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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Business opportunities for doing business in the UAE


There are ample opportunities for doing business in theUAE. At the present time the economy is booming - GDP having risen by 20.4 per cent in 2000. Although a significant proportion of that increase was due to higher oil prices. Government encouraged industrial diversification is also contributing to continuing economic prosperity. International manufacturers and exporters may conduct business with Dubai by concluding transactions directly with importers and traders who are already established in the market.

 These are the Various business set up opetions in UAE

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company)

  • Branch of Foreign Company
  • Branch of Local (UAE) Company
  • Establishment (Only for UAE nationals)
  • Public Joint Stock Company/Private Stock Company
  • Free Zones

An Expatriate can choose either LLC or Free Zone to set up his new Company according to his/her requirements.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Limited Liability Company  where the liability is fixed according to the capital shown by the Company. In Abu Dhabi the minimum required capital for a company is AED 150,000 (US$ 41,000). The law also specifies for a foreign nationals ownership in this type of company is pegged at 49% and 51% would be held by a UAE national.
Fifty-one per cent participation by UAE nationals or company owned 100% by UAE nationals is the general requirement for the Limited Liability Companies. Therefore the normal shareholding pattern for an LLC is:
Local sponsor - 51%
Foreign Shareholder (s) - 49%
Only Limited Liability Company allows the company to trade directly in the local market. Majority of the Companies established in UAE are LLC’s.
In Abu Dhabi professional activities (by expatriates) has to be set up as LLC.
The time required to form a company will be approximate 1-2 weeks (depends on the activity and approvals required) from the date of receipt of all the documents. The procedure and cost breakup will be given upon request.


Branch of a Foreign company
Foreign companies can set up their branches / representative offices in Abu Dhabi and owned 100%. The law only requires that a local service agent (UAE national) be appointed for such branch / representative office.

The branch is part of the parent company and it can carry on the business according to the activities (subject to approval) mentioned in the parent company’s license.
Only UAE nationals or companies 100% owned by UAE nationals may be appointed as local service agents. Local service agents - also sometimes referred to as sponsors - are not involved in the operations of the company but assist in obtaining visas, labour cards, etc and are paid a lump sum fee per annum. The time required to form a branch of a foreign company is approximately 3-4 weeks (depends on the activity and approvals required) from the date of receipt of all the documents.

The application for establishing the branch should be accompanied with the parent company’s financial statement of last two years and other related documents.
For companies related to construction and engineering the application must contain the details of executed projects and current projects are required to be submitted before the licensing authority.
Retail companies cannot apply for the license for setting up the branch only manufacturing companies can set up their branch in Abu Dhabi.
A representative office, on the other hand, is limited to promoting its parent company's activities, i.e. to gather information and soliciting orders and projects to be performed by the company's head office. Representative offices are also limited in the number of employees that they may sponsor. Procedures are same for representative office setup except two year financial statements are not mandatory.

Branch of a Local Company (UAE)

For carrying on business in Abu Dhabi it is compulsory to have a license issued by Abu Dhabi Economic Department. For a company established in any other emirate can carry on their business in Abu Dhabi. A company having a valid license issued by the Economic Department of any Emirate can establish their branch in Abu Dhabi. There is no requirement for appointing a separate sponsor for setting up the branch in Abu Dhabi.  The activities allowed in the branch license would be the same(subject to approval)as the parent company’s.
Any Company having valid license issued by any emirate in UAE can establish their branch in Abu Dhabi there is no requirement of capital or vintage.
The detailed procedure and cost breakup can be availed via a request.

Free Zones
Free zones are established as independent jurisdictions which allow the expatriate entrepreneur to own a company wholly (100%) and offers single window administration. Free zones also do away with the requirement of appointing UAE national as partner / service agent (branch). This type of company is incorporated for carrying on international trade as business with local market (UAE) is restricted.
For local (UAE) supply of goods the company has to pay 5% as customs duty and should be supplied through local distributors

UAE Freezone Incorporation


Dubai Airport Free Zone - DAFZA


Jebel Ali Free Zone - JAFZA



Hamriyah Free Zone - HFZ



Sharjah Airport International – SAIF ZONE



Ras Al Khaimah FTZ –  RAK FTZ



Dubai Internet City – DIC FZ



Dubai Media City – DMC FZ



Abu Dhabi Ports Company  - ADPC

Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad)



Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone - ADAFZ



Ahmed Bin Rashid FZ



Ajman Free Zone - AFZA



Dubai Auto Zone - DAZ

Dubai Cars & Automotive Zone - DUCAMZ



Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park



Dubai Flower Centre - DFC



Dubai Gold and Diamond Park - GDP



Dubai Healthcare City - DHC



Dubai International Financial Centre - DIFC



Dubai Knowledge Village - DKV



Dubai Logistics City - DLC



Dubai Maritime City - DMC



Dubai Multi Commodity Centre - DMCC



Dubai Outsource Zone – DOZ



Dubai Silicon Oasis - DSO



Dubai Studio City - DSC



Fujairah Free Zone - FFZ



ZonesCorp - Specialized Economic Zones In Abu Dhabi 



International Media Production Zone



Intl. Humanitarian City



Technopark – Dubai Technology park


List of Free Zones in Abu Dhabi

  1. Masdar City
  2. Two Four 54
  3. ADAFZ (Coming up)
  4. Zones Corp (ICAD I, II, III, Al Ain Industrial City)
  5. KIZAD (Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi)

  Special Approvals
Special approval are required according to the activity of the Company, such approvals are issued by the Ministry / Departments related to such activities;
• Medical pharmacy etc – Medical council
• Food and beverages – Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority
• Air transport. air cargo etc – Ministry of Civil Aviation
• Financial institutions, Banks, money exchange etc – Central Bank
• Education, training etc – Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)
• Agriculture, veterinary etc – Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Health
• Customs clearance, fright forwarding sea cargo etc – Abu Dhabi Customs Authority
• Telecommunications - Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
• Branch of foreign company, insurance company, chartered accountants firm etc- Ministry of Economy
• Oil and Gas – Supreme Petroleum Council
• Electromechanical Engineering – Abu Dhabi Distribution Company


·         Business Set up in UAE Free Zones

·         Home Business set up

·         Business Legal Structures, Documentation and Agreements

·         Company Name Selection

·         Office Rental, Purchase, Virtual Office Services

and Employee  Accommodation

·         Corporate Bank Accounts

·         Corporate Finance

·         Marketing and Advertising

·         Business Intellectual Property Protection

·         Employee Recruitment and Procedures

·         Document Processing and Clearing, Work Permits, Visa's, Identity Cards

 My Contact Details

Mohammed Faisal Ibrahim

Business Consultant


Vertical Member of Adam Holdings

ISO 9001:2008 Certificate: AE 11/2391
Office 2A, Ground Floor, Building No.6,
Gold & Diamond Park,
P.O. Box:- 183827, Dubai, U.A.E

Fax:                       +971 4 341 9702

Mobile:                  +971 55 2419200 


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