Business entities in UAE

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

Set up the most optimal business structure in UAEForeign 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.

Offshore company

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

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in UAE, please email us at Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi