Dubai company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN DUBAI

For over a decade, Healy Consultants Group has been efficiently and effectively assisting our Clients with i) company registration in Dubai; ii) business/trade licencing; iii) United Arab Emirates (UAE) national sponsor provision where required; iv) Dubai banking solutions; v) securing visas and staff recruitment strategies; and vi) office space solutions.

Client testimonial

iPayLinks engaged Healy Consultants Group DMCC to establish a branch of a foreign company in Dubai. During the engagement Healy Consultants team professionally communicated and obtained appropriate licenses from multiple local authorities. We are confident to recommend Healy Consultants Group for business setup and are looking forward to working with the company again for future projects.

Mr. Wang Shuaijiang, Branch Manager

Contact us today to explore how we can support your business.

Choose Healy Consultants for your Dubai company formation needs and benefit from our customized services, expertise and exceptional support.

Contact us today to explore how we can support your business.

Why is Dubai a favourable destination for international business setup

Home to over 3.68 million people, Dubai is the largest and most developed city in the region. It has established itself as a leading financial hub over the years, solidifying its economic influence in the Middle East and beyond. This has propelled Dubai into the global limelight, becoming a preferred destination for professionals from around the globe.

In 2023, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce welcomed 67,222 new companies, increasing its active members by 26.8% from the previous year to a total of 217,788. These figures provide a glimpse into the influx of businesses setting up in Dubai. Popular options for foreign company registration in Dubai include the Limited Liability Company (LLC) registration in the mainland and in the various free zones.

A Dubai company is used by several multinational Clients as headquarters due to several factors, including:

  1. Consistent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): According to Emirates NBD Research, total FDI capital inflows into the UAE rose to US$15.08 billion in 2023, marking a 33% increase from the prior year. Of this, Dubai accounted for majority of this investment, drawing in US$6.81 billion. This suggests a steady economic landscape, offering businesses a favourable environment for development
  2. Business-friendly setting: A company registered in Dubai may benefit from liberal business laws while gaining access to Middle East, African and Asian markets. Businesses may also enjoy a free market environment in Dubai
  3. Global network of entrepreneurs: Given that foreigners make up 80% of the city’s population, operating a business in Dubai may provide connections with a diverse international entrepreneurial community. This forms the perfect mix of creativity and exchange of skills across industries and cultures
  4. Welcoming environment: Securing its rank as the ninth best city for expatriates in the Global Expat Index, this highlights Dubai’s success in creating an environment that is both welcoming and conducive to business and personal growth
  5. High liveability: Dubai is a highly liveable city in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) due to the presence of popular global brands and availability of well-developed infrastructure for both residential accommodation, studies, work, entertainment and tourism. Furthermore, the city is a paradise for high-net-worth foreign entrepreneurs, providing a highly luxurious life for entrepreneurs and their families

Dubai company setup guide: On this page

Advantages and disadvantages of Dubai business

Advantages of establishing Dubai companies

  • Dubai is the historic trading hub in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Due to its strategic location and well-developed shipping sector, the city currently hosts several international trading companies and freight and shipping companies
  • Dubai boasts a highly developed logistics and transportation infrastructure, making the city a perfect choice for product distribution
  • Dubai is also pro-business with simple import/export policies and no trade barriers. Several international banking firms and non-bank financial institutions operate here, making the city an excellent source for trade finance facilities
  • Dubai is the undisputed financial capital of the MEA region. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is used by several bank and non-bank financial institutions, insurance firms and asset management firms. Dubai is the first jurisdiction in the Middle East to issue tailored regulations for crowdfunding. As a result, Dubai-registered businesses have access to peer-to-peer funding platforms to raise capital for business expansion
  • Clients can register a 100% foreign-owned Dubai mainland LLC without a local partner or registered agent for most of all services, trading, and industrial activities
  • Dubai has a significant presence of enormous international banks. Over 25 domestic and foreign banks have established their head offices in the city
  • Dubai provides progressive and developed infrastructural facilities in all sectors
  • With the Work Bundle platform, businesses located in mainland can obtain work permits and residency visas within five days once a complete accurate visa application is submitted to the Government. Previously, the process could extend up to 30 days. Businesses can expect a significant reduction in administrative time, allowing for faster staff deployment in Dubai
  • There are over 30 Dubai Free Zones, each specialised in various industries ranging from logistics to media, power, and information technology. Moreover, the world-class infrastructural facilities along with high-quality business premises makes conducting business in Dubai an attractive venture for investors
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) was awarded the Global Free Zone of the Year 2023 from Financial Times’ fDi Magazine for a record ninth consecutive year

Problems with Dubai companies

  • Due to openness of the Dubai economy, there is an overdependence on foreign trade. As a result, Dubai economy is likely to be negatively affected in case of a global recession
  • The branch of a foreign company is required to deposit a bank guarantee of AED$50,000 (US$13,650) during registration. This deposit cannot be used for business operations and will remain blocked in your UAE corporate bank account until entity de-registration
  • A branch in the UAE is likely to pay US$275 in fines to the Ministry of Economy during branch registration. Therefore, our Client should budget for this additional fee payment in advance
  • Setting up in a free zone legally restricts it from trading with companies registered in mainland UAE, unless your business is prepared to employ a local agent or secures a no objection certificate (NOC) from the DED;
  • Some business activities may need the appointment of an Emirati shareholder. Your joint venture partner must not be a nominee for the sake of meeting the rules of foreign company incorporation. We recommend choosing a partner that can add value to your business, including offering the local knowledge necessary for success in Dubai
  • Foreign companies should be aware that i) Dubai statistics and market data are usually imprecise; ii) transactions tend to take longer than expected; iii) more frequent and longer market visits are required in the initial stages; iv) complex business procedures are common

Dubai free zones

Free Zones (FZ) in Dubai are the most famous type of entities by foreign investors. Healy Consultants Group can help with all facets of FZ business, including i) company registration; ii) assistance in obtaining the operating licence; iii) assistance with opening a corporate bank account; iv) assistance to locate office premises or warehouse; v) securing residency and work visas as well as handling monthly payroll; and vi) discharging all compliance, accounting, and tax obligations. Our staff will handle all formalities without our Client needing to visit Dubai. That said, before the banks issue corporate bank account numbers, our Client will have to visit the UAE for a one-hour interview and to sign corporate bank account opening forms.

The following information will help you decide whether starting a business in Dubai free zone is beneficial for achieving your business objectives:

Key considerations of Dubai free trade zone company registration

  1. The FZ company is widely used by companies wishing to use Dubai as a gateway to the consumer markets in Africa and the Middle East
  2. The Dubai free zones allow 100% foreign ownership and have no repatriation or currency exchange controls. There is also no withholding tax
  3. Free zone companies may be subject to a standard corporate tax rate of 9% along with a Value-Added Tax (VAT) of 5%
  4. The free zone will pay no customs duties on goods imported and exported from the FZ. While it is mandatory to rent an office at a low cost, it is not necessary to hire staff
  5. Other benefits include i) low bureaucratic requirements for incorporation; ii) ease of securing work and residency visas for investors and employees; and iii) high-quality infrastructure facilities
  6. While some free zones require paid-up share capital (generally around US$14,000), many do not have such requirements. That said, financial activities or other restricted or controlled business activities may have paid-up share capital requirements ranging from US$50,000 to several millions. After incorporation, the share capital can be used to fund daily business activities of the company
  7. Company licences are renewable annually and submitting annual audited financial statements is usually required on a yearly basis
  8. All UAE companies must submit a declaration of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs), shareholders and nominee directors. Refer to the UAE UBO webpage for detailed information
  9. All companies engaged in relevant activities must meet Economic Substance Requirements (ESR). This includes filing an ESR notification within six months of the financial year-end and a ESR report within 12 months of the financial year-end. Refer to UAE ESR webpage for detailed information. Should your entity fail to submit the ESR Notification in a timely manner, late submission penalties of Dhs20,000 may apply

Trading within the UAE

An FZE company in Dubai can:

  1. Conduct business with and issue invoices to clients located outside the UAE or in other UAE free zones
  2. A FZ company can additionally conduct business with UAE mainland clients by its own. However, certain additional permits*/approvals may be required such as a DED No Objection Certificate and the appointment of a local agent
  3. Custom duty of 5% would be levied on free zone company sales within the UAE mainland

Legal considerations

  1. A Dubai FZ company can be set up using the following three entities: i) Free Zone Establishment (FZE); i) Free Zone Company (FZ LLC); or ii) branch. While the FZE and the FZ LLC enjoy limited liability, the branch presents unlimited liability for the parent company
  2. All three entities allow 100% foreign ownership and Dubai free zone visa applications for foreign employees. An FZE is equivalent to a one-person company (OPC) allowing only one shareholder and one director. On the other hand, a FZ LLC will require a minimum of two shareholders
  3. Dubai Free Zone entities are obliged to i) rent office premises in the zone; ii) submit annual audited financial statements; and iii) annually renew the business licence

List of Dubai free zones

Click on each free zone for detailed information and fees;

All Dubai Free Zones (Click link) Popular Free Zones in Dubai
Dubai Maritime City Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
Dubai CommerCity Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
Dubai South Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Meydan Free Zone
Dubai Design District (D3) International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
Dubai Science Park Dubai Internet City
International Humanitarian City Dubai Media City
Dubai International Academic City Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
Dubai Outsource City
Dubai Silicon Oasis
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
Dubai Internet City
Meydan Free Zone
Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)
Dubai International Academic City
Dubai Production City
Dubai Studio City
Dubai Media City
DAFZ Industrial Park
Dubai Airport Freezone
Dubai Expo City
Dubai Knowledge Park
Dubai Auto Zone (DAZ)
Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

Dubai free zone comparison table

Dubai boasts 30 free trade zones catering for every industry sector. The most popular free trade zones include Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), Dubai International Financial Centre, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City,, International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), and Meydan.

Dubai Multi Commodities Center Dubai airport free zone Jebel Ali free zone
Our recommendation in order of preference 1 2 3
Summary
Total Healy Consultants fees (US$) 30,124 22,063 28,255
Incorporation time 3 months 3 months 3 months
Cheapest yearly office rent estimate (US$) 6,000 10,700 16,500
Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$) 24,500 25,000 25,000
Paid up share capital estimate for free zone company (US$) 14,000
(per shareholder)
272 (per shareholder) 0
Paid up share capital estimate for free zone establishment (US$) 14,000 272 0
Virtual office allowed Yes No No
All shareholders must travel required for company formation No No No
Legal considerations
Minimum number of shareholders 1 1 1
Minimum number of directors 1 1 1
Corporate shareholders allowed Yes Yes Yes
Corporate directors allowed No No No
100% foreign ownership allowed Yes Yes Yes
Public register of shareholders and directors No No No
Tax considerations
Exempt of corporate tax on profits Yes Yes Yes
Annual tax return to be submitted No No No
Statutory audit required Yes Yes Yes
Access to UAE double tax treaties Yes Yes Yes
Other considerations Yes No No
Types of licenses allowed View PDF View PDF View PDF
Can rent office premises outside free zones No No No
Allowed to import raw materials? Yes Yes Yes
Allowed to export goods? Yes Yes Yes
How long to get work permit approved 4 weeks 4 weeks 4 weeks
Free zone work permit fee per person 4,950 4,950 4,950
Draft Invoice View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF

Other UAE free zones comparison table

RAKEZ Free Zone Sharjah Airport International FZ (SAIF)
Our recommendation in order of preference 1 2
Summary
Total Healy Consultants fees (US$) 21,800 29,890
Incorporation time 3 months 3 months
Cheapest yearly office rent estimate (US$) 2,000 12,500
Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$) 25,000 27,000
Paid up share capital estimate for free zone company (US$) 0 41,000
Paid up share capital estimate for free zone establishment (US$) 0 41,000
Virtual office allowed Yes No
All shareholders must travel required for company formation No No
Legal considerations
Minimum number of shareholders 1 1
Minimum number of directors 1 1
Corporate shareholders allowed Yes Yes
Corporate directors allowed No No
100% foreign ownership allowed Yes Yes
Public register of shareholders and directors No No
Tax considerations
Exempt of corporate tax on profits Yes Yes
Annual tax return to be submitted No No
Statutory audit required Yes Yes
Access to UAE double tax treaties Yes Yes
Other considerations Yes No
Types of licenses allowed View PDF View PDF
Can rent office premises outside free zones No No
Allowed to import raw materials? Yes Yes
Allowed to export goods? Yes Yes
How long to get work permit approved 4 weeks 4 weeks
Free zone work permit fee per person 4,950 4,950
Draft invoice View invoice PDF View invoice PDF

Dubai free zones information

The information provided below will help you learn more about other Dubai FTZ options and how these can suit your business objectives.

Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre

  1. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) was initially set up as a leading centre for trading international commodities. It has since evolved to become home for multinational and start-ups of a wide range of businesses
  2. DMCC is located in Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT) and has access to excellent air, sea and road infrastructure
  3. DMCC was endorsed by the “Global Free Zone of the Year” award from the Financial Times fDI magazine for nine consecutive years

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Import/export, trade, manufacturing and logistics

Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA)
  1. DAFZA is within the boundaries of Dubai International Airport and is a popular business location for electronics, engineering, logistics and cargo, aviation and pharmaceutical firms;
  2. DAFZA is popular because of i) the proximity of Dubai Cargo Village and the FLC Air Cargo Terminal ii) an on-site customs inspection and iii) its 24-hour operation;
  3. Dubai’s Free Zone Logistics Centre (FLC) is a dedicated freighter terminal for both scheduled and charter operators and is in the Dubai Airport FZ. FLC offers flexible, cost-effective handling between tenants’ warehouses, the main cargo terminal, and the cargo planes;
  4. The FLC is located on a 26,000 sqm site, which includes a docking area capable of handling up to 50 trucks. Some 200 sqm in the FLC is dedicated to specialized storage facilities including cooler, freezer, and vulnerable and valuable storage rooms;
  5. Dubai airport currently services over 150 airlines serving more than 200 destinations worldwide and is considered to be the Middle East’s premier airport.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Jebel Ali (the JAFZA)
  1. The Jebel Ali FZ is located next to Jebel Ali Port, the largest port in the Middle East and 30 minutes’ drive from the Dubai International Airport. With a six-lane highway, Jebel Ali FZ will facilitate the transportation of goods from sea to air in just 20 minutes;
  2. JAFZ has Light Industrial Units (LIU) as storage warehouses for distribution and storage, and as factories for light-production and assembly. Sizes of LIU’s range from 313 square meters to 619 square meters. Power supply ranging from 10 to 50 KVA for warehouses and 100 to 125 KVA for factories;
  3. JAFZA boasts showroom and warehouse facilities structured into eight blocks comprising 68 showroom-cum-warehouse units. Each unit contains a warehouse at the rear with a glass façade showroom frontage. The showroom features a mezzanine floor, which is used as office space. The units are designed for the product display as well as storage and distribution.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Industrial City
  1. The Dubai Industrial City hosts a number of different facilities that are intended to support investors and meet their various business requirements. This Dubai FZ is perfect for investors looking to set up a presence in the UAE to conduct one of the following types of industry: i) base metals ii) mineral products iii) transport equipment and parts iv) mineral products v) transport vi) machinery and mechanical equipment vii) chemicals viii) food and drinks and ix) logistics;
  2. Dubai Industrial City purpose-built facilities include i) labour accommodation; ii) offices; and iii) warehousing;
  3. Setting up a company in the Dubai Industrial City requires some payment in advance for lease of the facilities.

View other FZ invoices

Dubai Maritime City free zone
  1. Foreign investors choose Dubai Maritime City free zone to provide maritime-related products and services to their global Clients. Company incorporation in the Maritime City is ideal for investors specialising in i) ship repair and maintenance; ii) yacht manufacture and repair and iii) industrial maritime parts supplies;
  2. The Dubai Maritime City offers high quality maritime operation facilities;
  3. As the Dubai Maritime City is not classed as a FZ, a company here requires a UAE sponsor with a minimum 51% shareholding.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
  1. Dubai Gold and Diamond Park is ideal for investors looking to set up a presence in the UAE to import, export and sell gold, diamonds, and fine jewellery;
  2. Dubai Gold & Diamond Park is available via two different entities: i) a proprietorship and ii) a partnership, although the company enjoys the benefits of a FZ company.

View other FZ invoices

Financial Services

The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)
  1. The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the sole independent regulator of all financial services conducted through the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose-built free zones in the city;
  2. The DFSA’s regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange, and an international commodities derivatives exchange;
  3. DIFC offers an attractive environment, including i) 100 percent foreign ownership ii) no tax on profits while enjoying a network of over 60 double taxation treaties iii) no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation iv) strict supervision and enforcement of money laundering laws and v) ultra-modern office accommodation, state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated infrastructure, data protection/security, operational support, and business continuity facilities;
  4. Healy Consultants can assist our Clients with i) selection of appropriate DFSA Category for Authorization ii) creation of DFSA systems and controls iii) completion of the application forms iv) preparation of DFSA Regulatory Business Plan and v) advice on corporate governance.

View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Internet City free zone
  1. Dubai Internet City company setup is ideal for international entrepreneurs who specialize in IT services and who wish to gain access to the Dubai, UAE, and regional Middle East markets. This FZ is suitable for i) IT; ii) software development; iii) business services; iv) web-based and e-commerce services; v) consultancy and vi) sales and marketing businesses;
  2. A Dubai Internet City company is freely able to conduct business within Dubai and the UAE;
  3. There is a minimum capital requirement of US$14,000, which must be paid during incorporation, for a Dubai Internet City company.

Incorporation costs in Year 1 amount to US$4,870. The average fee per Dubai Internet City engagement amounts to US$24,670, which includes company incorporation, opening a local corporate bank account, and all government fees. Refer to draft invoice below.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Silicon Oasis
  1. A Dubai Silicon Oasis company is suitable for investors conducting business in the following areas: i) information technology; ii) telecommunications equipment; iii) electronics and computer hardware; iv) software development and solutions; v) consultancy and business development; vi) electrical appliances and equipment; vii) engineering related to technology; viii) logistics ix) IT security and x) talent development and recruitment;
  2. Any entity wishing to perform an (commercial) activity within DSOA is required to establish its legal presence in Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and obtain a valid license for such an activity. There are three licences: i) service licence; ii) industrial licence and iii) trade licence.

View other FZ invoices

Dubai Media City
  1. International entrepreneurs running niche media businesses often choose Dubai Media City, a jurisdiction that has evolved into a recognised regional media hub. This can suit investors looking to set up a presence in the UAE to conduct i) publishing; ii) broadcasting; iii) film production; iv) media and marketing services; v) music & entertainment; vi) advertising agencies; vi) new media and vii) media consultancy;
  2. Dubai Media City has some of the lowest registration fees of any free trade zones in Dubai. For example, the one-off registration fee (payable to Dubai Media City Authority) is DHS 3,500;
  3. A potential drawback of the Dubai Media City could be the relatively high annual licence fee.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Media Production Zone
  1. International businesspeople active in the graphic art, publishing, and packaging industries have the option to register a company in the Dubai International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) to fulfil their international business objectives;
  2. With lower registration fees, the Dubai IMPZ can be a cost-effective alternative to Dubai Media City

View other FZ invoices

Education, research and healthcare

Dubai Biotech and Research City
  1. Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (Du Biotech) is the Middle East’s first Science and Business Park dedicated to global the life sciences. The Dubai Biotech Park company is ideal for investors looking to set up a presence in the UAE in the following industry segments: i) biotechnology; ii) medical; iii) industrial; iv) agricultural; v) environmental; vi) equine; vii) animal/marine; viii) pharmaceutical; ix) nutraceuticals; x) nanotechnology; xi) medical devices; xii) bioinformatics and xiii) forensic science;
  2. The Dubai Biotech and Research Park also has low one-off registration fee of DHS 3,500;
  3. It can take up to 5 weeks to complete business registration in the Dubai Biotech and Research City.

View other FZ invoices

Dubai Knowledge Park
  1. The Dubai Knowledge Park(DKP) free zone company is perfect for educational investors looking to set up in the UAE to conduct one of the following types of business: i) professional training courses and certifications; ii) eLearning technologies and support services; iii) research and development and iv) human resource development activities;
  2. Like other Dubai free trade zone establishments, the Knowledge Park permits 100% foreign ownership and enjoys 100% legal exemption from all import and export duties.

