Companies registered in the United Arab Emirates are regulated by the United Arab Emirates Corporate Law, but every emirate operates based on its own corporate code.
The United Arab Emirates have a total of three jurisdictions for the incorporation of companies:
An offshore company in the United Arab Emirates is surely the most popular and most efficient way of doing business internationally.
The UAE offers three offshore jurisdictions: Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai and Ajman, which are very similar with regard to the offered facilities and only slightly differ in their long-term development goals.
Offshore companies registered in Dubai (Jebel Ali Offshore Company), for example, are the only ones permitted to own real estate in the Emirate of Dubai.
Offshore companies in Ras Al Khaimah are a light-weight and flexible option for foreign entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the many benefits of a RAK offshore company, without having to establish a physical presence in the Emirates.
The United Arab Emirates currently have over 47 free trade zones in place, with even more being under construction. Each freezone is governed by their respective Free Zone Authority and was designed to accommodate one or more company types, for which the Free Zone Authority will issue an operating license.
Free zone companies are limited to performing the activities relating to their business license and will have to lease an office space in the freezone where they are registered. Free zone companies can obtain residency visas in the UAE for its director, employees or shareholders.
A mainland company in the United Arab Emirates is an onshore company registered in one of the seven Emirates, that is allowed to do business both within the UAE and internationally without restrictions. These companies are regulated by the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the Emirate where the company is registered. The DED is also the authority which will issue the business license required for the company to start operating.
Six types of license are available:
In companies with a commercial or industrial license, foreign shareholders may hold a maximum of 49% of the shares; 51% must be held by a UAE national. Only the professional license allows for 100% of the shares to be held by a foreigner, but a local service agent must be appointed.Contact us