What are the different kind of common business structures in UAE ?

  • Limited Liability Companies (L.L.C)
  • Free Zone companies
  • Offshore companies
  • Partnership firms
  • Proprietary concerns
  • Branch of foreign companies
  • Subsidiary companies

Can a L.L.C. company be incorporated without local Emirati national sponsor?

No, UAE national sponsor is mandatory for all L.L.C. structures. U.A.E National will have 51% shares in the company.

Are there any other parallel agreements with UAE nationals to protect the interest of expatriate shareholders?

Yes, generally a side agreement with local sponsor is followed; however, these are not valid in the court of law and can be used for the internal purpose.

What is the difference between free zone and L.L.C. companies?

Free zone companies can be fully owned by expatriate and no local sponsor is required There are restrictions in providing business services to main land areas of UAE, through a Free Zone company.

Free zone licenses are processed by respective free zone authorities whereas L.L.C. license are being processed by ministry of economic development and municipalities.

What are the features of offshore companies?

100% owned by expatriates

No income tax and 100% profit repatriation

Bank accounts in UAE

Complete confidentiality

Cannot conduct business activities in UAE

Is 100% profits of UAE companies are repatriable?

Yes, subject to the documentation and resolution by board of directors.

Is there any activity not permitted to conduct in UAE?

Activity is approved by the relevant license issuing authorities. Normally almost all activities are permitted, unless prohibited by the ministry.

What is the speciality for branch companies?

Branch companies can conduct the activity in UAE, in line with the activity of parent company. Also this activity should be permitted to conduct in UAE. Branch activities will be consolidated in parent companies books of accounts.

Is UAE is completely tax free?

Yes, UAE is completely free from income tax, vat etc.

Tax is being imposed only on some much selected activities in UAE.

Can one single person form a company in UAE?

Yes, it is permitted to have a company with a single shareholder. However, L.L.C

companies will have minimum of 2 shareholders.

Can a UAE based company own free hold properties in UAE or outside?

Yes, UAE based companies can own any free hold properties in UAE or outside UAE.

What is a tax residency certificate?

Tax residency certificates are certificates issued by UAE ministry of finance as a proof of residency in UAE, for both individuals and companies, as a part of double taxation treaty agreements by UAE government with other countries.

Do we provide the incorporation services in entire UAE?

Yes, we provide the incorporation services in all emirates of UAE, including offshore, free zone and main land companies.

Do I have to rent an office or warehouse in Dubai?

Most Free Zones require businesses operating in their Free Zone to have physical presence there. In most cases to qualify for and to hold a license, the company must be in possession of a valid lease for office space, warehouse space, or development land. Physical presence in Dubai might furthermore be attractive for tax reasons, which we can tell you more.

What is the minimum capital requirement for the business setup in a Dubai free zone?

The minimum capital requirement to incorporation of a Free Zone Limited Liability company (FZ-LLC) depends on the business activity.

How long does it take to set up a business in Dubai? What is the indicative time frame for the registration and licensing process?

This depends on the Free Zone and whether the company will have an individual or corporate shareholder. Even though it is often stated that a company can be formed within 48 hours, our experience is that it is best to keep in mind that it can take between 3 – 6 weeks to get your business up and running.

Is it required to have an employment residence visa when registering my business in UAE?

It is not compulsory to have an employment / residence visa for a new company setup in the UAE. But, it is desirable that the General Manager of the company does obtain one. It is required for the visa holder to be in Dubai every 180 days (6 months) otherwise the visa will be cancelled. In order to obtain the visa the person needs to be in the UAE for approximately one week, during which he/she will need to undergo a medical exam.

Do I need to appoint a local service agent in order to obtain a DED branch of free zone company license?

Yes a local service agent is required in case of Free Zone Company.
No in case if the free zone company has the local partner with an ownership of more than 51%, the DED will consider the FZC to be a UAE company, so a local service agent will not be required.

Is it possible to register the company in UAE (outside free zone) without permission of a local partner?

Physical presence of the owner of the company at the time of registration is mandatory.

Do I have to pay share capital at the time of registration?

When registering a company in the UAE (outside Free Zones) payment of share capital is not required. But most of the Free Zones require payment of the share capital.

Is it possible to open a residence visa with an offshore company?

An offshore company in the UAE does not qualify for residence visa.

What taxes and duties are applied in UAE?

Companies registered both in the UAE (outside Free Zones) and within Free Zones are completely exempt from tax. Taxes are imposed only on the oil and gas industry, banking, hospitality and catering.

Can I sell directly to the local market?

Usually you cannot sell directly to the local market, but you can sell to the local agent or the dealer in the local market upon the payment of the levies.