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

Dubai Health Care City
  1. The Dubai Health Care City is targeted at the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries. This FZ is ideal for investors looking to set up a presence in the UAE to operate one of the following types of entities: i) Dubai Healthcare City free zone (DHCC FZ); ii) Centre for Healthcare Planning and Quality (CPQ); iii) Harvard Medical School Dubai Centre (HMSDC); and iv) Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research (DHFMR)
  2. The Health Care City has a low registration fee of Dhs3,500
  3. The Dubai Health Care City has high licence fees compared to other free zones

View invoice PDF View other FZ invoices

International Humanitarian City free zone
  1. The International Humanitarian City (IHC) is a global humanitarian and aid hub that aims to facilitate aid and development efforts in the UAE. The IHC is an independent free trade zone authority formed by the Dubai government via the merger of Dubai Aid City (DAC) and Dubai Humanitarian City (DHC)
  2. The advantages of a business setup in Dubai International Humanitarian City Free Zone include i) a community of local and international humanitarian non-profit and commercial organisations with common areas of interests; ii) a fully integrated environment ideal for networking with potential procurers, suppliers, and business partners; iii) exceptional infrastructure and government support; iv) modern office, warehousing, and meeting facilities; v) a platform for the development and promotion of corporate social responsibility programmes; and vi) the normal FZ benefits such as 100% foreign ownership, repatriation of profits, etc

View other FZ invoices

Steps to setting up a free zone company in Dubai

Please view this UAE incorporation steps page for details.

Dubai offshore company formation

For companies looking to establish an offshore company in Dubai, the city offers a tax-friendly and cost-efficient structure suitable for managing international business activities from the Middle East.

Set up within various free zones, an offshore company is a fully foreign-owned limited liability company exempt from taxes. The incorporation of this entity is mainly for international operations, encompassing a range of activities such as international trading, holding assets, and intellectual property management.

Ownership of offshore companies is flexible, allowing for a single director and shareholder who can be of any nationality, simplifying the company formation process. These companies are governed by specific regulations depending on the free zone they are registered in, including the Jebal Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), and the Ajman Free Zone (AFZ).

To explore the types of offshore companies available and the process of setting up one, view our UAE offshore company setup page.

Steps to incorporating company in Dubai

Dubai continues to attract global attention as a location for business incorporation due to its advantages in the Middle Eastern region. With a population of over 3.68 million, it is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a bustling hub for global business activity. Dubai is known for its business-friendly climate that includes 100% foreign ownership without the need for a sponsor based locally, an advantage over other regions that often require local involvement. This, along with a tax-free regime on personal income, positions Dubai as an attractive investment destination.

To get a clear understanding on how to set up your business in Dubai, read our detailed walkthrough on the UAE company incorporation process.

Dubai business setup services client case studies

  • A leading Australian medical training and certification organization expands into the United Arab Emirates

    Background

    Our Client provides multi-level medical training and certification to numerous international clientele. Their focus is on improving and instilling a higher baseline standard across the medical field which encourages higher healthcare standards for all.

    Our Client engaged Healy Consultants Group to help establish their business in Dubai Healthcare City. The specific services they enlisted were i) establishing a new DHCC company, ii) locating a physical office premises, iii) registering for VAT, iv) obtaining an NOC to operate on Dubai mainland and v) opening a corporate bank account.

    Engagement planning

    • Our Client made contact with Healy Consultants Group and was looking to understand more about setting up in DHCC.
    • Our team then prepared and provided our Client with a proposal which included the full timeline and cost of the engagement.
    • Upon our Client confirming their desire to proceed, an advancement was prepared and sent to our Client.
    • Once our Client settled our fees, Healy Consultants Group prepared a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step-by-step plan to engagement completion.

    Company registration

    • Healy Consultants Group i) confirmed the corporate structure of the DHCC business, ii) checked the availability of our Client’s preferred company name and iii) created a Masaar profile for our Client’s business.
    • After our Client’s company was pre-approved by DHCC, our team proceeded to obtain the necessary approvals from the education ministry in Dubai.
    • Upon completion of incorporation, Healy Consultants Group secured a No Objection Certificate from the Department of Economic Development department, permitting our Client to trade with mainland Clients.
    • Completing the company incorporation was a very long and arduous process due to the tremendous difficulty of securing the required documentation from our Client. Overall, the incorporation process took four months to complete.
    • Upon completing the incorporation, our team registered our Client’s business for VAT.

    Corporate bank account opening

    • Healy Consultants Group created a detailed business plan for our Client’s business and used it to secure interest from a number of banks.
    • Our team then received preliminary interest from a few banks.
    • Our Client confirmed their travel dates to Dubai and we subsequently arranged a number of meetings with the interested banks.
    • Our Client travelled to Dubai and met with the various banks that showed interest in our Client’s business.
    • After numerous weeks of negotiating with the various banks and providing all requested due diligence to them, only one (Mashreq Bank) was interested in receiving a final bank account opening application from our Client.
    • The corporate bank account opening process was extremely long and it was a challenging process due to an extreme time taken by the Client to prepare and send through time-sensitive documents. The delay in receiving these documents required the process to be repeated several times over the course of 18 months.
    • The corporate bank account numbers were released by Mashreq Bank within five weeks of them timeously receiving the requested original signed bank account opening application forms within the stipulated timeframe.

    Engagement completion

    • Our Client engage Healy Consultants Group to annually renew their DHCC company.
  • Leading Japanese oil & gas company de-registers UAE branch office

    Background

    • Our Client is a Japanese oil & gas trading company which has supplied for Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and other Asian countries’ energy security for over 50 years.
    • In January 2018, our Client engaged Healy Consultants Group to incorporate a foreign branch in Dubai.
    • In 2020, our Client decided to de-register this legal entity.

    Engagement planning

    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal branch de-registration invoice, an updated engagement letter, and due diligence checklist.
    • Our Client promptly provided us with the due diligence documents and settled our complete invoice. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step-by-step plan to engagement completion.
    • Thereafter Healy Consultants Group prepared a list of documents that our Client needed to i) certify by a Japanese Notary Public ii) attest in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and iii) legalise in the UAE embassy in Japan. It took our Client one month to attest all the documents in Japan and courier them to Dubai. Thereafter, within three days Healy Consultants Group translated the documents to Arabic and attested the same in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry Of Justice in Dubai.

    Dubai branch de-registration

    • Healy Consultants Group initiated the process by cancelling the two employee visas. After confirming that the company does not have any pending processes, complaints or fines with past employees, the Ministry of Labour cancels the branch’s immigration card. Healy Consultants Group prepares then a No Employee Report to the Immigration Department.
    • Simultaneously with the above, Healy Consultants Group drafted the local service agent’s termination letter and uploaded the same to the UAE notary system. Upon the notary’s approval, the service agent signed the same in front of a Dubai Notary Public.
    • Upon completion of the above, Healy Consultants Group submitted a complete liquidation application to the Ministry of Economy (MoE) and published the notice of liquidation in the government’s gazette during 35 days. Luckily, no creditor’s claims were received.
    • MoE issued the de-registration certificate indicating cancellation of the bank guarantee deposit and the same was submitted to DED. A DED clearance certificate and proof that the branch licence had been cancelled were issued.
    • The branch licence cancellation certificate was then submitted to the third-party providers to cancel all telephone lines, electricity and water and the company’s lease agreement.

    Corporate bank account closure

    • Healy Consultants Group communicated with Mashreq Bank to i) release the bank guarantee deposit and ii) close all multi-currency accounts our Client may have with the bank.
    • Healy Consultants Group then prepared all documents requested by the bank and sent the same to our Client for review, upon bank approval of each document.
    • Unfortunately, our Client had to travel to Dubai to submit the above requests in person.
    • Within seven working days, the bank guarantee was refunded to our Client’s account. Our Client transferred out the same and immediately issued the account closure application to the bank.
    • The bank took three business days to confirm bank account cancellation.

    Engagement completion

    • Healy Consultants Group supplied proof of branch cancellation and bank account closure to our Client and requested them to supply us a professional reference letter indicating level of satisfaction.
    • Luckily our Client promptly supplied the same to Healy Consultants Group.

    Engagement completion

    • Healy Consultants Group will be pleased to assist any Client wanting to de-register their UAE branch.
  • Animal rescue and conservation firm establishes Dubai marketing office

    Background

    • An animal rescue and conservation firm based in Tanzania approached Healy Consultants Group with the intention to expand their business to the UAE;
    • The Client needed i) company setup ii) office space iii) bank account iv) nominee director and v) an employee work permit;
    • After discussions with our Dubai team on the available UAE corporate structures, the Client settled for a Dubai Multi Commodity Center Free Zone company.

    Engagement planning

    • Our Client completed and signed our engagement letter and settled the first instalment of our DMCC FZ company invoice;
    • Healy Consultants Group submitted a request to DMCC Free Zone Authority to initiate the company setup process;
    • The Client provided us all due diligence documents, as per our Firm’s KYC requirements;
    • We prepared a detailed project plan, outlining the complete engagement step-by-step process;
    • The Client and Healy Consultants Group also signed a passive nominee director agreement.

    Company incorporation

    • Our incorporation team submitted all documentation required by DMCC, and settled Free Zone Authority fees;
    • Following DMCC’s pre-approval, Healy Consultants Group secured and paid for a Free Zone flexi-desk office;
    • After the lease agreement was issued, Healy Consultants Group’s nominee director visited DMCC to sign the incorporation forms;
    • We also emailed our Client the documents for signature as shareholder of the proposed company;
    • Healy Consultants Group negotiated with DMCC to conduct a video conference verification to avoid our Client having to travel to UAE;
    • We then submitted a quality company incorporation application to DMCC FZA for final processing;
    • Within one day of final submissions, Healy Consultants Group obtained copies of the i) registration certificate ii) service licence iii) memorandum of association and iv) share certificates.

    Bank account opening

    • During company setup, Healy Consultants Group submitted pre-applications to multiple UAE banks for consideration;
    • Following company approval, our Client travelled to Dubai to meet the bank officers and sign bank forms in our Dubai office;
    • Our Client settled for two leading UAE banks as their preferred UAE banking options;
    • Healy Consultants Group aggressively negotiated with the banks and provided them all information and documents requested;
    • Within five weeks of meeting the bank officers, one of the banks approved a corporate account for our Client;
    • Another bank approved a solution for our Client two weeks later, as a back-up.

    Post-company incorporation

    • Our team visited DMCC FZA to collect the original sealed corporate documents for our Client;
    • We obtained our Client’s employee’s documents and submitted the initial visa pre-approval request to DMCC;
    • Within one week DMCC FZA provided an approval and visa entry permit for our Client’s employee;
    • Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UAE visa processing centres were closed for a few weeks;
    • Once the visa processing centres reopened, our Client’s employee completed a medical fitness test and fingerprint at the UAE Immigration Office;
    • Healy Consultants Group then submitted the final residency visa application to The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs;
    • Within two weeks, we successfully secured a UAE work permit for our Client’s employee;
    • Our Client advised Healy Consultants Group to keep the original corporate documents in our Dubai office pending his visit to the UAE.
  • The China leading cross border payment company establishes a Foreign Branch in the United Arab Emirates.

