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How to obtain KHDA approval for your Dubai educational company

Author: Olga Melnyk, Head of Sales and Business Development

Hunger for excellent education and training is growing fast in the UAE.

And according to education industry leaders, demand is currently outstripping supply. So providers of education and training who offer the kind of teaching that UAE residents are looking for can expect to reap rewards in the coming years.

However, if your educational company plans to begin offering any kind of training services in Dubai you will first need to obtain approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The KHDA was founded in 2006 to regulate Dubai’s private education sector (it is regulated independently of the rest of the UAE) and requires new providers to complete a number of steps before they begin operating.

So, what is KHDA and what do you have to do to get KHDA approval?

What is KHDA?

Dubai has long been the UAE’s educational hub, with significantly higher numbers of private and foreign educational centres compared to any other emirate. For this reason, Dubai’s government launched the KHDA to ensure that providers are offering education to a high standard. The KHDA has the power to inspect schools, publicly rate them, and even hand out fines to failing providers.

Dubai has long been the UAE’s educational hub, with significantly higher numbers of private and foreign educational centres compared to any other emirate.

Why set up an educational institution in the UAE?

Dubai, and the UAE more generally, has a fast-growing population that values private education. According to Alpen Capital’s GCC Education Industry 2016 report, it’s a compelling prospect for education and training providers:

  • Almost half of the UAE’s schools are private, and more than three-quarters of higher education is private as well.
  • Enrolment in tertiary education institutes has grown by around 9% each year from 2009 to 2014.
  • Annual private school fees range between AED 1,725 to AED 98,649.

It’s also worth noting that training and jobs website GulfTalent lists over 1,200 workplace training courses on its UAE website.

5 steps for KHDA approval

Any company that wants to set up as an education provider in Dubai will need to complete the following steps.

1. Select type of education and location: The KHDA accepts applications for a very wide range of education-related activities – from early childhood care right through to private tutoring, on-the-job skills and management training. Unsurprisingly, the application process varies depending on the kind of activity you hope to offer.


In terms of location, if you are a higher education provider, you will likely want to be based in the Dubai International Academic City. But keep in mind that providers of specific kinds of workplace training may prefer a free zone targeting the industry to which they cater. Learn more about free zones here.

2. Complete your registration plan: This is the most important and time-consuming stage in applying for KHDA approval in Dubai. You are required to complete a detailed registration (business) plan. This must include details on:

  • Introduction to your organisation – showing your purpose and the value you provide
  • Needs analysis – demonstrating demand for your type of training
  • Shareholder information
  • Staff experience – including relevant qualifications
  • Training services – according to the KHDA’s classification
  • Non-training services – details of other activities
  • Certification – information on the kinds of certificate you provide
  • Resources and facilities – including equipment and classrooms
  • Marketing – showing how you hope to spread the word about your brand
  • Customer recruitment process
  • Undertakings – detail undertakings which show you are aware of applicable regulations
  • A list of training courses you will provide and appendices

3. Complete your application form: Next up, you are required to complete an educational services permit form. The form is fairly simple to complete, although it’s always useful to have the guidance of a company formation specialist when undertaking any of these steps.

                  The educational services permit form is fairly simple to complete, although it’s always useful to have the guidance of a company formation specialist when undertaking any of these steps.

4. Collate the required paperwork: To go along with your application, you will need to collate relevant paperwork. This will include the following documentation:

  • Name reservation from the relevant commercial authority and initial approval
  • Application form (all fields should be typed)
  • Registration plan
  • Colour passport copies of all shareholders of the institute
  • Colour passport copy of director/manager of the institute
  • Notary public signature for each shareholder and the manager
  • Director/manager CV
  • Qualification certificates for the manager
  • Undertaking from the manager attesting that they will manage the training institute full-time, and including the proposed working hours
  • Course list
  • If one of the shareholders is corporate then include board resolution from mother company announcing the establishment of the institute in Dubai / certificate of good standing

Besides this paperwork related to the institute itself, you will also need to provide copies of your trade license, a tenancy contract if you operate from premises, and an environmental health and safety certificate, if relevant.


5. Submit your application: Your application needs to be submitted online via the KHDA e-services portal. You will also need to pay any relevant fees as part of your application process.

Depending on your application, final approval can be delivered in a matter of days for smaller operations, or you may have a lengthier wait if you are a larger outfit.

Top of the class

Applying for KHDA approval can be a complicated process. Depending on the kind of training or education you hope to offer, the exact steps you need to take will vary. This is where working with a company formation specialist removes the headache and gives real peace of mind. Once you’re registered and set up, you will have access to a market which is hungry to learn.

Setting up your own business has never been easier. Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to, or click here.

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UAE laws and regulations as well as pricing related to company formation are subject to change without notice. While we produce our content on the basis of thorough research, laws and regulations might have changed since this content was published. Furthermore, responsibility for any information in external links lies solely with the operator of the third party website.