Business entities in DMCC Free Trade Zone in 2023

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To legally conduct business in the UAE, the majority of our multi-national Clients register a DMCC subsidiary LLC. Some foreign companies choose a branch office.

  • The DMCC limited liability company (LLC)

    • The DMCC LLC is preferred by international investors and entrepreneurs. This company can be established by individual shareholders, or as a subsidiary of a foreign company;
    • This entity requires i) at least one shareholder and one director, who can be the same individual and need not be resident in UAE and ii) a minimum paid-up share capital of AED50,000 (US$13,615);
    • Each LLC must also i) secure office space and a lease agreement within the Free Zone and ii) appoint a DMCC-approved audit firm.
  • The DMCC branch office

    • Foreign companies looking to do business in DMCC Free Zone, but who do not wish to set up a subsidiary LLC, can establish a branch office;
    • A branch office has no minimum paid-up capital requirement, but must obtain a licence specific to its activity;
    • The branch office activity and scope of operations is defined by the parent company. A branch cannot therefore engage in an activity not provided by the parent.
  • Doing business onshore Dubai through a DMCC company

    • Since April 2020 DMCC Free Zone companies are allowed to conduct business in Dubai without needing a local agent;
    • Eligible DMCC entities looking to operate in Dubai must i) obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from DMCC Free Zone Authority and ii) obtain a Commercial Permit from Dubai Economic Development (DED) to operate locally;
    • An eligible DMCC company with a mainland branch or subsidiary, or a DED company with the same shareholder as a DMCC entity, are allowed to operate from DMCC Free Zone premises without restriction.
  • Table of comparison between DMCC Free Trade Zone resident entities

    Summary of different DMCC FZ entitiesDMCC LLCDMCC Subsidiary LLCDMCC Branch
    Operations and logistics
    Doing business in DMCC/mainland permitted?YesYesYes
    Allowed to sign contracts with local Clients?YesYesYes
    Allowed to invoice local Clients?YesYesYes
    Can rent Free Zone office premises?YesYesYes
    Allowed to import raw materials?YesYesYes
    Allowed to export goods?YesYesYes
    Accounting and tax
    Corporate tax rate?0%0%0%
    Corporate bank account?Emirates NBDEmirates Islamic BankFAB
    Statutory audit required?YesYesYes
    Annual financial statements submitted?YesYesYes
    Access to DTAAs?YesYesYes
    Company law
    Issued capital required?US$13,615US$13,615None
    Resident director required?NoNoNo
    Resident bank signatory requiredNoNoNo
    Local shareholder required?NoNoNo
    Minimum number of directors?111
    Minimum number of shareholders?11Parent company
    Individual shareholders allowed?YesYesNo
    Corporate director(s) allowedNoNoNo
    Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYes
    Public register of shareholders and directorsYesYesYes
    Can the entity hire expatriate staff?YesYesYes
    How long to get work permit approved?5 weeks5 weeks5 weeks
    Fees and timelines
    How long to set the entity up?2 months2 months2 months
    How long to open corporate bank account?5 weeks5 weeks5 weeks
    Estimate of engagement costsUS$28,786US$28,786US$30,500
    Draft invoiceView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDF

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in DMCC Free Zone, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Apurv Trivedi, directly:
Consultant at HC - apurv
  • Mr. Apurv Trivedi
  • Principal - Client Engagements
  • Contact me!