    Background

    • Our Client is one of the China leading cross border payment company with more than 200 employees and 8 offices across the world. Our Client currently provides one-stop solutions for top e-Commerce, T&E, Digital Gaming & Education merchants;
    • In July 2018, our Client decided to register a new company in Dubai as a Payment Service Provider. Healy Consultants Group experts recommended to register a Foreign Branch in Dubai to retain 100% ownership.

    Engagement planning

    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal invoice, the engagement letter, the due diligence checklist and a list of our existing and past client for professional reference;
    • Our Client promptly provided us with the due diligence documents and settled our complete invoice. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared i) a detailed engagement project plan mapping out by step plan to engagement completion and ii) a quality business plan to assist with corporate bank account opening;
    • Following discussions with our Client regarding his intended business, Healy Consultants Group also translated the parent company MOA to Arabic language and met with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Ministry of Economy to confirm the branch was eligible in Dubai to perform a Payment Services Provider business activity;
    • Additionally, Healy Consultants Group attended multiple meetings with the Central Bank of the UAE to confirm that Our Client doesn’t require to obtain a payment service provider license;
    • Healy Consultants Group prepared a list of documents that our Client needs to i) certify by a Hong Kong Notary Public, ii) attest in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and iii) legalize in the UAE embassy in Hong Kong. It took our Client one month to attest all the documents in Hong Kong and courier it to Dubai. Thereafter, within three days Healy Consultants Group translated the documents to Arabic and attested the same in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry Of Justice in Dubai.

    Company registration

    • Within one day Healy Consultants Group reserved a branch name and submitted a quality complete branch registration application package to DED, for initial approval. Healy Consultants Group used the attested Board Resolution, which allowed us to register the Branch with the respective UAE authorities, so our Client didn’t have to travel to Dubai at this stage of company registration;
    • Within one week, Healy Consultants Group provided our Client with the initial approval certificated issued by DED. Within an additional week, Healy Consultants Group helped our Client to find the right business premises in Downtown Dubai;
    • Every foreign branch in Dubai requires to appoint a Local agent, who must be a UAE national. Healy Consultants Group therefore provided our Client the full due diligence of our trusted local agent and our Client signed a Local Service Agent (LSA) agreement. The local agent does not have voting rights nor managerial decisions, instead they just represent our Client in front of Government departments, sponsors visas and assists to review the company license annually;
    • After the local service agent agreement has been approved and signed in front of the Dubai Court, Healy Consultants Group submitted the required documents to the Ministry of Economy for pre-approval. It took the Ministry of Economy three weeks to issue the initial approval;
    • Our Client signed the lease agreement for office premises and Healy Consultants Group completed the Ejari attestation. Healy Consultants Group submitted the attested lease agreement together with the remaining documents to Dubai DED to issue the trade license. Within one day, DED approved our Client’s application and issued Dubai Branch Commercial License;
    • Healy Consultants Group submitted all documents to the Ministry of Economy for a final licensing approval. However, before the Registration Certificate can be issued, every branch must make a deposit of AED50,000 equivalent US$13,612 to the local company account and present a bank guarantee letter to the Ministry of Economy. In theory, the bank guarantee must be submitted within one month from the date of commercial license issuing date, otherwise the Ministry of Economy imposes a penalty of AED1,000 (US$274) for each month of delay. This means in theory, the bank account should be open within two weeks, so our Client has the time to make the bank guarantee deposit and the bank has the time to issue the bank guarantee letter. In practice, no bank will open the corporate bank account so fast. Consequently, Ministry of Economy penalty is unavoidable.

    Corporate bank account opening

    • Immediately, Healy Consultants Group submitted the business plan and the initial set of due diligence documents to two regional banks to secure a bank account;
    • While the company registration was under process, Healy Consultants Group secured the work and entry permits for our client’s employees and arranged the meeting with the bank officer. The branch manager, who is a bank signatory travelled to Dubai to i) sign the bank application forms and ii) stamp the resident visa;
    • After the bank account numbers were issued, our Client deposited the amount of AED50,000 to the newly opened company account. The branch registration was on hold almost for five months due to the time it took the banks to i) complete its’ KYC check for the client; ii) issue the bank account numbers; iii) issue the bank guarantee letter. The bank explained this delay happened due to the payment related business activity of the company.

    Engagement completion

    • To comply with the Ministry of Economy requirements, Healy Consultants Group i) settled the penalty of AED 6,000 (US$1,644) imposed by the Ministry of Economy and ii) submitted the bank guarantee letter to the authority;
    • Before the Registration Certificate can be issued, the Ministry of Economy requested to appoint a local auditor and submit the appointment letter;
    • To comply with the Ministry of Labor requirements, Healy Consultants Group advised our client to register the branch with the Wages Protection System (WPS). An electronic salary transfer system that allows the company to pay workers’ wages;
    • Lastly, Healy Consultants Group couriered to our Client a company kit, including i) company incorporation documents; ii) company stamp; and iii) a Client feedback survey.
  • US based client opens a professional corporate consultancy entity in the DMCC Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates

    Background

    • Our Client is a US based management consultant with over 20 years’ experience in providing business development and promotional and sales strategies for major clients across North and South America, Europe and Asia;
    • He now wished to relocate to Dubai and setup a professional consultancy firm focusing on assisting private and public organizations establish strategic partnerships and grow their business in the Middle East and North Africa;
    • Our client found Healy Consultants Group through Google and visited our Dubai office in March 2018 to inquire about our service offering, recommended entity setup and A to Z support including bank account opening and dependent visas for his family;
    • Kunal Fabiani, attended the meeting with our Client and outlined the different free zone options in UAE, recommending the DMCC as the top option in accordance to his requirements, quality flexi desk options for business meetings and ease of visa applications. After the consultation, Kunal presented a roadmap for the engagement and total breakdown of costs. After careful review and comparing other competitors, in June the Client decided to engage Healy Consultants Group for his UAE business setup due to transparency in terms of costs, ease of communication and ability to supply end to end support.

    Engagement planning

    • After agreeing with Kunal payment in 4 instalments, our Client supplied Kunal with the signed engagement letter and substantial KYC documentation for due diligence check;
    • Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared i) a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step by step procedures and timeframes allowing our Client to plan his relocation to UAE and ii) a draft business plan, KYC form and undertaking agreement to be submitted to DMCC Authorities for pre-approval together with preferred company names.

    Company registration

    • Within 2 weeks, Healy Consultants Group obtained DMCC’s pre-approval for company formation and compiled all the necessary documents for company incorporation including the checklist of documents that required UAE Embassy legalization in USA;
    • Due to delays in arranging legalization of multiple documents from USA, our Client decided to visit Dubai in July to sign incorporation forms in front of a DMCC officer. To make the most of our Client’s trip, Kunal liaised with multiple banks and secured their interest to meeting with our Client to discuss banking facilities during his Dubai visit. Banks included leading regional banks and international banks;
    • Our Client visited Dubai at the end of July and Kunal accompanied him to DMCC to i) submit and sign off final company incorporation forms, KYC form and the MOA, ii) certify his passport and master’s degree and iii) finalize lease agreement for flexi desk at an approved business centre. Our Client also met with 4 different bank representatives at our Dubai office and decided to proceed with a renowned local bank for business and personal banking;
    • Within 1 week DMCC approved the registration of the new company and provided the Certificate of Incorporation for our Client. The same was also shared with the bank to process bank account opening over the following 4 weeks. In the meantime, Kunal assisted our Client appoint an authorized auditor and apply for an establishment card which enabled the company sponsor visas.

    UAE employment and dependent visas

    • After the company establishment card is received, our visa applications manager, Elizabeth, compiled the required documentation from our Client to submit a complete online visa application via the DMCC portal. Since our Client and his family would be permanently moving to Dubai in mid-August, the visa application was only submitted after his arrival to avoid delaying their entry to the country;
    • In 2 weeks, DMCC approve and issue our Client’s entry visa and subsequently Elizabeth arranges our Client to have a medical fitness test and fingerprints scanning before his passport is submitted to UAE immigration for visa stamping. The passport is returned to our Client within 5 days;
    • Before our Client can sponsor visas for his dependents, he must provide a residential tenancy agreement registered with EJARI and DEWA. The engagement is put on hold for 2 months until early December as our Client and his family finalized their preferred residence in UAE;
    • Thereafter, over 2 weeks Elizabeth submitted the family dependent visas directly with General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and liaised with immigration officers to change the visa status and secure entry permits for our Client’s wife and 4 children. This time only adults above 18 years had to undergo a medical fitness test before UAE visas are stamped on their passports.

    Engagement completion

    • By December end, Healy Consultants Group received the original stamped passports for all dependents and hand delivered the same together with all corporate documents to our Client and completing the engagement. If required, in the future, Healy Consultants Group may assist our Client recruit employees locally or obtain UAE visas for foreign staff as the business grows.
  • Japanese leading oil & gas company establishes a Foreign Branch in the United Arab Emirates

    Background

    • Our Client is a Japanese Oil & Gas trading company which has supplied for Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and other Asian countries’ energy security for over 50 years.
    • In January 2018, our Client decided to incorporate a Foreign Branch in Dubai to retain 100% ownership by the parent company
    • The main purpose of the Dubai branch office is to provide operational support to the parent company, including i) discharging the cargo at the port of delivery out of UAE (Bangladesh, Pakistan etc.) and ii) ensuring the cargo characteristics, volumes and quality are as agreed between Client and the parent company. In addition, Dubai Branch will promote the Liquefied Natural Gas products in MENA, South Asia region as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Our Client will not be involved in i) trading activities within UAE nor ii) import/export of products.

    Engagement planning

    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal invoice, the engagement letter, the due diligence checklist and a list of our existing and past client for professional refence.
    • Our Client promptly provided us with the due diligence documents and settled our complete invoice. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared i) a detailed engagement project plan mapping out by step plan to engagement completion and ii) a quality business plan to assist with corporate bank account opening.
    • Following discussions with our Client regarding his intended business and confirmation from Client they wanted to proceed, Healy Consultants Group also translated the parent company MOA to Arabic language and met with the Department of Economic Development (DED) to confirm the branch was eligible to conduct their intended business activities in Dubai.
    • Healy Consultants Group prepared a list of documents that our Client needs to i) certify by a Japanese Notary Public, ii) attest in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and iii) legalize in the UAE embassy in Japan. It took our Client one month to attest all the documents in Japan and courier it to Dubai. Thereafter, within three days Healy Consultants Group translated the documents to Arabic and attested the same in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry Of Justice in Dubai.

