You are planning to start a travel agency in UAE. You need to be aware that the travel segment is tightly regulated in the UAE, so if you are confused about how to open a travel agency in UAE whilst complying with the rules, specialist advice can save you costly headaches down the line.

Even if it might seem like a lengthy procedure, opening a travel agency in UAE will bring many benefits to its owners. Among these, are substantial incomes and a great inbound and outbound market, as there are many travellers leaving & coming to UAE for their vacations at any given point in time.

Before we go further, you can have a look at tips before becoming a Travel Agent

Registration Procedure For The Company

Before starting the registration procedure for the company which will operate as a travel agency, you need to consider a few, but very important aspects for starting your travel agency in UAE:

Let’s examine those crucial steps to know how to start a travel agency in UAE

1. Establish Your Business Activity

You will have to decide exactly what sort of travel company you want to operate; will you specialise as a travel agency business, an inbound tour operator or an outbound operator? There’s a wealth of activity to choose from across all the different markets you could serve.

2. Decide The Legal Structure

It can be operated as a limited liability company or as a sole proprietorship. Registration and licensing requirements for both these are different. In the case of a Limited Liability Company registered as a travel agency, the requirements are tough. When setting up a travel agency in UAE as a sole proprietorship, the business owner will be required to become a certified travel agent.

3. Decide Your Company Name

You must know the rules for naming a travel agency in UAE. They are:

4. Get The Required Documents

You would require

5. Obtain Tourism License

If all the necessary steps for registration are followed. It is important to apply for the right type of tourism license when considering opening a travel agency in UAE. The following types of licenses are available at the moment:

Steps to obtain a tourism license

  1. Submit the name of the company to the DED.
  2. Get the initial approval from DED to form your company. The form can be filled out at any typing centre after which you need to get the signatures from all the partners and submit the form at the DED
  3. After initial approval, DED will give a form for the site inspection. Fill out the form with complete office details, attach the location map and submit the same at the DED along with final documents. An officer from DED will come for an inspection prior to issuing the license.
  4. Type the LLC agreement (MOA) from a legal translator and get attested by Notary Public.
  5. All the Partners or Attorneys have to attend at Notary to sign the Court Agreement
  6. Submit all the documents, make payment at the counter and get your License.

5. Set up employee visas

Be sure to apply within 30 days of an employee’s entry into the country, at which point they will have received a tourist or visit visa. Simply register on the Ministry of Interior’s e-channels portal for staff entry permits (another name for a provisional 60-day employment visa). Once issued, employees can perform an ‘in-country status change’ to activate that entry permit, a crucial step to obtaining a full employment visa.

You will need your trade licence, passport copies, and establishment card – a service that files your company with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). Remember, it’s also your responsibility to obtain ‘OK to Board’ approval prior to inbound travel for employees from the South Asia Subcontinent.

6. Open a corporate bank account

No bank will recognise your business without a trade licence, but select your bank wisely; a poor choice may come back to bite you. Most will require a continuous minimum balance, ranging from AED 1m right down to AED 5,000. In addition, some need proof of residency status for at least one shareholder whilst others don’t.

Ready to launch your travel agency in UAE?

Once you have finalized all the due process and registration to start a travel agency in UAE. The next thing you would need is a Travel Booking Engine.

A Travel Booking Engine can help you do way more than just passively accept bookings and payments online. The booking engine has evolved to the point that it has become a central hub for managing every aspect of your business, from marketing to distribution to operations.

Here is a guide for you to refer to before choosing a travel booking engine

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