Individuals involved in entrepreneurship, business, and investment should familiarize themselves with the Estidama Dubai Contract and its importance. This contract is essential for obtaining or renewing a business license, as it is a required document.

Estidama meaning:

estidama meaning

The term “Estidama” in Arabic refers to sustainability. The Estidama Dubai program is a crucial element of the “Abu Dhabi Vision 2030” and involves a building design approach that enables sustainable construction and operation of buildings. 

This methodology is presently utilized in all emirates across the United Arab Emirates.

Previously, in order to acquire a trade license for mainland businesses in Dubai and the UAE, it was mandatory for individuals to lease a physical office space of at least 200 square feet as stipulated by the Dubai Department of Economic Development. 

Subsequently, officials from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai would conduct an inspection of the rented office space, and if it met their standards, they would issue a trade license to the individuals.

In more recent times, the Dubai Department of Economic Development has implemented a policy allowing smaller businesses to rent virtual offices and still be eligible to apply for trade licenses. 

This solution referred to as the “Estidama lease contract,” is a more sustainable option for small businesses in Dubai. Essentially, this lease contract is a contract for a virtual office that includes a complete lease agreement, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a trade license in Dubai and the UAE.

Why register for an Estidama license?

This license is an affordable option for obtaining a Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED)-approved rental or leasing agreement for your trade license. This license makes renting office space on Dubai’s mainland more accessible and reasonable for businesses. The Sustainability license also enables startups to lease coworking spaces in Dubai’s business hubs, eliminating the need for them to invest in expensive corporate campuses.

How to register for your Estidama License in Dubai?

For registering, you must follow the procedure mentioned below:

  1. There are numerous business centres in Dubai. You need to look for a certified sustainability centre in the above business centres.
  2. Once you find a sustainability centre, book an office space based on your requirements.
  3. Once you book the space, collect the tenancy contract along with the agreement.
  4. Now, you need to submit the required documents to the DED.
  5. Get a copy of the Dubai trade license. 

Benefits of Estidama:

Estidama Dubai

  • Replacement for EJARI

In order to obtain a trade license in the UAE, an EJARI is required, which typically necessitates renting a physical location. However, a license issued by the Dubai Land Department can serve as an Estidama EJARI. This implies that the contract can be used to apply for a trade license in Dubai, and a business address will be provided by the business centre where the contract is obtained. 

Even if the business is not operated from that address, it can be used for official purposes such as filling out business-related forms that require a business address, using the Estidama address as the business address.

  • Sponsor visas

The number of visas that can be sponsored for foreign employees depends on the size of the office space you lease or rent. 

Generally, the larger the office space, the more visas you can sponsor. However, even with this lease contract, you may still need to bring in employees and workers from abroad. Despite not having a physical space, Estidama still allows you to sponsor up to four employment visas or labour quotas.

  • Various amenities

The amenities that come with a virtual office obtained through this contract may vary depending on the business centre. Some centres may offer a reception desk, while others may provide the option to rent a dedicated desk. 

Some virtual offices may also offer the option to rent physical office space for a limited number of hours per month, and meeting rooms may also be available for client or partner meetings. With an Estidama, you can obtain a TRN number and use the virtual office address to open a bank account. You can also set up telecommunications services with DU or Etisalat using the Estidama.

  • No need for a physical office space

Physical office spaces can be costly, making them unsustainable for many small businesses that could use their capital more effectively elsewhere. For many small businesses, physical office space may not be necessary, particularly for IT startups that can work efficiently from home. 

For these businesses, regular travel to physical office space would be unproductive, resulting in both time and financial losses from commuting. By using this contract, these businesses can work remotely and still obtain a trade license from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.

Is Estidama License Costly?

The expenses involved in setting up a sustainable office space vary depending on the specific requirements and additional amenities. The location of the sustainability centre also plays a role in determining the cost, with premium areas such as Business Bay having different pricing compared to other spaces. 

For startups seeking office space under the Dubai mainland license with Estidama, it is possible to negotiate favourable deals from prominent business locations in Dubai.

By utilizing a hot-desking arrangement, you can benefit from all the advantages of full-time office space while only paying for the workstations that you use. 

You can choose to have a dedicated desk or opt for a flexible seating arrangement where you can select your workspace each day on a first-come, first-served basis.

What are the things that the Estidama contract allows?

You have the option to lease a virtual office space and then proceed to apply for a business trade license from the DED. To comply with the authorities’ requirements, you need to obtain an EJARI, which can be in the form of an Estidama EJARI. 

It enables business owners to sponsor up to four visas. You can also apply for a Tax Return Number (TRN), open a bank account, and use DU/Etisalat services. It is essential to note that the contract is only available in Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, the Tajer Licensing Model is utilized.

How to get a DED license with Estidama Dubai?

To acquire a Dubai trade license using an Estidama, follow these steps:

  • Choose the legal structure for your business.
  • Choose a trade license.
  • Request initial approval from the DED.
  • Register your trade name.
  • Apply for the Estidama contract.
  • Rent a virtual office from a business centre.
  • Secure external approvals.
  • Collect the necessary documents for the DED.
  • Obtain the trade license.

Estidama Pearl Rating Sytem

Estidama Abu Dhabi includes a green building rating system called the Pearl Building Rating System (PRS), which is used to evaluate sustainable building development practices in Abu Dhabi. 

This system is mandatory for all buildings as well as villas in Abu Dhabi.

Property Type Pearl Rating
Buildings and Villas Minimum 1 Pearl Rating
Government Funding Buildings Minimum 2 Pearl Rating

The Estidama Pearl Rating System comprises three rating systems, including:

  • Building rating system (PBRS) 
  • Villa rating system (PVRS) 
  • and Community rating system (PCRS)

To obtain the Estidama Abu Dhabi certification, five certification levels can be pursued, with the minimum being the 1 Pearl rating, which requires compliance with all prerequisite Estidama credits and is mandatory for all applicable buildings. 

The 2 Pearls rating is mandatory for all applicable government buildings and requires meeting a certain number of credit points in addition to the prerequisite credits. The 3, 4, and 5 Pearls levels can be achieved by obtaining more Estidama credits, which will increase the number of points attempted to get the building Estidama certified.