    Company registration

    • Within one day Healy Consultants Group reserved a branch name and submitted a quality complete branch registration application package to DED, for initial approval. Healy Consultants Group used the attested Board Resolution, which allowed us to register the Branch with the respective UAE authorities, so our Client didn’t have to travel to Dubai at this stage of company registration.
    • Within one week, Healy Consultants Group provided our Client with the initial approval certificated issued by DED. Within an additional week, Healy Consultants Group helped our Client to find the right business premises in Downtown Dubai,
    • Every foreign branch in Dubai requires to appoint a Local agent, who must be a UAE national. Healy Consultants Group therefore provided our Client the full due diligence of our trusted local agent and our Client signed a Local Service Agent (LSA) agreement. The local agent does not have voting rights nor managerial decisions, instead they just represent our Client in front of Government departments, sponsors visas and assists to review the company license annually.
    • After the local service agent agreement has been approved and signed in front of the Dubai Court, Healy Consultants Group submitted the required documents to the Ministry of Economy for pre-approval. It took the Ministry of Economy three weeks to issue the initial approval.
    • Our Client signed the lease agreement for office premises and Healy Consultants Group completed the Ejari attestation. Healy Consultants Group submitted the attested lease agreement together with the remaining documents to Dubai DED to issue the trade license. Within one day, DED approved our Client’s application and issued Dubai Branch Commercial License.
    • Healy Consultants Group submitted all documents to the Ministry of Economy for a final licensing approval. However, before the Registration Certificate can be issued, every branch must make a deposit of AED50,000 equivalent US$13,612 to the local company account and present a bank guarantee letter to the Ministry of Economy. In theory, the bank guarantee must be submitted within one month from the date of commercial license issuing date, otherwise the Ministry of Economy imposes a penalty of AED1,000 (US$274) for each month of delay. This means in theory, the bank account should be open within two weeks, so our Client has the time to make the bank guarantee deposit and the bank has the time to issue the bank guarantee letter. In practice, no bank will open the corporate bank account so fast. Consequently, Ministry of Economy penalty is unavoidable.
    • At this stage, our Client requested to assist with the employment visas. Healy Consultants Group sent to our client i) an invoice; ii) the list of documents required; and iii) the visa application forms. A UAE attested university degree is required for each managerial position, including sales.
    • Within one month, Healy Consultants Group helped our Client i) to secure the company establishment card with the Ministry of Labor; ii) to complete the office premises inspection with the local authority Taqeem, before we submit the visa applications to the immigration department.

    Corporate bank account opening

    • Immediately, Healy Consultants Group submitted the business plan and the initial set of due diligence documents to one of the local banks to secure a bank account opening.
    • While the company registration was under process, Healy Consultants Group secured the work and entry permits for our client’s employees and arranged the meeting with the bank officer. The branch manager, who is a bank signatory travelled to Dubai to i) sign the bank application forms; ii) stamp the resident visa.
    • After the bank account numbers were issued, our Client deposited the amount of AED50,000 to the newly opened company account. The branch registration was on hold almost for three months due to the time it took the bank to i) complete its’ KYC check for the client; ii) issue the bank account numbers; iii) issue the bank guarantee letter. The bank explained this delay happened due to the corporate structure of the mother company has multiple layers.

    Engagement completion

    • To comply with the Ministry of Economy requirements, Healy Consultants Group i) settled the penalty of AED 5,000 (US$1,369) imposed by the Ministry of Economy and ii) submitted the bank guarantee letter to the authority. Within one week the branch registration was completed and the Registration Certificate was emailed to our Client.
    • To comply with the Ministry of Labor requirements, Healy Consultants Group assisted our client to register the branch with the Wages Protection System (WPS). An electronic salary transfer system that allows the company to pay workers’ wages.
    • Lastly, Healy Consultants Group couriered to our Client a company kit, including i) company incorporation documents; ii) company stamp; and iii) a Client feedback survey.
  • British individual establishes a company in DMCC Free Zone

    Background

    • Our client is a British national ready to register a company in UAE; Our Client will also like to secure an employment and residency visa in Dubai;
    • Their existing British company provides i) renewable energy market evaluation services ii) project management of renewable energy development and construction projects.
    • Our Client approached Healy Consultants Group late December 2017, after finding us through Google.

    Engagement planning

    • Our Client was interested in starting with setting up the UAE Free Zone entity to be able to own 100% of his business;
    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal invoice, engagement letter and due diligence checklist;
    • Our Client provided us with the due diligence documents and settled the first instalment of our UAE setup fees in January 2018. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step by step the engagement process.

    DMCC Free Zone LLC registration

    • Healy Consultants Group firstly confirmed the Clients preferred corporate structure and confirmed with the UAE Government authorities which specific business license our Client required;
    • Healy Consultants Group then prepared the required list of documents and templates and emailed the same to our Client for signature, notarization, attestation and courier return to DMCC;
    • Upon receipt of the original attested documents from our Client, Healy Consultants Group submitted the complete quality LLC registration application;
    • Within 5 weeks thereafter, Healy Consultants Group obtained the approval of the UAE authorities, secured the Commercial License of the subsidiary and immediately emailed our Client a scan copy of the same;
    • 3 weeks thereafter and while our Client was doing business, Healy Consultants Group assisted our Client to complete the post registrations including i) depositing the paid up share capital of US$14,000 and ii) appointing a local company auditor.

    Corporate bank account application

    • Immediately after the entity was registered, we proceeded simultaneously with i) visa application (see section below) and ii) bank account opening;
    • Healy Consultants Group approached multiple UAE banks to secure in writing their interest for our Client’s business activity. Our Client decided to proceed with a local bank;
    • Our Client travelled to Dubai and upon meeting with the bank officers at Healy Consultants Group Dubai office, our Client signed the bank account opening, FATCA and internet banking forms;
    • Over the coming week, the bank reverted 2 times requesting additional information;
    • 2 weeks thereafter, the bank’s compliance department approved the multicurrency corporate bank account. The bank immediately emailed our Client corporate bank account numbers, followed by a courier of the internet banking token to our Client’s preferred address.

    Visa applications

    • While the company was being set up, Healy Consultants Group provided our client a checklist of documents we needed from the employee for the visa application;
    • Following receipt of the above and after our Client’s company was set up, Healy Consultants Group immediately submitted the visa application together with the supporting documentation to the UAE Authorities. The client was inside the UAE during the visa application process;
    • 7 days after the visa application was submitted, the Government issued the entry visa;
    • We immediately took our Client to conduct the mandatory medical checkup and fingerprint recording;
    • Upon completion of the above, the employee’s original passport was submitted to the government authorities for visa stamping. However, 3 working days after the authority reverted requesting a new passport. Unfortunately our client did not realize the passport had run out of pages!
    • The employee renewed his passport within 3 days and we submitted the same to the authorities;
    • The UAE visas was successfully stamped to his passport. One week thereafter, we received his Emirates ID.

    Engagement completion

    • Healy Consultants prepared the i) company kit comprising original corporate documents and iii) Client satisfaction survey to our Client’s preferred address from our Dubai office;
    • During the collection of the Company Kit, our Client informed Healy Consultants Group he needed our assistance for additional services in UAE. Healy Consultants Group was delighted to continue working with our Client;
  • Australian individual establishes a company in DMCC Free Zone

    Background

    • Our client is an Australian resident ready to register a company in UAE; Our Client will also like to secure 2 employment visas in Dubai;
    • Their existing Australia provides i) student recruitment services for Australian education providers ii) risk management for student applications received by Australian education providers.
    • Our Client approached Healy Consultants Group in June 2016, after finding us through Google.

    Engagement planning

    • Our client was interested in starting with setting up the UAE Free Zone entity to be able to own 100% of his business;
    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal invoice, engagement letter and due diligence checklist;
    • Our Client provided us with the due diligence documents and settled the first instalment of our UAE setup fees in January 2017. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step by step the engagement process.

    DMCC Free Zone LLC registration

    • Healy Consultants Group firstly confirmed the Clients preferred corporate structure and confirmed with the UAE Government authorities which specific business license our Client required;
    • Because our Client was in a hurry to start conducting business, we agreed to use Healy Consultants professional passive nominee directors and shareholders;
    • Healy Consultants Group then prepared the required list of documents and templates and emailed the same to our Client for signature, notarization, attestation and courier return to DMCC;
    • Upon receipt of the original attested documents from our Client, Healy Consultants Group submitted the complete quality LLC registration application;
    • Within 5 weeks thereafter, Healy Consultants Group obtained the approval of the UAE authorities, secured the Commercial License of the subsidiary and immediately emailed our Client a scan copy of the same;
    • While our Client was conducting business as normal, we spent the next 3 weeks removing Healy Consultants Group passive nominee directors and shareholders and appointing our Client.

    Corporate bank account application

    • After our client was appointed as sole director and shareholder of the entity, we proceeded with i) visa application (see section below) and ii) bank account opening;
    • Healy Consultants Group approached multiple UAE banks to secure in writing their interest for our Client’s business activity. Our Client decided to proceed with a leading UAE bank;
    • Healy Consultants Group then prepared the required bank due diligence, including bank account opening forms and scheduled a meeting with the bank in our office;
    • Our Client travelled to Dubai and upon meeting with the bank officers at Healy Consultants Group Dubai office, our Client signed the bank account opening, FATCA and internet banking forms;
    • Over the coming week, the bank reverted 2 times requesting additional information;
    • 2 weeks thereafter, the bank’s compliance department approved the multicurrency corporate bank account. Healy Consultants immediately emailed our Client corporate bank account numbers, followed by courier the internet banking token to our Client’s preferred address.

    Visa applications

    • While the company was being set up, Healy Consultants Group provided our client a checklist of documents I needed from the 2 employees;
    • Following receipt of the above and after our Client’s company was set up, Healy Consultants Group immediately submitted the visa application together with the supporting documentation to the UAE Authorities;
    • The UAE Government reverted 2 times during the engagement requesting additional information. Fortunately, our Client had the information on hand and therefore, we supplied the same within 1 day;
    • 10 days thereafter, the visas for the 2 employees were approved. The 2 employees travelled to Dubai to conduct the mandatory medical checkup and fingerprint recording and within 4 working days thereafter, their UAE visas were stamped to their passports. One week thereafter, we received their 2 Emirates ID;

    Engagement completion

    • Healy Consultants couriered the i) company kit comprising original corporate documents ii) bank correspondence and iii) Client satisfaction survey to our Client’s preferred address in Australia.
  • American PLC establishes a subsidiary in UAE Free Zone, India and China

    • Our client is a USA PLC company founded in Utah, United states. The company has fully owned subsidiaries in Germany, France, Brazil, Russia, the USA and Canada;
    • As a market leader, the company’s end goal is focused on developing cutting-edge conferencing and collaboration products.
    • They engaged Healy Consultants Group to register a i) Dubai entity in early 2017 and thereafter ii) a China subsidiary in Shenzhen in mid 2017 and iii) a subsidiary in Chennai, India in late 2017. In 2018 they re-engaged our Firm to assist with a de-registration of a Hamriyah Free Zone company;
    • In the UAE, they only wanted an entity to provide marketing and promotion services in GCC countries. They also wanted to relocate 3 employees with their families to the UAE;
    • In India and China they wanted fully fledge offices.

