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How Can I Start My Own Company in UAE?

Narendra Kumar

| Updated: Oct 03, 2018 | Category: Company Registration, Global Registration

Own Company in UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Fujairah. A company can be formed in UAE under any of these three jurisdictions such as Mainland, Free Zone or offshore. The Authority is the Department of Economic Development of respective emirates. In terms of the geographic and economic center of the Middle East, the investors see the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a vital element for operations. In this article, we will discuss how can I start my own company in the UAE

UAE is considered to be a vital element for operations since it is a prime destination for the multinationals to invest in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. It is a booming place for start-ups because of the perfect locations across diverse sectors. Dubai is the second largest emirate and is an important port and commercial center. A lot of sectors such as manufacturing, travel, tourism, healthcare, and education have gained importance in UAE.  Dubai, in particular, attracts a lot of international business and is advantageous too. There is no capital taxes on income in Dubai and also no withholding taxes. There are more added advantages in Dubai because of the absence of foreign exchange controls, trade barriers or quotas making it an ideal place to set up and incorporate a company.

Various types of Companies in the United Arab Emirates:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of company which deals in local and international trade. For these types of Companies, the office is required in the country itself. Also, the 51% of the shareholding is held by the local UAE national except for professional licenses where 100% of shareholding can be done.
  • Free Zone Company: This is a type of company in which international trade is allowed and local business is possible only through a local This type of Company requires an office or even a virtual office can do. In this type of company, 100% foreign shareholding is allowed and no local sponsor is required.
  • Offshore company: it is a type of company which is applicable only on international trade. For these types of companies, no office is required and 100% foreign shareholding is allowed.

What is the Procedure of Company Registration in UAE?

Determination of Economic Activity: the first and foremost step in the incorporation of a UAE company is a determination of economic activity that the organization wishes to carry. The requirements, fees, and conditions differ according to the type and nature of the business activity to be carried on.

Registering the name: after the determination of the legal form, a trade name needs to be determined which is an inclination to the nature of the activity of the business.

Initial Approval: the initial approval is done after the issuance of the business license. The documents required for initial approval are:

  • Approved trade name
  • Approval of Department of Naturalization and Residence for foreign investors
  • Valid passport copies
  • Emirates ID copies
  • Prescribed fees payment
  • Initial approval certificate
  • Approval from concerned Authorities:

After the initial approval, the proposed company shall be entitled to approach concerned authorities and obtain required approvals after the fulfillment of terms and conditions. The application can be followed online.

Commercial license: the commercial license issuance depends on the legal form of the facility. The legal form is available online on the Department’s website.

What are the Documents Required for Company Registration in UAE?

  • Application of license and registration
  • Applicant’s passport
  • Applicant’s naturalization identification for UAE nationals only
  • No objection letter from the applicant’s current sponsor
  • Director’s passport photocopy, no objection letter from director’s current sponsor.
  • Approval of the Government authorities in accordance with the type of activity
  • Board resolution of the company to subscribe to the new company in case the partner is an existing corporate entity in UAE. (UAE Ministry of Affairs).
  • Documents submitted at the time of initial approval
  • Photocopy of an office
  • Copy of Memorandum of Association (authenticated by a public notary)

Taxation Aspect in UAE

There exists no federal corporate income tax (CIT) regime in UAE. However the Emirates have introduced income tax decrees in the late 1960s, taxation is therefore determined on an Emirate-by-Emirate basis. Some of the Emirates have their own specific banking tax decrees, which impose CIT on branches of foreign banks at the rate of 20%. Most of the registered entities in UAE are not required to file corporate tax returns regardless of the business they are registered in. UAE is thus considered to be a tax haven nation.

Annual Compliance in UAE

The companies which are engaged in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector and banks are only entities required to file tax returns. However, the business such as Banks, insurance companies, public and private shareholding companies, limited liability companies, foreign companies etc are required to get their accounts audited annually.

Market Size

UAE’s market is represented by oil and gas and also UAE is positioning itself as the regional retail hub and a major player in the export market of the industrial and manufactured goods with the 9th largest port worldwide in terms of the volume of the goods.

What All Industries/Business Popular in UAE?

The industries which are popular in UAE are:

  • Real estate, Engineering, and construction
  • Oil and gas
  • Retail /trade and logistics
  • Production/manufacturing, automotive

What are the Benefits of Company Registration in UAE?

The main reason for establishing a business in UAE because it is an emerging market and the offshore company benefits are high. They are not just limited to the financial aspects but also various other exemptions help in its formation.

  • Tax exemptions are provided and a 100% foreign ownership can be achieved.
  • A virtual type of company can also be formed it is not necessary to have an offshore company office in UAE.
  • There is a level of privacy to the business and complete anonymity is formed for the offshore company.
  • There is no requirement to hold public records of Directors or shareholders.
  • The registration process of an offshore company is much faster and easy.
  • The offshore company is exempted from income tax, corporate tax, customs duty or personal tax.

Bank Account Opening Process in UAE

An offshore company has the liberty to open a corporate bank account which is flexible in nature. The bank accounts can support multiple currencies.

Faq for Company Registration in UAE

  • How much time is taken in incorporating an offshore Company in UAE?
  • The UAE offshore company can be incorporated in about 5 working days. Although the shelf companies are available immediately.
  • Are companies taxed in UAE?
  • The UAE has a 0% rate of corporation tax.
  • What are the documents required for incorporating a Company in UAE?
  • Documents required may vary according to the type of entity that the Investor wishes to have. It will also be in accordance with the proposed ownership structure of the new company. The basic documents are although the same.
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Narendra Kumar

Experienced Finance and Legal Professional with 12+ Years of Experience in Legal, Finance, Fintech, Blockchain, and Revenue Management.

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