5 Steps to Start a Foundation in Dubai, UAE

Dubai is a place where many people come to start businesses, but it’s also becoming popular for another reason: starting foundations. More and more people are interested in giving back to the community. If you’re one of them, this guide is for you. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to Start a Foundation in Dubai, UAE. From the rules you need to follow to the steps for getting started, we’ve got it all covered. 

What is the Meaning of a Foundation? 

A Foundation in Dubai, UAE, serves as a legal entity designed to manage assets for specific charitable or social objectives. Often considered an alternative to trusts and corporations, foundations in Dubai offer a blend of asset protection and philanthropic goals. They are increasingly popular in the UAE for estate planning, social care, and business continuity. 

Types of Foundations in Dubai 

When it comes to starting a foundation in Dubai, you have several options to choose from. Understanding these options can help you make the best choice for your cause. Here are the main types: 

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) 

These are independent organizations that work to address social issues. They are not part of the government but often collaborate with it. 

Social Clubs 

These are groups that focus on social activities and community building. They can range from sports clubs to cultural organizations. 


These are organized groups of people who come together for a common purpose, such as professional development or advocacy. 

Each of these types of foundations in Dubai has its own set of rules and benefits. Whether you’re interested in starting an NGO, a social club, or an association, it’s important to understand the specific requirements and advantages of each type of association. 

Please note that the information provided in this chart is subject to change and may vary over time. While we strive to keep our content updated, real-time information may differ from what is presented here.  

Legal Requirements for Starting a Foundation 

Starting a foundation in Dubai involves several legal steps to ensure that your organization operates within the framework of the law. Here are some of the key requirements: 

Chamber of Commerce Registration 

Your foundation needs to be registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. This is a crucial step in legitimizing your organization and gaining access to various benefits and resources. 

Community Development Authority (CDA) Requirements 

Foundations, especially those focused on social welfare, must also comply with the Community Development Authority (CDA) guidelines. This may include submitting specific documents and undergoing evaluations. 

Special Licenses Needed 

Depending on the nature of your foundation, you may need special licenses. For example, if you’re starting a social club, you’ll need a social club event license. 

It’s worth mentioning that navigating these legal requirements can be complex. While this guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview, the intricacies of starting a foundation and how to register a non-profit organization can vary. That’s where expert guidance can make a difference. Many organizations have found it beneficial to consult with experts who are well-versed in the local legal landscape. 

How to Register a Foundation in Dubai, UAE 

When it comes to establishing a foundation in Dubai, one of the key steps is registering with the Community Development Authority (CDA).u003ca href=u0022https://www.dubaibusinessadvisors.com/blogs/u0022u003e Adam Globalu003c/au003e can guide you through this often complex process, ensuring that you meet all legal requirements. Here’s how we can assist you: 

u003cstrongu003eStep 1: Document Preparationu003c/strongu003eu003cemu003e u003c/emu003e

Adam Global will help you compile all the necessary documents required for CDA registration. This includes identity verification for board members, a detailed business plan, and financial statements. 

u003cstrongu003eStep 2: Application Submissionu003c/strongu003eu003cemu003e u003c/emu003e

Our team will handle the submission of your application to the CDA, filling out all required forms and attaching the necessary documents, thereby streamlining the process for you. 

u003cstrongu003eStep 3: Review and Approvalu003c/strongu003eu003cemu003e u003c/emu003e

Once the application is submitted, Adam Global will liaise with the CDA on your behalf for any reviews or additional information needed. We’ll keep you updated throughout this phase. 

u003cstrongu003eStep 4: License Procurementu003c/strongu003eu003cemu003e u003c/emu003e

Depending on your foundation’s focus, additional licenses may be required. Adam Global can assist in obtaining these, ensuring you’re fully compliant with Dubai’s legal landscape. 

