Local customs may vary greatly from your home country and can be quite confusing. A setup geared and designed to meet your long-term needs, demands a seasoned skill set of sensible knowledge, as well as understanding of the local market. It is of vital importance to acquire a clear picture of the legal and cost implications along with comprehensive and up to date information to be able to choose the right legal format.
At Global Office, we have a thorough understanding of the structures, procedures, approvals, fees and licenses required by government and ministry. Local laws can be confusing and this is where we come in to explain you in detail the process and what are the pros and cons about each type of set up.
What are the License Requirements to Incorporate a Company in the UAE?
It is a legal and mandatory requirement that one must acquire a valid license from one of various government office, whether it will be a Free Zone or mainland UAE registration. Once a company is registered and the business license issued then you are allowed to conduct business along the activity stated on your license.
The available license types are
- Professional License
- Commercial/Trading License
- Industrial/Manufacturing License
Heavily regulated activities that require special approval from other ministries or different authorities are: Law, Health Care, Accounting & Auditing, Banking & Finance, Oil & Gas.
The licensing process and the respective document formalities and attestations to establish a new company is a tedious and often time consuming process. People who are inexperienced with the local customs can easily spent several months to accomplish a task that an experienced service provider can accomplish within a matter of days depending on the complexity of your legal set up.
What types of legal establishments are available?
An investor needs to carefully evaluate the type of set ups available to avoid making costly mistakes or choosing a wrong legal format. The following are the most frequent legal options available in the UAE:• Free Zone Company (FZE, FC, FZ-LLC, FZCO, FZC)
A companies that is registered in one of UAE's many free zones allows the investor to keep 100% foreign ownership. It allows the leverage of establishing and conducting different kinds of businesses such as industrial activities, trading and service related activities. Registration in a free zone requires the investor to take up office and/or warehouse space only within the boundaries of the free zone. Moving to another Free Zone requires a complete new set up and shutting down the old operation. Free Zones do not allow any transfers of licenses.• Joint Venture Company
Having a contractual agreement between a foreign and a local party can end up in a fruitful Joint Venture. The caveat is that the local equity partner(s) will have a shareholding percentage of min. 51%. This is regulated by local law.• Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC can be established having shareholders ranging from 2 to 50 people. This is the most common form of business as the investor can move freely within the mainland of each Emirate and take up commercial space in dedicated areas.• Offshore Company
This specific set up does not provide or entitle to have any UAE residence visa, nor to do business with local UAE market. This set up can only be used to conduct business outside the UAE or for asset holding.For companies or individuals who wish to outsource the tedious process of setting up a company in the UAE, Global Office provides the following services:
- Appropriate counseling which type of license and set up (Free Zone or mainland) would suit client's needs best.
- Provide a detailed overview of all costs involved.
- Check availability and obtain company name approval from concerned authorities.
- Prepare complete application package.
- Draft business plan or synopsis acc. to client’s data provided.
- Obtain initial approval from concerned government parties.
- Drafting of legal documents (Power of Attorney, Board Resolution)
- Submit legal package at with concerned government authority follow up till all legal documents are obtained.
- Payment of government related fees on behalf of investor.
- Open PO box in Free Zone or with local post office.
- Collecting company docs (Business License, Share Certificate, Chamber, Memorandum)
- Obtain office lease contract for commercial space inside free zone (or where applicable)