requirements, timelines and fees mentioned in the ‘Guide’, an electronic document developed by the Department of Economy and Tourism, which outlines the requirements for operating a business in Dubai.

The Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai will issue the decisions necessary to implement this Decree, which annuls any other legislation that may contradict it. This Decree is effective from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.