Company Formation in Dubai

Why Dubai?

Dubai has become an ultimate destination for those who want to start a booming business. Thanks to its strategic location, stable economy, steady growth, tax-free regime, investor-friendly processes and etc. many consider it as their next location for business setup. Now let’s review some of the key factors that contribute to making Dubai an attractive business destination.

Major Benefits of Starting a Business in Dubai

Zero tax
Investor friendly environment
Steady economy
Supportive government
Availability of skilled human resources
No currency restrictions

Starting A Business in the UAE Free Zones

The UAE has always been famous for being he paradise for business owners and considering low tax, a strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and a lot more it’s not hard to guess why. Other incentives as economic stability, steady growth, larger markets, and the liberal trade regime are also too tempting to pass up. So, if you ever wonder what is better than owning a business in UAE, the answer is 100% ownership of that business is better than everything! And this dream is a reality when it comes to setting up a business in the UAE free zone. Stay with us to find other key advantages offered by the UAE free zones.

A free zone, or free trade zone, is an area with preferential tax and customs rates where goods and services can be traded. The main thought behind creating such zones is to boost international business in the region, therefore, they are generally located in strategic geographical locations. There are currently about 48 free zones situated all over Dubai (25 free zones), Abu Dhabi (7 free zones), Sharjah (5 free zones), Ras Al Khaimah (5 free zones), Fujairah (3 free zones), Ajman (2 free zones), and Umm Al Quwain (1 free zone). This number is constantly on the rise, considering new free zones being declared each year. You can choose your desired free zone as per your convenient location, visa requirements, budget, etc.

Advantages of Setting Up a Business in a Free Zone

  • 100% ownership without needing a local sponsor
  • 100% exemption from personal income tax and capital gain tax
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Zero restriction on currency movements
  • Single window clearances for administrative services
  • No visa restrictions for recruitment and easy recruitment procedures
  • Wide range of business licenses and activities
  • Easy start-up and licensing procedures

Types of Available Licenses in the UAE Free Zones

When a company is approved for the Free Zone, it is given a license by the respective free zone authority. Below is a list of a few common licenses that can be obtained by applicants in the UAE free zones.

  • Trade License. This grants companies to practice activities that are related to import and export or distribution of items and goods specified in the license. Ownership can remain 100% foreign.
  • Service License. This usually works for law firms, accounting firms, and business consultancy firms to carry out specified services.
  • Industrial License. Grants importing raw materials, manufacturing, and exporting finished products with ownership can remain 100% foreign.
  • General Trading License. Permits investors to trade in all kinds of products, import, distribute and store as per the free zone’s regulations.
  • Free Lance Permit. This allows freelancer professionals to conduct their business in their birth name as opposed to their brand name.

Note that companies with Trade or Industrial licenses can only conduct business within the Free Zone or abroad.

Start Your Business in the UAE Mainland for the Best of Benefits

If you are landed here chances are you are thinking of starting a business in UAE. With excellent infrastructure, no taxes, low import duties, simpler visa rules, a business-friendly environment, and a strategic location, the UAE is the mouth-watering option for intelligent investors. In addition to its trade-free zones, UAE also permits companies to operate in the Emirates Mainland. Take a good look at the below before you kick off the process of setting up your business in the UAE.

A mainland company or entity is an onshore company that is licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) of its own related emirate. A mainland registered company is permitted to carry out business activities throughout the UAE market, any free zone and even outside UAE without any constraint. This rule applies to entire commercial and/or professional licenses.

Generally speaking, Mainland companies benefit majorly by having access to the local market. Also, one great advantage of Mainland companies versus free zone companies is that they are allowed to take on governmental work, while free zone companies are banned from undertaking government contracts and are only allowed to carry out private commercial work.

Business Set up

The minimum capital prerequisite for a company on the mainland differs considering the legal form of business. A minimum of 200 sq. ft physical office space is compulsory for any mainland company in the UAE. There is no limitation of visas on the mainland license, a residence visa is given depending on the size of the office/ work premises which means that the more office space you have, the higher number of visas you may get. It’s worth noting that outdoor sales staff, PRO, and driver visas do not fall under this condition.

Ownership Structure

According to UAE law for incorporating this type of company, it is mandatory to have a UAE national owning a minimum of 51% shares and the remaining 49% of shares must go to the expat partner in the company. In other words, if you set up your business in the mainland, you will need a UAE national to be your sponsor and own 51% of the shares. However, your sponsor can provide you with a power of attorney and avoid any participation in the processes or profit-sharing.

Offshore Company Formation in UAE

UAE is a country that inspires everyone, it is the business hub of the Middle East, and for sure is an attractive destination for business owners and investors who want to boost their business and immerse themselves in a hassle-free environment for manufacturing, trading, and providing services. World-class infrastructure, outstanding transportation, a skillful workforce, and a tax-free business environment are among many features that are just too good to ignore. So, if you are interested to step in and try your chances in this iconic region, an offshore option can be an alternative for you. Stay with us to find out more.

What is an Offshore Company?

An offshore company- also known as a non-resident company- is an entity owned by individuals or corporate bodies, which does not carry out any substantial business activities in its country of formation. These companies are completely tax-exempt and of course do not need to have any tax obligations and annual accounting reports. The good news is UAE grants you 100% ownership of your offshore company and there is no requirement to share 51% of your company with a local sponsor. Offshore companies can have a bank account, but cannot occupy office space in the UAE.

As these kinds of companies enjoying cost-effective and tax-efficient corporate structure, they are generally more efficient under sectors as (but not limited to):

  • Shipping company
  • Holding company
  • International trading company
  • International consulting service
  • Copyright registering

It’s worth mentioning that for many, a Free Zone Company and an Offshore Company are the same due to similarities as free taxation, 100% foreign ownership and the fact that both companies are registered and licensed by Free Zone Authorities. Though offshore companies are structured under free zone they cannot be used as a direct substitute for a free zone company. Offshore companies are set up to operate a business outside their registered jurisdiction and they cannot rent office space in the UAE.

Advantages of Setting up an Offshore Company

  • 100% foreign ownership without needing of local sponsor
  • Zero taxation
  • No customs duty for import/export
  • No minimum capital requirement
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Complete anonymity and no need for name registration
  • Ability to transfer the property
  • Ability for opening a corporate bank account with leading UAE Banks
  • No office space requirements

Setting up as a Freelancer in Dubai

Becoming a freelancer is a fast and affordable way to start earning an income from home, also becoming your own boss is too tempting for some to pass up. The entrepreneurial culture and thriving economy of Dubai are among the reason which makes the dream of becoming a freelancer a great option to many creative minds and techies.

Benefits of Becoming a Freelancer in Dubai

  • Flexibility to work anytime from anywhere
  • Higher profit, fewer expenses
  • No need for office space
  • Going with multiple projects simultaneously

Top Professions to Work for as a Freelancer in UAE

Dubai is all about options and alternatives and deciding on your future career journey is not an exception. There are specific career paths that you’re allowed to freelance in which mainly are media, technology, and education. Some of the UAE’s top freelancing professions are:

  • Web/mobile/software development
  • IT and telecommunication networking
  • Data science and analytics
  • 3D Modelling and computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Teaching and training
  • Educational advisor
  • eLearning advisor
  • Writing and copywriting
  • Creative design
  • Photography
  • Sales and marketing
  • Graphics designing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Branding
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Legal services


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