    Engagement planning

    • Our client was interested in starting with setting up the UAE Free Zone entity. China and India were registered later in the year;
    • Healy Consultants Group prepared and emailed our Client an engagement advancement proposal including a formal invoice, engagement letter and due diligence checklist and a list of our existing and past client for professional refence;
    • Our Client promptly provided us with the due diligence documents and settled UAE fees in full. Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group prepared a detailed engagement project plan mapping out a step by step the engagement process.

    Subsidiary Free Zone LLC registration

    • Healy Consultants Group firstly confirmed the Clients preferred corporate structure and confirmed with the UAE Government authorities which specific business license our Client required;
    • Healy Consultants Group then prepared the required list of documents and templates and emailed the same to our Client for signature, notarization, attestation and courier return to DMCC;
    • Upon receipt of the original attested documents from our Client, Healy Consultants Group submitted the complete quality LLC registration application;
    • Within 5 weeks thereafter, Healy Consultants Group obtained the approval of the UAE authorities, secured the Commercial License of the subsidiary and immediately emailed our Client a scan copy of the same.
    • Our Client did not want us to open corporate bank accounts in the UAE, since they have all payments centralized out of the USA.

    Visa applications

    • Healy Consultants Group provided our client a checklist of documents I needed from 3 employees and their respective families;
    • Following receipt of the above, Healy Consultants Group immediately submitted the visa application together with the supporting documentation to the UAE Authorities;
    • The UAE Government reverted 2 times during the engagement requesting additional information. Fortunately, our Client had the information on hand and therefore, we supplied the same within 1 day;
    • 10 days thereafter, the visas for the 3 employees were approved. The 3 employees travelled to Dubai to conduct the mandatory medical checkup and fingerprint recording and within 4 working days thereafter, their UAE visas were stamped to their passports. One week thereafter, we received their 3 Emirates ID;
    • Following the above, we submitted the dependent visas applications to the Government. The dependent visas were approved within 2 weeks.

    Engagement completion

    • Healy Consultants couriered the i) company kit comprising original corporate documents ii) bank correspondence and iii) Client satisfaction survey to our Client’s preferred address in America. Other documents remained with us, since we need them for subsequent engagements in China and India.
  • Gold and commodities trader moved to Dubai

    Background

    Craig, a major commodities trader in Australia, approached Healy Consultants to expand his company into the UAE in order to have a tax efficient base for operations in the Middle East and Africa. Craig also wished to move himself and his family to Dubai as he liked the Western atmosphere and thriving metropolis.

    Engagement planning

    Appoint a nominee director for company in DubaiThe planning phase for this engagement was extensive, as Healy Consultants guided Mr. Anthony in selecting the most efficient corporate structure. Healy Consultants had multiple Skype and telephone meetings with our Client to determine the optimal free zone company. Healy Consultants advised our Client of several of the commodity and trade-based zones such as Ras al-Khaimah and Hamriyah. These free zones allowed for 100% foreign ownership, but prohibited trade inside the UAE. Craig liked this option, but also wished to sell to the wealthy UAE market.

    Other options discussed included a local branch of his pre-existing Australian company and representative office. As the branch office would still require a local agent and was longer to incorporate and the representative office could only be used for market research, these options were sidelined.

    Upon understanding Craig’s goal to purchase property, apply for entrepreneur visas, and trade gold and gemstone, Craig decided that incorporating a resident Dubai company with local sponsorship was most efficient. Following, a 10 page engagement strategy was researched and planned for one week with constant communication with the Client.

    Local sponsor

    In order to conduct business within the UAE, a 51% local sponsor was needed. Healy Consultants contacted several of our former Clients and contacts in the UAE to discern their interest in serving as this local sponsor. We provided Craig with three options engaged in similar industries as gold trading. Craig flew to Dubai prior to company incorporation to meet with his preferred sponsor, Mr. Abdullah, a local commodities trader. The two met and discussed the sponsorship arrangement and agreed to a Declaration of Trust on behalf of the Dubai company.

    The local sponsor introduced Craig to his local real estate broker and several influential jewelry traders in the area. Craig later employed this real estate agent to purchase his apartment on Palm Jumeriah Island. Mr. Abdullah attended the signing and notarization of company documents during the incorporation process and provided references for bank account setup. While Mr. Abdullah does not serve an active role in Craig’s business, the local sponsor has been readily available to provide local contacts and sign any necessary forms.

    Office space

    Because our Client was consolidating his global trading business to new headquarters in Dubai, adequate office space was essential. Craig engaged Healy Consultants to locate an office capable of holding 25 employees and near his home in Palm Jumeriah. We then proceeded to engage local real estate agents and toured several office facilities on our Client’s behalf. We provided the Client with detailed reviews, pictures, and pricing of the properties until Craig was satisfied with a 185 square meter office space in the Jumeirah Village. A lease was signed for 12 months and provided to the Department of Economic Development for company incorporation.

    Company incorporation

    After locating suitable office space, Healy Consultants applied for the company name with the Department of Economic Development and had our Client sign the incorporation forms at the Dubai courts.

    After bank setup and licensing approval, the company was registered with the Company Registry Office of the Ministry of Commerce. The registration certificate was received within 3 working days and Healy Consultants subsequently registered the company with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) – Dubai and Labor Department for future work permits.

    The license application for gold trading was submitted to the Dubai Economic Department along with the MOA, name approval certificate, lease agreement, and certificate of paid up share capital. Two weeks later, the Economic Department granted the license.

    Family visas

    Healy Consultants assisted Craig apply for a 3 year entrepreneur visa for his new company. We prepared a high-quality visa application, complete with GDRFA registration of his company, work credentials, business plan, and evidence of UAE national hiring. As Craig was the sole shareholder of his large company and purchased several properties in Dubai, his visa was quickly approved by the Ministry of Labor and GDRFA in 3 weeks. Craig’s family moved 7 weeks after Mr. Anthony moved to Dubai and established his residency and company operations. Healy Consultants helped successfully apply for dependency visas for Craig’s wife and two children. These visas then enabled his wife to work and his children to attend an international school in Dubai.

    Conclusion

    Following engagement completion, the Client was presented with a complete company kit. Our Client provided positive feedback in a client questionnaire and referred his business associate to our firm for incorporating another company.

    Over the coming years, Healy Consultants will complete the Dubai annual accounting and auditing obligations together with license renewals.

  • Software management solutions firm set up global headquarters

    Background

    Michael Hellier is an entrepreneur from the United Kingdom who provides software management solutions for global call center systems to improve service quality. Michael’s company, originally based in Glasgow, wanted to enter the emerging markets in the Middle East but was unsure which corporate structure would be most beneficial for his business.

    Michael approached Healy Consultants for advice. He was referred to us by a business associate who had set up a Singapore branch company through us. It was also important to our Client that the business be strategically-located in the Gulf, and projected a strong image to his Clients. Michael was initially attracted to Dubai, primarily because he had many business associates who had successfully set up operations there. With this in mid, he contacted Healy Consultants to find out how we could assist him to fulfills his objectives.

    After discussing the potential corporate structures and locations with Aidan Healy, the managing director of Healy Consultants, it was agreed that Michael would pay Healy Consultants a retainer fee of US$2,000, for which we would undertake relevant research and revert with recommendations and a clear business setup strategy. Healy Consultants began a detailed investigation into the various options in the UAE, based on Michael’s requirements and budget. Aidan and Michael agreed that locating the company in a free zone would be most advantageous, and as such our Dubai team prepared a table outlining the relative advantages of locations such as Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, Ajman Free Zone, Jebel Ali Free Zone, and Dubai Internet City (DIC). Once the research was complete, it was emailed to Michael for his review, and we suggested we talk again once he had done so.

    Two weeks later Michael called our Dubai office, confirming his intention to set up a company in DIC, which appeared to offer the strategic advantages, as well as image, he needed for his new company. DIC boasts the Middle East’s biggest Internet Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure built inside a free trade zone, and according to the DIC Authority, it offers a strategic, cost-effective platform for ICT companies targeting emerging markets in a vast region extending from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent, and from Africa to Central Asia. Michael believed these credentials would suit his burgeoning software development company.

    Engagement planning

    Michael settled our engagement fees, signed our client engagement letter, and provided the due diligence as outlined in the engagement letter, firstly by email, with the originals by standard mail. The first step was for Healy Consultants to prepare a detailed business plan for the new company in DIC’s required format. The business plan included information on the company’s planned activities, its products and services, its clients and a market analysis, its competitors and a risk analysis, details on its management team, and its operational strategy. To accompany the business plan, Healy Consultants’ staff prepared a detailed financial projection (in Microsoft Excel format) for the first three years of business, again in the format required by DIC. Once the business plan and financial projection were complete (within four working days), we emailed them to Michael for his review and comments. He required minor amendments to the business plan, and he also supplied additional financial information which he requested we add to the projection. With these amendments complete, we again sent the documents to Michael for his approval, signature and return to us.

    Along with the business plan and financial projection, further information was needed for the DIC application. This included proof of the minimum capital requirement of 50,000 UAE Dirhams (US$13,615), a copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and passport copies of the directors and shareholder (in this case, Michael would be the sole shareholder and director), along with specimens of his signature. In addition, the application included confirmation of the type of office accommodation Michael’s company would require at DIC – to this effect, Healy Consultants forwarded a standard DIC lease agreement to Michael for his review. To obtain proof of payment of capital, our Dubai office visited a local bank branch in Dubai to open an ESCROW account, and was issued with a certificate of deposit on the same day.

    Company incorporation

    Healy Consultants visited the DIC Authority to submit the application documents in person. It took two weeks for Healy Consultants to receive approval from DIC, when Healy Consultants received a provisional letter of acceptance along with a list of other legal documents which needed to be submitted, along with a deadline for submission. These documents included a personal sponsor agreement and an employment contract with accompanying terms and conditions, which were reviewed by Healy Consultants for any discrepancies. Michael, who was busy in Glasgow negotiating a new contract with an international client, was grateful that Healy Consultants was able to undertake miscellaneous tasks such as this on his behalf.

