12 steps to incorporating in UAE in 2024

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While the procedures for setting up a company will vary for each Emirate, below are a standard set of steps that are generally applicable to all UAE companies:

Pre-incorporation steps

  1. Client due diligence and commitment: Prior to company incorporation, our Client i) settles Healy Consultants Group’s fees, ii) completes and email returns signed Healy Consultants Group’s engagement letter and iii) provides us with all the required due diligence documents;
  2. Planning phase: Our in-house country experts draft a detailed engagement project plan, mapping out by week each step to engagement completion, optimizing transparency, and setting Client expectations for the company incorporation process. Healy Consultants Group then assists our Client to determine i) what type of UAE business entity is required between a mainland company, a free zone company or an offshore company ii) what class of business license is required iii) the optimum location in the UAE iv) if and how a UAE national sponsor will help v) Dubai corporate banking and cash flow considerations and vi) employment visa strategies where applicable;
  3. Corporate structure: The exact UAE corporate structure is agreed upon with our Client. For engagements requiring a local joint venture partner or an agent to distribute products within UAE, our compliance team provides our Client detailed due diligence information about the local sponsor. Where required a detailed legal shareholders contract or commercial agency contract is signed between our Client and the UAE national, clearly defining all roles and responsibilities in the company;
  4. Documents preparation: Healy Consultants Group prepares and sends to our Client a list of documents required for a company registration, and specifies which need to be i) certified by a Notary Public ii) attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and iii) legalized in the UAE embassy in the origin country of the documents. Upon receipt of the original documents, Healy Consultants Group prepares Arabic translation and attests the same in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of the relevant Emirate;

Incorporation steps

  1. Name reservation and application submission to DED: Healy Consultants Group i) reserves the proposed company name; ii) obtains a preliminary approval of the business activities, trade name, the identity of partner (if applicable) by completing and licensing from Department of Economic Development (DED) or Free Zone authority of the relevant Emirate; iii) pays a preliminary approval fee and trade name reservation fee;
  2. Documents filling with the Government department of the relevant Emirate: Healy Consultants Group i) drafts and signs a Memorandum of Association and a Local Agent agreement/Corporate Agent agreement (if required) in front of the Court; ii) submits all the company documents and due diligence documents with the relevant authority; iii) settles the required fees to obtain a principal approval letter. For a Free Zone companies, this letter enables our Client to open a bank account and lease office premises required to obtain a Trade license;
  3. Securing business premises: Our Client supplies Healy Consultants Group with a 12-month lease agreement for their office premises. If required, Healy Consultants Group will assist our Client i) to find an office space according to our client’s needs; ii) to secure a lease agreement with a landlord and iii) to submit a lease agreement for Ejari attestation. For some type of entities, Healy Consultants Group will supply virtual office services for 6 months until our Client finds their preferred business address;
  4. Corporate bank account opening: Simultaneously with the company registration, Healy Consultants Group prepares a detailed quality business plan to timely secure a Dubai multi-currency corporate bank account opening with a leading local bank such as Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic or First Abu Dhabi Bank. Healy Consultants Group arranges a one-hour meeting with the bank officer in our UAE office. Once the account is open, our Client deposits the paid-up share capital (if required) and supplies Healy consultants Group PLC with a certificate of deposit and bank statement;
  5. Trade license application: Next, Healy Consultants prepares the license application for our Client’s business activity. Under the UAE laws, our Client will apply for one of the following: i) commercial license (for engaging in trading business) ii) industrial license (for setting up a manufacturing business) and iii) professional license (for offering services including accountancy and consultancy);

    Our incorporation team submits a complete license application including i) the MOA ii) the name approval certificate iii) the lease agreement iv) the certificate of capital deposit and v) service agreement with a UAE national (where applicable). Within three weeks, business license approval is received;

  6. Company registration finalization: Subsequently, Healy Consultants assists our Client to register the UAE LLC with the Company Registry Office and obtains a Company Registration Certificate from the Ministry of Commerce. Thereafter, the company MOA is published in the Ministry of Economy and Commerce‘s Bulletin;

Post-incorporation steps

  1. Establishment Card: For mainland and Free Zone companies, Healy Consultants Group i) applies for an establishment card from the Ministry of Labour and/or ii) registers the company with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and iii) registers the company for VAT with Federal Tax Authority (if required);
  2. Engagement completion: Healy Consultants Group couriers a full company kit to our Client, including original UAE corporate documents, unopened bank correspondence, and a Client feedback survey.

Checklist of important documents required to register a company in the UAE

  • UAE embassy attested personal due diligence of shareholders and directors of the new company including: passport, address proof, 3 months’ bank statement, resume and educational certificates;
  • UAE embassy attested corporate due diligence documents of corporate shareholders including Certificate of Incorporation, M&AA, financial statements and 3 months’ bank statement;
  • Certificate of share capital deposit in a UAE corporate bank account;
  • Signed lease agreement for office premises or flexi desk in the UAE;
  • Service agreement with UAE national as the 51% local shareholder (mainland company only);
  • Commercial service agreement with a UAE company to act an agent for a free zone company (free zone company only).

Contact us

For additional information on our company incorporation services in UAE, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi