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 entities DMCC LLC DMCC Subsidiary LLC DMCC Branch
    Operations and logistics
    Doing business in DMCC/mainland permitted? Yes Yes Yes
    Allowed to sign contracts with local Clients? Yes Yes Yes
    Allowed to invoice local Clients? Yes Yes Yes
    Can rent Free Zone office premises? Yes Yes Yes
    Allowed to import raw materials? Yes Yes Yes
    Allowed to export goods? Yes Yes Yes
    Accounting and tax
    Corporate tax rate? 0% 0% 0%
    Corporate bank account? Emirates NBD Emirates Islamic Bank FAB
    Statutory audit required? Yes Yes Yes
    Annual financial statements submitted? Yes Yes Yes
    Access to DTAAs? Yes Yes Yes
    Company law
    Issued capital required? US$13,615 US$13,615 None
    Resident director required? No No No
    Resident bank signatory required No No No
    Local shareholder required? No No No
    Minimum number of directors? 1 1 1
    Minimum number of shareholders? 1 1 Parent company
    Individual shareholders allowed? Yes Yes No
    Corporate director(s) allowed No No No
    Corporate shareholders allowed? Yes Yes Yes
    Public register of shareholders and directors Yes Yes Yes
    Can the entity hire expatriate staff? Yes Yes Yes
    How long to get work permit approved? 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks
    Fees and timelines
    How long to set the entity up? 2 months 2 months 2 months
    How long to open corporate bank account? 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks
    Estimate of engagement costs US$28,786 US$28,786 US$30,500
    Draft invoice View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in DMCC Free Zone, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
client relationship officer - Petar
  • Mr. Petar Chakarov
  • Sales & Business Development Manager
  • Contact me!