    It took two weeks for Healy Consultants to collect all the additional legal documents for submission to DIC, because they had to be certified by a notary public in Dubai, prior to submission. Two weeks later DIC issued a final approval letter to Michael, at which point Healy Consultants paid a 20% deposit (as required) for the office premises, as well as the DIC license fees, on Michael’s behalf (he had remitted these fees as part of the total engagement fees). Once the DIC had confirmed payment of the initial 20% deposit, Healy Consultants sent the receipt to Michael in Glasgow, and requested that Michael return the signed lease agreement by courier to our Dubai office. Although as with every stage of the engagement Michael was not required to visit Dubai to complete this task, he nevertheless chose to visit on this occasion, since he planned to visit a potential client in Oman and also wanted to make arrangements to move to Dubai.

    Healy Consultants picked Michael up at the airport in Dubai, and accompanied him to DIC to submit the lease agreement. At this stage, Michael also settled the remaining 80% of the DIC annual fees, and upon receiving a receipt and the keys to his office we were able to move to the next phase of the engagement.

    Office furnishing

    Since Michael was traveling to Oman and then back to the UK at short notice, he requested Healy Consultants’ assistance in furnishing the office. We use an office retailer in Dubai who supplies, delivers, and fits high quality office furniture in the UAE, and they were able to provide a package according to the specifications and budget laid out by Michael. Likewise, an office IT equipment supplier was engaged to deliver and install IT hardware and software to the office, making it ready for use.

    Staff recruitment

    In the meantime, Healy Consultants had been asked by Michael to assist with recruiting a suitable expatriate sales and marketing manager, as well as a receptionist, to enable the company to begin operations. We first arranged to place a recruitment advertisement in two UAE newspapers – the Gulf Today and the Khaleej Times – advertising the positions. Our remit was to field and filter the applications, drawing up a shortlist for when Michael was next visiting Dubai.

    As expected, we received more than 200 applications for the sales and marketing position, eight of whom were invited to Healy Consultants’ office in Dubai for a preliminary interview. Once this process had taken place, we short-listed six of the most suitable candidates, and their details were forwarded to Michael in the UK for further action. Michael conducted a telephone interview with all six candidates the following week, and then narrowed the field down to three people, who he arranged to meet the following week in Dubai. As planned, Michael visited Dubai the following week, conducting the final interview for his sales and marketing position. With this complete, Michael instructed Healy Consultants to obtain a work and residence permit for the successful candidate, a British national named Mark, as well as for himself.

    Employment visa application

    To achieve this, Healy Consultants approached the DIC Authority for assistance with the application. DIC provided the necessary application forms for an employment visa and residence permit, as requested. Once the application forms had been completed, Healy Consultants sent one to Mark in Dubai, and the other to the UK for Michael’s signature. Once the signed forms had been returned to us, Healy Consultants submitted them to the DIC, along with:

    • Two copies of each applicants’ passports;
    • Three passport photographs per applicant;
    • Photocopy of educational certificates for Mark and Michael – these were provided at the same time as the signed application forms;
    • A processing fee of US$73.50.

    Once the employment visa was issued (via an Employment Entry Permit), we requested Michael to visit the UAE to obtain his residence permit (Mark was already in the country). The residence permit application includes the application form, the original passport of each applicant, the Employment Entry Permit, five passport photographs per applicant, an original medical fitness certificate and one health card photocopy, a security form, along with fees of US$205 for a two year permit.

    Michael is now based in Dubai full-time, and is happy with the way the smooth company setup process and Healy Consultants’ additional services.

  • Electrical components manufacturer opened Dubai facility

    Background

    Mr Malhotra is the owner of a successful electrical components manufacturing and distribution company based in India. A recent US$20 million investment saw the company’s manufacturing facilities modernized and expanded, and the electrical components produced at the factory in Chandigarh, northern India, met strict international export specifications. For strategic reasons, Mr Malhotra sought a way of accessing global markets for his company’s products, which are applied in heavy industries such as oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and water desalination facilities. In particular, he was keen on setting up an entity in Dubai. With this in mind, he approached Healy Consultants to discuss his strategic objectives.

    Engagement planning

    Mr Malhotra visited Healy Consultants in Dubai, where our consultants advised him on the different corporate structures and relevant trade licenses available in Dubai, as well as the costs of company set up. Given the nature of his business, it became clear that a free zone establishment (FZE) would be the most suitable structure to meet the company’s international business objectives, primarily because the Client wished to retain full control of the company (he would also be the sole shareholder), and because he was not intending to trade within Dubai or the UAE. Because he also needed a facility with excellent global communications, Mr Malhotra indicated his wish to set up an FZE in Dubai Airport Freezone.

    Company incorporation

    The engagement formally began when Mr. Malhotra signed Healy Consultants’ client engagement letter, settled our fees, and supplied the due diligence outlined in the engagement letter. At the same time, Healy Consultants completed a Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) application form. To accompany the application, a detailed business plan was prepared by Healy Consultants, outlining the company’s activities, its clients and suppliers, an analysis of the market, financial projections, and details on shareholders and directors. The application and business plan was submitted to the DAFZA Sales Department, along with a copy of Mr Malhotra’s passport, a bank reference letter, and resume (which we had originally asked for as part of our internal due diligence requirements).

    Trade license application

    Healy Consultants applied for a Trading License for Mr Malhotra’s new company, paying the 10,000 Dirham license processing fee to the DAFZA. Approval was granted for the FZE within four days.

    Warehouse/office space

    Healy Consultants visited DAFZA to arrange for a warehouse plot to be allocated. A lease agreement was sent to our Client for his signature and return, along with an invoice for office rental fees, which required settlement within 30 days.

    Corporate banking

    Following incorporation, Healy Consultants proceeded to open a corporate bank account in Dubai to support our Client’s business. To accompany the bank account application, an abridged version of the DAFZA business plan was prepared to accompany the account application form. The complete application included the application form, business plan, the company’s DAFZA trade license, the warehouse lease agreement, a copy of Mr Malhotra’s passport, and bank reference letter (from the international bank in India). Healy Consultants also attended an interview on our Client’s behalf, explaining to a bank officer why the FZE required a corporate bank account.

    After approximately two weeks, Healy Consultants’ Dubai office received account approval notification, allowing our Client to conduct international financial transactions. Two weeks later, we received (in sealed, separate envelopes) internet banking and ATM card PIN numbers along with other necessary documents, which were kept safely at our office for Mr Malhotra’s collection.

    Mr Malhotra successfully launched his international electronic components business from Dubai, and currently has customers in Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. As he spends much of his time traveling around Asia, Mr Malhotra hired a general manager to oversee the Dubai operation.

Dubai company formation – Frequently asked questions

  • What does a free zone Dubai company incorporation entail?

    A Dubai Free Trade Zone company registered is considered an offshore company. The Dubai free trade zones are tax-free and provide purpose-built facilities for offices and related activities.
  • How to register a company in the Dubai free zones?

    For incorporation of a free zone company in Dubai, Healy Consultants will i) obtain the necessary permission from the relevant authorities; ii) reserve the company name; iii) prepare the incorporation documents; iv) notarise the documents at the public courts; v) apply for the business licence; vi) register the company for tax purposes; and vii) obtain work visas for our Clients and their employees.
  • What will be the benefits if I start a free zone company in Dubai?

    Dubai free zone companies offer several benefits including i) no requirement of a resident shareholder i.e. a FZ company can be 100% foreign owned; ii) no obligation to hire staff; iii) no custom duties on goods entering/leaving the zone; and iv) high quality infrastructure.
  • How many directors will I be required to appoint in order to register in the Dubai free zones?

    Only one director is required for the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, while two directors are required for both the Dubai airport free zone and the Jebel Ali free zone.
  • How many shareholders are required to incorporate in the Dubai free zones?

    Only one shareholder is required for starting a company at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, while two shareholders are required setting up a company at both the Dubai airport free zone and the Jebel Ali free zone.
  • What is a free zone company and what activities are allowed in a free zone?

    A free zone company is a legally tax-exempt entity incorporated by an investor who wishes to use the free zone as a i) manufacturing base or as ii) a trading gateway to surrounding jurisdictions or iii) to avoid the local ownership requirement. A Dubai Free Zone can be a 100% foreign owned entity.

    Two kinds of legal entities can be setup in a Free Zone: i) Free Zone Company and ii) Free Zone Establishment. Both are limited liability companies. The sole difference between them is that an FZE requires a single shareholder whereas, an FZC can have two to five shareholders; There is a wide range of free zones in Dubai which allow almost all activities, both general such as import/export, logistics and also sector specific, such as financial services, consultancy etc;

    1. Dubai free zones dedicated to import/export, trade, manufacturing and logistics:
      1. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC);
      2. Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA);
      3. Jebel Ali (the JAFZ);
      4. Dubai Industrial City;
      5. Dubai Maritime City;
      6. Dubai Gold and Diamond Park;
    2. Dubai free zones dedicated to financial services:
      1. The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC);
      2. Dubai Internet City;
      3. Dubai Silicon Oasis;
      4. Dubai Media Production Zone;
    3. Dubai free zones dedicated to education, research and healthcare:
      1. Dubai Biotech and Research City;
      2. Dubai Knowledge Village;
      3. Dubai Health Care City;
      4. International Humanitarian City;
  • What regulations govern a Dubai free zone?

    All entrepreneurs who register their companies in a Dubai free zone are obliged to obey the governing laws of i) that specific free zone and the ii) general Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 Concerning Financial Free Zones, Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2007 on Implementing Regulations of Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 Concerning Financial Free Zones.

    Generally, all free zones will request the companies registered within their space to:

    1. Properly administer their business and respect the regulations laid out by the authority of the free zone and, in some cases, it is also governed by an additional government body;
    2. Safeguard the rights of labourers, consumers, and the intellectual property;
    3. Safeguard health and environment and ensure safety.

    There are also other general and complementary laws relating to free zone business administration such as:

    1. Electronic Transactions and Commerce Law;
    2. Commercial Transactions Law;
    3. Federal Law No. 4 of 1979 on Combating Commercial Fraud;
    4. Business laws in the UAE – Abu Dhabi government portal;
    5. Business offences law – Abu Dhabi government portal;
    6. Common Customs Law for the GCC States.

    NOTE: Every Free Zone imposes their own rules and regulations to govern the Free Zone companies. Some of the above laws may not apply to all the FZ companies.

