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With 7 Emirates making up the UAE; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khamiah, Fujairah, Ajman & Umm Al Quwain; in order to determine which Emirate is best for you some thought should be given to:
- The location of your main clients?
- Do you hope to trade with Government bodies (typically they will prefer a mainland licence)?
- Do you need premises to project your business or to receive clients?
- Where do you want to base yourself?
- Especially important if you require office/industrial space?
- What are the rental costs?
Your specific business activity and the location of your clients will go a long way to determining where your business should be located. These points will be discussed with you in more detail during the consultation.
Free Zone Licence:
Free Zone businesses are located in designated areas where they can conduct business freely, with no restrictions on the type or volume of goods sold. However, for commercial trade licenses and trading physical goods, Free Zone companies cannot conduct local UAE mainland business directly. For businesses in the Freezone to trade with the UAE mainland, they must do so through a distributor or agent. They cannot trade outside of their designated area. If a business chooses to do this, then they will be charged 5% import duty on local invoices.
An onshore establishment is a company set up in the UAE that has been licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). An onshore company may conduct business locally as well as internationally without any restrictions.
Yes, all companies in the UAE must have a General Manager (GM). In the UAE, the GM is a corporate officer that has legal responsibilities and duties. The GM is in charge of overseeing the daily operations of the company and making sure that they are fully compliant with local laws. The GM can be the owner or another appointee. The role of GM is listed in the constitutional documents of the legal entity. It is essential that someone being appointed in the position of GM has a clear understanding of the responsibilities and associated risks of this role.
Most free zone licences often include a lease agreement within the package. However, banks in particular are increasingly viewing these less favourably due to their ‘virtual nature’ and encouraging business owners to rent some sort of physical office space. For Mainland, in order to obtain your trade license, you need to have a commercial lease agreement. This is a contract between you and the landlord for the use of their property for business purposes. It is important because it allows you to operate under Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) or Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADED). In addition, you will also need an Ejari (Dubai) or Tawtheeq (Abu Dhabi) – these are your municipality lease agreements and they are required in order to receive your trade license. In Dubai, a minimum of 200 square feet is required for Office Spaces, Business Centres and Shops while 500 square feet is the minimum requirement for warehouses in Abu Dhabi. The office must have an external door and signage will be inspected by the Department of Economic Development before a trade license is issued. Depending on your budget and licence type, there will be an optimal cost-effective route to pursue. Discussing your plans during a consultation will help you understand the options available to you and where flexibility can be found.
It depends on the complexity of the business to be incorporated. For a simple Free Zone Enterprise (FZE), it is possible to incorporate a company in just 3-5 days, but for an industrial facility, you may need several months to obtain all the necessary permits. On average, it is best to assume a timescale of 2-4 weeks to be on the safe side.
You do not need to be physically present in order to incorporate your business and we can manage this on your behalf remotely. In order to process a residency visa, you will need to be present for your medical and opening of any bank account in UAE will require a face to face meeting.
What are the different types of licences available in the UAE?
When you’re starting a company, there are many factors to consider when you’re choosing your business structure. One of the most important elements is understanding the differences between Freezone and Mainland companies.
If you’re looking to secure government contracts or require external approval, you’ll want to register your company under DED. DED is the main licensing body in the UAE and will ensure you are compliant with all government regulations.
With over 2,500 activities in Dubai to choose from that are grouped into six different licence categories, there is scope to build a business licence that suits your activity.
- Craftsmanship – also known as Occupational
NEXUS PARTNERS – FZCO
101 Building A2, Dubai Silicon Oasis
P.O Box 451267 – Al Barsha, Dubai, UAE
(+971) 52 252 3752