Company incorporation in Dubai is possible in three ways – Mainland Company, Freezone Company and Offshore Company.
Mainland Company Incorporation Dubai: A mainland company, also known as an onshore company or LLC, is a legal entity registered with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). This type of company allows for unrestricted business activities within the UAE and abroad, and allows for trading with both mainland and free zone companies. And the best part is, now to establish a full-fledged mainland company or a foreign branch in mainland Dubai, foreigners don’t have to share their 51% of business ownership with a local sponsor or partner like previously. To put it simply, 100% ownership is permitted for mainland businesses, in accordance with the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2020 amending the provisions of Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies.
Freezone Incorporation Dubai: A free zone company is registered with one of the many free zones in Dubai. Free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and other benefits such as the ability to repatriate all profits and capital. However, free zone companies are restricted from doing business within the free zone and cannot trade directly with mainland companies. This means they have to involve a local distributor to do so.
Offshore Incorporation Dubai: At present, an offshore company can be registered with the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), the Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAKICC) or Ajman Free Zone. Offshore companies are designed for international business activities and offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and other benefits. However, offshore companies cannot conduct business within the UAE and are only allowed to have a registered office in the UAE. This structure is cost-effective and tax-efficient and gives the owner access to the global market with negligible administrative work required. Such companies make better sense if the intention of the founder is any of the following:
- International trade
- Formation of holding companies
- Owning real estate
- Registration of copyrights and patents
- International consulting services
- Business expansion without breaking the bank
Company Incorporation Dubai: An Overview
In Dubai, forming a company is a straightforward, step-by-step process that doesn’t necessitate many trips to the business setup consultants or lawyers. The procedures for company incorporation in Dubai are acknowledged as being legitimate, and they include registering the company name and obtaining a commercial activity license from the relevant authority. Companies incorporated in Dubai are required to follow UAE Commercial Companies Law to stay legal and avoid expensive troubles.
Company Incorporation Dubai: Process, Documentation & Costs
Mainland Company Incorporation in Dubai
A mainland company in Dubai can be formed in a matter of 15 minutes by submitting an online application to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) via Bashr, an integrated eService. The platform is linked with federal and local government entities, which offer commercial licence services. DED and other government agencies must be consulted in order to start a firm the conventional way. Such stages and the investor’s route to open a business in the Dubai mainland are described below.
- Determining a business activity (6 License types and 2000+ business activities)
- Selecting an appropriate legal form (out of 12 legal structures)
- Registering the trade name (propose at least 3 appropriate names)
- Receiving an initial approval (mandatory to proceed with the licensing process)
- Drafting a Memorandum of Association (or local service agent agreement, if applicable)
- Leasing a business location (the tenancy contract must be RERA registered)
- Obtaining additional government approvals (applicable to specific economic activities)
- Submitting license application along with the relevant documents and paying application fees (within 30 days of the payment voucher generation)
- Open a corporate bank account (in a local UAE bank)
- Process visas (for self, employees and family members)
- Hire employees (register with the Ministry of Labour)
1. Initial approval receipt and all the previously-submitted documents
2. Copy of the lease contract duly attested by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in Dubai
3. Duly attested memorandum of association (for all types of companies)
4. Approvals from other government entities concerned, as may be required
5. Duly attested service agent contract (for civil establishments and companies that are 100% owned by non-GCC nationals), the UAE involving a local service agent.
Free Zone Company Incorporation in Dubai
Dubai is home to about 25 fully-operational free zones, each better than the next. You may choose the one that checks all the boxes. A local business consultant such as Adam Global can help you in selecting the best and cheapest free zone for your company incorporation in Dubai. Here’s a list of some popular free zones in Dubai.
Once, you are sure about the free zone jurisdiction you want to register your company with, you are required to follow the below-mentioned steps, which are almost similar to mainland company incorporation in Dubai, to obtain the trade license and complete the incorporation process.
- Decide on the business activities to determine the license type
- Select the legal form of your free zone company out of two choices – Free Zone Limited Liability Company (aka Free Zone Company) or Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
- Choose an appropriate name for your free zone company in line with the UAE standards and register it with the local authority
- Apply for a business licence as per the primary activity chosen
- Buy or lease office space in the chosen free zone only. Lease agreements will be prepared by the authority.
- Attain pre-approvals, register your business and receive your licence
- Start the visa process
Completed application form
Copy of existing trade licence/registration certificate (if you are an existing company, applicable for a local company only)
Coloured passport copies of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
Specimen signature of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
2 years’ audited financial reports for a corporate entity or certificate of reference from a personal bank of the individual shareholder
NOC from current sponsor (for individuals)
Unit title deed
Letter of Intent
Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) for Manager/Director (Original and notarised)
Initial approval certificate
Completed application for registration
Board Resolution appointing Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
Power of Attorney given to Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
Memorandum and Articles of Association (Notarised and attested)
Specimen signature of Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
Passport-size photo of the Manager/Director against the white background
Share capital information
Lease agreement copy
Offshore Company Incorporation in Dubai
UAE offshore incorporation enables you to manage your business or Middle Eastern asset ownership in the most profitable way possible. Particularly since you avoid the laborious procedure of having numerous embassies and ministries of foreign affairs certify the documentation for the off-shore incorporation business. As mentioned in the beginning, you have 3 choices when it comes to offshore company formation in UAE – Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) and Ajman Free Zone. Coming back to Dubai Offshore Company Incorporation, here are the steps to incorporate an Offshore business in the JAFZ free zone, one of the best free zones in Dubai.
- Register your interest online by submitting a completed form on the JAFZA website
- Wait to be contacted by the JAFZA sales team to further verify your application
- Select a registered agent to manage all administrative and other work related to dealings with JAFZA. Adam Consulting is JAFZA registered.
- Submit your signed application form along with the list of all relevant documents
A Jafza offshore company will not receive any business license but a Certificate of Incorporation. This means the offshore company cannot carry out any commercial activity with individuals within the UAE.
Documentation for Offshore Company Incorporation in Dubai
With the following paperwork, an offshore company can be registered in about two days.
Documents for Individual Shareholders
- Copy of the shareholder’s passport
- Evidence of residence (Any utility bill evidencing the address of the applicant)
- Reference letter from a bank
- A comprehensive resume of the shareholder
- Name and functions of the potential offshore firm
- Details about the offshore company’s final beneficiaries
Documents from Shareholders of Corporate Entities
- Attested copy of a trade license or incorporation certificate
- Resolution of the original shareholders (Attested)
- Memorandum of Association (MOA) of the parent organization
- Passport copies for the UAE offshore company’s directors, shareholders, and secretary
- A certificate of good standing from the parent firm (Attested)
- Parent company’s occupancy certificate, which includes the shareholders’ and directors’ names
Get Expert Assistance in Company Incorporation Dubai
Whether mainland business setup, freezone establishment or offshore company formation, to simplify the business incorporation process in Dubai and save your time and energy, you may get in touch with one of the best business setup consultants in Dubai namely Adam Global anytime. We are just a click away. Having a free consultation or two with company setup advisors doesn’t harm, especially when you are new to Dubai and are not familiar with the local laws.
We are experts in Dubai company formation who operate with high moral standards and deliver top-notch client service. We promise a seamless transaction because of the highly qualified individuals on our team that specialise in Company Incorporation Dubai and UAE.