u003cstrongu003eStep 5: Finalizing Registrationu003c/strongu003eu003cemu003e u003c/emu003e

u003cimg src=u0022https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/EpfxeALWkKW_COP1kzjtN0-vWQy-S7Ls_7rxwPdLkCAha3kwU9WiPIE-9OvnfOD-j2Ur46G-PUQTcNeSyNIa2blu3H3ZWq1-Xu37wv0jNVUXFAEw-veMCiAJVnKTRuDmdY4g8eqNa3DqmhzkYPZteUgu0022 alt=u0022u0022u003eu003cbru003eUpon receiving all necessary approvals,u003ca href=u0022https://www.dubaibusinessadvisors.com/u0022u003e Adam Globalu003c/au003e will finalize your foundation’s registration, making it officially recognized and ready to operate in Dubai. u003cbru003eBy leveraging the expertise of Dubai company formation agents like Adam Global, the registration of the NGO becomes a hassle-free experience. We specialize in company registration in Dubai and can guide you through each step of the process. 

Management and Governance of Foundations in Dubai 

Effective management and governance are crucial for the success of any foundation. In this section, we’ll explore the requirements for a management board and the different management regimes in the UAE. 

Management Board Requirements 

A foundation’s management board is responsible for overseeing its operations and ensuring compliance with local laws. Adam Global can assist in setting up a board that meets the legal requirements, including the number of members, their qualifications, and their roles. 

Differences in Foundation Management Regimes in the UAE 

Management structures can vary depending on the jurisdiction under which a foundation is established. For instance, foundations under the Dubai International Financial Centre have different governance requirements compared to those established elsewhere in the UAE. 

Opening a Foundation in the UAE 

When opening a foundation in the UAE, it’s essential to understand the specific governance and management requirements. These can differ based on the type of foundation and its objectives. 

Starting a Foundation Under RAKICC

Key Features

Objectives: Charitable or non-charitable

Legal Framework: Common law (DIFC or ADGM).

Privacy: No public disclosure.

Assets: Can hold various UAE assets.

Steps to Start

Define Objectives: Decide on charitable or non-charitable aims.

Legal Documents: Submit Charter and By-Laws

Team: Select the founder, Council Members, and Registered Agent.

Register Address: Must be in the UAE with an RAK ICC Registered Agent.

Compliance: File documents with the Registrar and maintain annual accounts.

Starting a Foundation Under DIFC

Key Features

Objectives: Exclusively charitable, with the option to benefit specific individuals or groups.

Legal Framework: Governed by DIFC law

Privacy: Subject to public disclosure.

Assets: Can hold a variety of UAE assets.

Steps to Start

Define Objectives: They must be exclusively charitable and may include specific beneficiaries.

Legal Documents: Submit Charter and By-Laws

Team: Select the founder, Council Members, and optionally, a DIFC Registered Agent, Guardian, and Designee.

Register Address: Must be based in DIFC.

Compliance: File required documents with the Registrar and maintain annual accounts at the Registered Office.

Starting a Foundation Under ADGM

Key Features

Objectives: It focuses on the management and distribution of assets and income. Not for charitable purposes.

Legal Framework: Governed by ADGM law

Privacy: Minimal public disclosure.

Assets: Can hold various types of UAE assets.

Steps to Start

Define Objectives: Primarily for asset management and income distribution.

Legal Documents: Submit Charter and By-Laws.

Team: Select Founder, Council Members, and optionally, an ADGM Registered Agent, Guardian, and Designee.

Register Address: It must be located in ADGM.

Compliance: File necessary documents with the Registrar, maintain annual accounts and adhere to annual data protection requirements.

Where Foundations Can Be Established in UAE, Dubai 

Foundations can be established in various jurisdictions within Dubai and the broader UAE. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules and regulations concerning management and governance. 

By understanding these aspects, you can make informed decisions when opening a foundation in the UAE. Adam Global can guide you through these complexities, ensuring that your foundation can be established in the UAE and Dubai in compliance with all legal requirements. 

