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Company & Branch Formation

Forming a company and opening a branch in Dubai involves navigating the legal and regulatory framework of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here's a general overview of the process. Keep in mind that regulations may have changed since then, so it's crucial to consult with legal professionals or official sources for the most up-to-date information.

About Company & Branch Formation

  • Types of Company Setup
  • Free Zone Company
  • Mainland Company
  • Branch Office
  • Legal Structures
  • Licensing
  • Documentation
  • Local Sponsorship
  • Location and Premises
  • Registration and Approvals
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Compliance and Regulations

Explanation About Company & Branch Formation

Remember that Dubai's regulations can change

and the specifics of the process may vary based on your business activities

the chosen type of entity, and other factors. It's highly recommended

to consult with legal and business professionals who specialize in UAE company formation to ensure accurate and up-to-date information tailored to your situation.

There are several types of business entities you can establish in Dubai
  • A. Free Zone Company:
  • These are businesses set up in designated free zones, offering tax benefits and 100% foreign ownership. Each free zone caters to specific industries.
  • B. Mainland Company:
  • This type of company allows you to operate anywhere in Dubai or the UAE and engage with the local market. However, you would need a local UAE national as a partner (sponsor) holding 51% ownership in most cases.
  • C. Branch Office:
  • This involves establishing a branch of an existing foreign company in Dubai. The branch is an extension of the parent company, and activities are typically limited to those specified in the parent company's license.

    For each type of company, there are different legal structures available, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietorships, and more. The choice of structure will depend on your business goals, ownership preferences, and the nature of your business.

    To set up a company or branch, you'll need to obtain the necessary licenses from the relevant authorities. This involves specifying the activities your company will engage in and obtaining the appropriate approvals.

    The specific documentation required can vary depending on the type of entity and the activities you plan to undertake. Generally, you'll need documents like business plans, incorporation documents, passport copies of shareholders/directors, and more.

    For mainland companies, you'll need a local sponsor, often a UAE national or a company wholly owned by UAE nationals, to hold the majority ownership (51%) of the business. The terms of the sponsorship can be outlined in a legal agreement.

    Decide whether you'll operate within a free zone or on the mainland. Each has its advantages and limitations. Additionally, you'll need to find suitable office space or premises that align with your business activities.

    Once you have your documentation and sponsorship in place, you'll need to register your company with the relevant authorities. This includes obtaining trade licenses, registering with the Chamber of Commerce, and fulfilling other requirements specific to your business.

    If you're planning to relocate employees to Dubai, you'll need to apply for the necessary visas and work permits.

    Compliance with local laws, regulations, and financial reporting requirements is crucial. Engaging legal and financial advisors familiar with UAE laws can help you stay compliant.