    The table below compares the different Free Zones in UAE, giving a clearer insight regarding all the Free Zone entities:

    Factors RAK UAQ DMCC JEBEL HAMRIYAH
    Categories of available Licenses Industrial, Commercial, Consulting and services, Commercial- General Trading Trading, Consultancy, Service, FreeLancer Permit, Industrial Trading, Service, Industrial Trading, Industrial, Service, E-Commerce, National Industrial, Innovation, Offshore Registration Industrial, Services, Commercial
    Activities forbidden Retail trading inside the FZ, manufacture & marketing of unlawful items Any activity that pollutes the FZ, offensive activities, storage of combustible substances without prior consent Activities which breach any of the terms & conditions listed on the license An Offshore company can not conduct any business within UAE Activities which breach any of the terms & conditions listed on the license
    Minimum Capital requirement US$40,480 No paid-up share capital US$ 13,700 None US$41,000
    Requirements for Directors & or others 1 Shareholder, 1 Director 1 Director, 1 Shareholder 1 Director, 1 Shareholder At least 1 Director, At least 1 Secretary and at most 1 Shareholder 2 Directors, 1 Secretary

    Lastly, the following main things must be taken into consideration prior to incorporating a business in a Dubai FZ:

    1. Dubai FZ company can be setup using the following 3 entities: i) Free Zone Establishment (FZE), ii) Free Zone Company (FZ LLC) or iii) branch. While the FZE and the FZ LLC enjoy limited liability, the branch will present unlimited liability for the parent company;
    2. All three entities allow i) 100% foreign ownership, ii) appointment of corporate director(s) and iii) visa applications for foreign employees. An FZE is equivalent to a one-person company (OPC) allowing only 1 shareholder and 1 director. A FZ LLC however, requires a minimum of 2 shareholders (maximum up to 5 shareholders) and 2 directors;
    3. Dubai Free Zone entities are obliged to i) rent office premises in the zone, ii) appoint a resident company secretary, iii) submit annual audited financial statements and iv) annually renew the business license;
    4. Additionally, a branch is required to maintain a security deposit with the Dubai government until it is formally deregistered.
  • How many free zones are open for business in Dubai?

    There is a total of 30 free trade zones open for business in Dubai. They cater to every imaginable industrial sector. The most popular free trade zones include Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC-JLT), Dubai Airport Free Zone, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai International Financial Centre.

    Due to the availability of a multiple number of FZs in Dubai, we would recommend you compare all the free zones and select the one that is most suitable to achieve your business goals;

    Multiple world-class free zones operate all around the UAE as well, making the country a booming industrial, maritime activity and transportation hub. Altogether, there are more than 35 operational FZs in the UAE including 25 in Dubai, 7 in Abu Dhabi and 8 in the Emirate of Sharjah and the Northern Emirates;

    The main Free Zones in the UAE (other than Dubai FZs) are: i) RAK (cheapest), ii) Hamriyah, iii) Ajman, iv) Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) and v) Abu Dhabi FTZ among many others. FZs i) to iv) are the closest to Dubai.

  • What is meant by a Dubai Offshore LLC?

    An offshore company formation in Dubai allows investors to open a wholly foreign-owned tax exempt entity. However, a Dubai offshore company can not conduct business within the UAE. A Dubai offshore company comes with several benefits as well as few disbenefits. To have a deeper insight regarding setting up an offshore company in Dubai, you can visit our Dubai offshore company page.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of onshore Dubai company incorporation?

    Onshore Dubai company incorporation allows trade within and outside the city. However, a UAE national must hold a minimum of 51% of the company’s shares in an onshore entity. This would be strictly a nominee role and Healy Consultants can provide this support service, if required.
  • Is it mandatory to appoint a company secretary for a Dubai company?

    Yes. If you wish to incorporate a Dubai company, you will need to appoint a resident secretary for the new company.
  • How much capital will I be required to deposit when incorporating a company in Dubai?

    When incorporating in Dubai, the amount of capital required will depend on the company structure. For instance, an LLC only requires a minimum deposit of US$1 while a FZ company requires US$62,000 for incorporation.
  • What type of documentation is required for setting up a company in Dubai?

    This depends on the type of company you wish to establish. Healy Consultants will provide you with a detailed list of requirements to minimize this burden.
  • How long will it take to incorporate a company in Dubai?

    The length of time varies greatly from one Dubai business registration to another. Healy Consultants will provide you with a detailed project plan upon business registration engagement.
  • Is there a public register of shareholders and directors in Dubai?

    Yes. Details of the directors and shareholders will be available for public viewing through the Dubai company register.
  • Is a Dubai company required to prepare financial statements?

    Yes. Financial statements need to be submitted to the Dubai government annually.
  • Can a Dubai offshore company trade within the UAE?

    No. Export/import through an offshore company can only be outside the UAE
  • What are the different Dubai entities?

    There are 6 types of Dubai entities, as described below:

    1. Limited Liability Company in the Mainland (LLC)

      A limited liability company can take the form of any of these businesses: a Trading LLC, Professional Services LLC, Fast solution LLC, Offshore LLC, and Free zone LLC. It is a form of entity that can be registered by a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 50 shareholders, whose liability is only pertaining to their shares in the capital of all the business run by the company. Specifically, for an LLC in the Dubai mainland, the foreign investor needs to form a joint venture with a UAE national, who must hold 51% of the shares of the entity;

    2. Free Zone Company

      The free zone company is a legally tax-exempt entity either registered by a resident or a foreign investor wishing to use Dubai as a gateway to their worldwide consumer markets. It is especially a great gate into the African and the Middle Eastern countries. This is one of the most popular Dubai registered entities, as there is no requirement of forming a joint venture with a local partner and can be fully foreign-owned;

    3. Branch Office

      A branch of a foreign company can conduct professional activities and commercial and industrial activities. It is mandatory for a Branch Office to acquire an approval from the Ministry of Economy if the Branch Office intends to conduct commercial and industrial activities. A Branch Company is required to keep i) a manager and ii) local service agent (LSA) also known as the sponsor. The LSA must be either a UAE national or a company that is 100% owned by the nationals of UAE. Additionally, you can refer to the Department of Economic Development, Dubai for more information regarding Branch Office setup in Dubai;

    4. Representative Office

      Representative offices can only engage in i) research and ii) promotional activities on behalf of the mother company. These offices are a good investment for foreign businesses who want to invite and secure more Clients from the UAE market, without running any form of commercial operations;

    5. Offshore Company

      An offshore company registered in Dubai is not allowed to trade in the mainland of UAE and it generally has only overseas customers and no staff in Dubai;

    6. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

      An LLP cannot be wholly owned by a foreign investor, and a 1% local partner share is required for registration purposes. This form of partnership is best suited for Professional services industry.

  • What are the differences between Dubai Offshore company and Onshore company?

    Some of the main differences between a Dubai Offshore company and Onshore company are described in the below comparison table, which also includes registration requirements. More information you can find in the main comparison table.

    Factors Offshore Company Onshore (mainland) Company
    How easy is to register a company? Easy Difficult
    Shareholders and directors Our Client 51% of the shares of the entity are to be owned by a UAE national
    Can conduct business throughout UAE? No Yes
    Disclosure of finances required? No Compulsory financial checks are carried out
    Registered office address required? Yes Yes
    Mandatory to have office space? No Yes
    Can hire employees? No Yes
    Can secure work visas? No Yes
    Sample engagement fee invoice View invoice PDF View invoice PDF
  • Do I have to travel to Dubai to open a corporate bank account?

    Yes, the Clients generally need to travel to Dubai to open a corporate bank account for their company and attend a face-to-face interview with the bank officer. However, the bank will make their decision on a case-to-case basis. In some exceptional cases this requirement is waived off due to excellent relationship between the Healy Consultants Group with the banks in Dubai. Ultimately, the banks have the final power of approval for corporate bank account applications.
  • Can I get UAE residency visa after incorporating Dubai company?

    Yes, you can expect to obtain a UAE residency visa together with incorporating either a free zone company or an onshore company, as an investor or through an employment visa. An offshore company incorporation in Dubai would not allow the investor to apply for a residency visa of any kind.
  • Can the Dubai LLC be 100% foreign owned?

    Generally, a Dubai mainland LLC can be 100% foreign owned only when foreign investors want to render professional services. These services can include consultancy services in legal and accounting, IT, management and marketing. In these industries, a company can be 100% foreign owned, however, a resident partner is compulsory for registration purposes.

    In all other industries, the Dubai law requires the foreign investor to appoint an UAE national who would hold at least 51% of the shares of the mainland entity.

    Otherwise, investors can register their fully foreign owned companies in Dubai in any of its free zones, where local requirements do not apply.

  • How to register a branch company in Dubai?

    Foreign investors who want to i) wholly own their business ii) set up direct subsidiaries and can iii) provide consolidated financial statements in Dubai can easily register a branch company.

    The main steps to register a branch company in Dubai are:

    1. Confirm a Dubai-based local sponsor and secure physical office premises required for branch license issuance;
    2. Thereafter, confirm their desired business activities with the Department of Economic Development and finalise it;
    3. Prepare a complete company incorporation package of the company documents i) notarised, ii) translated and iii) attested in the mother company registration home country and at the Dubai Embassy of the country or region;
    4. Submit the complete company incorporation package to the DED.

      The preliminary mandatory list of documents would look like below:

      • Certificate of incorporation, MOA, and a certificate of good standing to be obtained from the mother company country;
      • A board resolution allowing the opening of a branch in Dubai;
      • Audited accounts of the mother company for the past 2 years;
      • A statement stating the company’s key roles and responsibilities;
      • Certified passport copies, proof of address, resume, and bank reference letter from the General Manager.
    5. DED reviews the documents and approves the branch registration application and issues a pre-approval Certificate for the intended company setup;
    6. Subsequently, a bank guarantee of US$13,612 must be deposited to the Ministry of Economy and Planning as a bank guarantee;
    7. Thereafter, prepare, sign and attest i) Memorandum of Association (MOA), ii) Lease agreement and iii) Board of Resolution and submit the full set of documents to the DED for approval;
    8. After successful approval from the DED, a branch certificate of registration and business license is issues for the company to commence its business.
  • Do I need to have a local address to register a company?

    Yes, you need to have a local address to register a company in Dubai and the same applies for every country in the world. Specifically, in Dubai a lease agreement is required for the completion of company incorporation in Dubai. Healy Consultants Group can also supply virtual office service for 6 months until our client finds their preferred business address.

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    For additional information on our company registration services in Dubai, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
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