Business Setup Services

Business Setup Services in Dubai


UAE is the leading regional trading hub; it offers access to a market of outstanding potential for overseas companies. Among its key characteristics are: 

  • A growing market – Dubai’s imports have more than doubled since 1989; regional economic growth and liberalisation is set to boost demand;
  • A prosperous market – strategic location at the heart of one of the world’s richest regions;
  • A diversified market – wide import requirements; opportunities for suppliers of most products;
  • An accessible market – served by more than 170 shipping lines and 86 airlines; An open market – no exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers.


UAE offers business sector all the advantages of a highly developed economy. The infrastructure and services match the highest international standards, facilitating efficiency, quality and service. Among the benefits are: 

  • Free enterprise system.
  • Highly developed transportation infrastructure
  • State-of-the-art telecommunications
  • Top international exhibitions and conference venue
  • High quality office and residential accommodation.
  • Reliable power, utilities etc
  • First class hotels, hospitals, schools, shops and Cosmopolitan lifestyle.
  • Inexpensive Workforce and Easy Recruitment Procedures

Obviously, their economic development strategy has been successful and the investment incentives, infrastructures, banking services, insurances and political and social stability created an excellent business climate. 



Doing business in the UAE is very attractive due to the following reasons 

  • No personal income and capital taxes
  • No corporate taxation
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No currency restrictions
  • Competitive import duties (5% with many exemptions).
  • Modern efficient communication facilities
  • Abundant and inexpensive energy supply
  • Simple staff recruitment procedures
  • Competitive freight charges
  • Competitive real estate costs.
  • Easy access to both sea and airports.




The normal maximum working hours are eight per day or 48 per week. However, these hours may be increased to nine daily for people working in the retail trade, hotels, restaurants and other such establishments. Similarly, daily working hours may be reduced for difficult or dangerous jobs. Many businesses work on a two-shift system (for example, 8am – 1pm and 4pm – 7pm ). As in all Muslim countries, Friday is the weekly day of rest. 

In practice, commercial and professional firms work 40-45 hours a week and government ministries about 35. The weekend for office workers has traditionally been Thursday afternoon and Friday (for government office workers, Thursday and Friday), but a number of organisations have changed to a five-day week with Friday and Saturday as the weekend. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, normal working hours are reduced by two hours per day. 

There are 10 days of public holidays (paid) in any year. The employee’s annual leave is two days for every month if his service is more than six months and less than a year. In every completed year of service after the first, an employee is entitled to 30 days annual paid leave. This is in addition to public holidays, maternity leave for women and sick leave. 


There are no exchange controls in the UAE and its currency, the UAE Dirham, is freely convertible. The Dirham is linked to the US dollar, the currency by which oil prices are measured. The exchange rate has remained at AED 3.675 = US$ 1 since 1977. 


The basic requirement for all business activity in UAE is one of the following three categories of licenses: 

  • Commercial licenses covering all kinds of trading activity;
  • Professional licenses covering professions, services, craftsmen and artisans;
  • Industrial licenses for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity.

Some categories of businesses require approval from ministries also: for example, banks and financial institutions from the Central Bank of the UAE; manufacturing from the Ministry of Finance and Industry; and pharmaceutical and medical products from the Ministry of Health; branch of foreign company from the ministry of Economy and Commerce. More detailed procedures apply to businesses engaged in oil or gas production and related industries. 


Fifty-one per cent participation by UAE nationals is the general requirement for all UAE established companies except: 

  • Where the law requires 100% local ownership;
  • In the Free Trade Zones where 100% foreign ownership is permitted;
  • In activities open to 100% AGCC ownership;
  • Where wholly owned AGCC companies enter into partnership with UAE nationals;
  • In respect of foreign companies registering branches or a representative office in Dubai;
  • In professional or artisan companies where 100% foreign ownership is permitted.


n practice, however, Dubai and the other emirates followed the same general system, whereby foreign companies operated in one of three ways: with a local sponsor, through a partnership with a UAE national or company, or through a private limited company or public shareholding company incorporated by Ruler’s decree. Since 1984, steps have been taken to introduce a codified companies law applicable throughout the UAE. Federal Law No. 8 of 1984, as amended by Federal Law No. 13 of 1988 – the "Commercial Companies Law" – and its by-laws have been issued. In broad terms the provisions of the Law are as follows: The Federal Law stipulates a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial company and defines seven categories of business organization which can be established in the UAE. It sets out the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital levels and incorporation procedures. It further lays down provisions governing conversion, merger and dissolution of companies. 


The Federal Law stipulates a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial company and defines seven categories of business organization, which can be established in the UAE. It sets out the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital levels and incorporation procedures. The seven categories of business organisation defined by the Law are: 

  • General Partnerships
  • Simple Limited Partnerships
  • Joint Participation (Ventures)
  • Public Joint Stock Companies
  • Private Joint Stock Company
  • Limited Liabilty Companies
  • Partnerships Limited with Shares.

Out of these seven activities LLCs are more commonly used by the foreign investors. Apart from these seven categories, FDIs are encouraged through branches and Representative Offices of foreign companies and 100% foreign owned Proffesional Firms.

100% foreign ownership is permitted in the UAE Free Zones. 

Steps followed for a UAE Company Formation:

  • Licensing
  • Name & Activity Approval
  • Company License Registration with Article of Association (notarised in the court)
  • Assisstance with Funding of Paid up Capital for the New Company
  • Company Immigration / Labour Approval
  • Arrangement of local sponsor / Partners
  • Drafting of all Legal Documents for the Company Registration. Assistance with Visas for Partners and Employees
  • Assistance for Business Offices
  • Assistance for new Bank Account.