Establishing a Company in Dubai

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The growth of Dubai over the last 15 years as an economic hub has been prolific.  Whether wishing to establish a branch of an existing business to utilize the strategic geographical location or looking to start a new venture in the region, setting up a company in Dubai can take as little as one working week.

To simplify the process, there are a number of steps to be considered and prepared for to make it as smooth as possible.

  • The business type and activity will determine which category of business license will be required and should be reflected in the trading name selected.
  • The structure and type of license may also be determined by th business activity your business will cover. Some businesses, Law for example cannot be licensed as a sole proprietor.
  • As an expat, if you wish to have 100% ownership of the company, it will need to be formed in one of the Freezone authorities which will in turn have restrictions on where and who you can conduct business with.
  • To establish a license and carry out business in mainland Dubai, you will need to apply for a trade license from the Dubai Economic Department. This license will require you to have a local partner or sponsor who, by law, must hold a minimum of 51% ownership of the company.
  • The particulars of how the company will operate in terms of profit and loss will be determined in the legal documentation (Memorandum of Association). Speak to your legal advisor to ensure your documentation adequately protects your interest in the business.

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