UAE offers all aspects that an investor can ever dream about -privacy, limited liability, asset protection and tax exemption. UAE is one of the prior business destinations in the world and its company formation is very much reputable, regulated, international trading solution. Registering a company in UAE is, always a long term option for any investor.
Requisites for doing business in UAE
While planning any business in UAE, at the outset , it is essential to pursue the steps outlined below in order to meet the legal requirements of all concerned government authorities and to guarantee maximum commercial benefits for the business owners.
- Submit the company registration application form and proposed company name to the Department of Economic Development (DED)
- Notarize the company’s Memorandum of Association in DED
- File company documents with Department for Economic Development (DED); obtain trade license and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry certificate
- Create a name board
- Apply for establishment card at the Ministry of Labor
- Register native workers with the Ministry of Labor
- Register employees/workers with the Ministry of Labor and General Authority for Pension and Social Security
The entire business activities in UAE can be categorized into the following three categories of licences:
- Commercial licences covering all kinds of trading activity.
- Professional licences including professions, services, craftsmen and artisans.
- Industrial licences for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity
UAE ownership requirements
Fifty-one per cent participation by UAE nationals is the mandatory requirement for all UAE established companies except:
- Where the law requires 100% local ownership
- In the Free Trade Zones where 100% foreign ownership is permitted
- In activities which are open to 100% AGCC ownership
- Where wholly owned AGCC companies enter into partnership with UAE nationals
- In respect of foreign companies registering branches or a representative office in Dubai.
- Professional or artisan companies where 100% foreign ownership is permitted.
UAE legal structures for business
In the past, each emirate followed its own procedures governing the operations of foreign business interests. However, currently Dubai and the other emirates followed the uniform system, whereby foreign companies operated in one of the three ways – with a local sponsor, through a partnership with a UAE national or company, or through a private limited company or public shareholding company incorporated by Ruler’s decree.
Since 1984, steps have been taken to introduce a codified companies’ law applicable throughout the UAE. Federal Law No. 8 of 1984, as amended by Federal Law No. 13 of 1988 – the “Commercial Companies Law” – and its by-laws have been issued.
The Federal Law stipulates a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial company and defines seven categories of business organization which can be established in the UAE. It sets out the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital levels and incorporation procedures. It further lays down provisions governing conversion, merger and dissolution of companies.
The seven categories of business organization defined by the law are
- General partnership company
- Joint venture company
- Public shareholding company
- Private shareholding company
- Limited liability company
- Share partnership company