Business entities in UAE
Wholly foreign owned entities
Under the law regulating UAE company setup, only the following entities can be 100% foreign-owned, i.e. established without an Emirati majority partner.
Free zone company
Foreign entrepreneurs can set up a free zone company in the form of a limited liability company (LLC) without the participation of a UAE national in the shareholding. A free zone company serves as the perfect regional distribution or holding centre for an international trading company, the bulk of whose business is conducted outside the UAE.
Professional services company
Foreign investors can set up a limited liability company (LLC) to provide professional services in the UAE without having an Emirati partner. Services that qualify for this kind of company include legal and accounting firms, IT and management consultancies and marketing consultancies. However, please note that a UAE national must be appointed as a local service agent.
UAE branch office
A foreign company can set up a branch office to invoice UAE customers, sign local sales contracts, and receive income from local customers. although a UAE resident shareholder is not required, one must still be appointed as a local service agent.
UAE representative office
Under UAE corporate law, a representative office’s scope of business is limited to activities that promote the parent company. The representative office may therefore not conduct business within the UAE, but there is no need to appoint a local service agent.
An offshore entity is a paper company which does not have a physical presence within the UAE. Consequently, this company does not conduct business within the country. The offshore company is used by foreign entrepreneurs to work with the African and the Middle Eastern markets without incurring any tax liability.
UAE free zones
Frequently asked questions
Will there be restrictions on ownership if foreigners set up a UAE company?Certain UAE business entities will require our Clients to appoint Emirati shareholder(s). Therefore, if you wish to proceed with UAE business setup, it is important to choose the optimal business entity to suit your corporate needs.
What company types in the UAE require me to have UAE national shareholders?These UAE corporate structures will include i) Joint ventures ii) Limited Liability companies iii) Public shareholding companies and iv) Private shareholding companies.
How many UAE resident shareholders will I need to set up a limited liability company in the UAE for my business?UAE business setup will require 51% shareholding from UAE citizen(s).
Will I be required to get a full audit if I set up a small business in UAE?No. If you set up a business in UAE, you will not be required to get an annual audit.
What are the tax implications of a UAE company setup?It will be possible for our Clients to start a tax-exempt business the UAE.