Differences between different types of foundations in the UAE 

Type of Foundation Governance Structure Tax Benefit Description Asset Protection Level Additional Notes 
NGO Board of Directors Tax exemptions are generally available for NGOs involved in charitable activities. Moderate NGOs are often subject to additional regulatory oversight due to their charitable nature. 
Social Club Committee Limited tax benefits, usually restricted to specific activities or events. Low Social clubs are generally more relaxed in terms of governance but have fewer protections. 
Associations Executive Committee Tax benefits are available, especially if the association is involved in social welfare. High Associations often have stringent governance structures and robust asset protection mechanisms. 

Financial Aspects of Starting a Foundation in Dubai 

Understanding the financial aspects is crucial when establishing a foundation in Dubai. In this section, we’ll delve into the tax benefits and asset protection features that foundations can avail themselves of. 

Tax Benefits 

Dubai offers several tax incentives for foundations, making it a financially attractive option for philanthropic activities. Adam Global can guide you through the tax landscape, helping you maximize these benefits. 

Asset Protection 

Foundations in Dubai provide a secure way to manage and protect assets. Whether it’s real estate, investments, or intellectual property, a foundation offers a legal structure that safeguards these assets. 

  • When you’re looking to set up a business in Dubai, including a foundation, it’s essential to consult experts who understand the local financial landscape. Adam Global, as one of the leading company formation agents in Dubai, can provide you with the financial insights and strategies needed for a successful foundation setup. 

Conditions for Opening a Foundation in Dubai, UAE 

When you decide to start a foundation in Dubai, UAE, there are several conditions and roles you must consider. Understanding these elements is crucial for the successful establishment and operation of your foundation. Below is a detailed breakdown: 

Essential Roles and Conditions 

  • Founder: This is the individual or entity responsible for establishing the foundation and providing its initial assets. 
  • Council: Think of this as your foundation’s governing body, like a corporate Board of Directors. A minimum of two members is required, and they can be either individuals or legal entities. 
  • Guardian: This role serves as the foundation’s protector, overseeing the Council’s actions and ensuring they align with the founder’s intentions. 
  • Designee: In the absence of a beneficiary, this entity or individual will inherit the foundation’s assets. If none is designated, the assets will default to the local authorities. 
  • Qualified Recipients: These are the beneficiaries entitled to the foundation’s income, which can be individuals or entities. 
  • Registered Agent: The foundation must be hosted by a registered agent. Adam Global offers this service. 
  • Court Jurisdiction: You have the option to choose between DIFC or ADGM courts for legal matters concerning your foundation. 
  • Lifespan: Your foundation can have a limited lifespan, be it by date, years, or specific events. 
  • Initial Capital: A minimum initial capital of USD 100 is required. 
  • Accounting: Maintaining accurate financial records is mandatory, and while annual audits are recommended, they are not obligatory. 
  • Registration Timeline: The process usually takes around 3 working days 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Why Choose Adam Global?

 Adam Global. stands as a beacon of trust, expertise, and comprehensive service offerings in the realm of professional services, including foundation setup in Dubai. Here are compelling reasons why Adam Global is the go-to choice for this crucial endeavour:

  • Unparalleled Expertise
  • Comprehensive Service Range
  • Customized Solutions
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Client-Centric Approach
  • Global Network

By choosing  Adam Global. for your foundation setup in Dubai, you’re not just hiring a service provider; you’re gaining a partner committed to your long-term success.

Mr. Victor Murray is a seasoned business consultant at Adam Global, renowned for his expertise in Foundation Setup. His proficiency extends to advising clients on making informed choices in philanthropy, particularly in selecting the right type of foundation. According to Victor, the choice between NGOs, Social Clubs, and Associations largely depends on one’s core objectives. Whether it’s large-scale impact or community engagement, Victor’s insights are backed by years of experience and a comprehensive range of services offered by Adam Global. For personalized advice, Victor can be reached at +971 56 501 4164.