10 steps to incorporating in UAE
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:
- Client due diligence and commitment: Prior to company incorporation, our Client i) settles Healy Consultants Group PLC’s fees, ii) completes and email returns signed Healy Consultants Group PLC’s engagement letter and iii) provides us with all the required due diligence documents;
- 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 PLC 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;
- 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.
- Phase 1: Name reservation and application submission: Healy Consultants Group PLC i) reserves the proposed company name and ii) obtains preliminary approval on the business activities, trade name, and identity of partners (if applicable) by completing the application and licensing from the Department of Economic Development or relevant Free Zone Authority and iii) prepares company deeds of establishment and articles of association;
- Phase 2: Documents filing: Our incorporation team liaises with our Client to obtain signature on relevant incorporation forms and then i) files all the company documents and due diligence documents with the Commercial Registry of the DED or Free Zone Authority and ii) settles the required fees to obtain an in principal approval letter. For mainland and free zone companies, this letter enables our Client open a bank account and lease office premises required to obtain a Trade License;
- Phase 3: Corporate bank account opening and securing business premises: Our banking team will assist our Client to open a Dubai multi-currency corporate bank account with a leading local bank. Our Client deposits the paid-up share capital and supplies Healy Consultants Group PLC with a certificate of deposit and bank statement;
Our Client then supplies Healy Consultants Group PLC with a lease agreement for their office premises. If this is not possible, Healy Consultants Group PLC will supply virtual office services for 6 months until our Client finds their preferred business address;
- Phase 4: 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);
We submit 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;
- Phase 5: 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.
- Company establishment card (only mainland and free zone companies): We apply for an establishment card from the Ministry of Labour and ii) register the company with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affair (DNRD). Upon approval, our Client can apply for employee work permit for expatriate staff;
Additional licensing: for companies offering regulated services or where the business activities may require additional permits from the government Healy Consultants Group PLC will assist our Client liaise with the relevant licensing authorities to fast secure approval before our Client can commence business;
- Engagement completion: Healy Consultants Group PLC 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).