FAQ Company Formation

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits are there by setting up a company in Dubai ?

Dubai is the financial hub in the Middle East. Thanks to its two ports, Dubai dominates the cargo and re-export markets. For over 20 years, Dubai economy has shown substantial growth with investment pouring in from all corners of the globe. It is also home to two major airlines Emirates and FlyDubai, with emirates being one of biggest airlines in the world. Apart from this, Dubai has a very large physical infrastructure spread all over the state with all kinds of services available almost everywhere.

What is the procedure of issuing a license of all activities and legal forms ?

1. Obtaining the initial approval (Emirates Identity Card or Unified Identity Number)

2. Trade name reservation

3. Obtaining activity approval from the other entities if required.

4. Obtaining the memorandum of association based on the legal type.

5. Obtaining a service agent contract for professional licenses

6. Tenancy contract issued by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency.

What are the terms and conditions for opening branches of foreign companies and free zone companies ?

Initial approval

(Freehold) The local service agent became optional in the license

Emirates ID Copy and Passport Copy of the company’s manager and local service agent

Approval of other government entities based on the activity

The decision of the Board of Directors to open a branch and appoint a manager

Approval of the Ministry of Economy

A copy of the memorandum of association and the commercial registry attested by the UAE embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

What is the maximum number of licenses that UAE nationals, GCC nationals and foreigners can own ?

No limit

What are the minimum and the maximum number of partners in the license for the various legal forms ?

The sole proprietorship is owned by a one person only.

The minimum number of partners for the limited liability company is 2 and the maximum number is 50.

The civil works and the partnership companies are composed of 2 or more partners.

The private joint-stock company doesn’t include less than 3 founders.

The public joint-stock company offers its shares for subscription and has unlimited number of partners.

What are the procedures for renewing a license ?

The license can be renewed automatically by sending a message with the license number to the number 6969. You will receive a payment voucher, which you can pay through the link which you will get on the SMS, or you can visit one of the service centers.

It is also possible to apply for license renewal through the Invest in Dubai platform, you have to log in by using a UAE Pass account.

Or you can apply for the renewal through one of the service centers.

What is the fine for not renewing the trade license for each year ?

200 AED for each month.

Does a free zone company formation in UAE, require a local agent or sponsor ?

It depends on the type of company. For mainland companies, it is required that yo have a resident visa or investor visa in the UAE. In case of a free zone company, since it provides 100% foreign ownership, the owners need not have a resident visa. However, the general manager of the company must reside in the UAE.

What are the legal structures available for company formation in a UAE Free Zone ?

While the free zones vary in the names of the structures available broadly speaking, the following legal structures are available in most free zones.

Free Zone Establishment (FZE) – Sole Establishments / Single Shareholder (can be individual or corporate)

Free Zone Company or Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZCO OR FZ-LLC) – More than one Shareholder / Multiple Shareholder (can be individual or corporate, or both)

Branch office – Where the shareholder is a parent company registered outside the free zone (can be outside the UAE or UAE-based company)

Is there a minimum capital requirement for company formation in a Free Zone ?

The minimum capital requirement depends on the jurisdiction and the business activity you want to operate. Required capital ranges from AED 1,000 to AED 300,000. With a few exceptions (DMCC, Telecom Free Zones), this capital is not required to be deposited in a bank account in the name of the company.

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However, in all cases, the capital can be used working capital, i.e. withdrawn after the completion of the company setup formalities.

Branch companies do not required any capital.


Is there customs duty in a free zone ?

A free zone company has 100 % foreign company ownership 100 %repatriation of capital and profits, exemption from import and export duties, no corporate tax and no dividend tax. However, if the business is established in the mainland, then, a 5 % custom duty is applicable.

Do you need to live in UAE to form a free zone company ?

No, Free zone companies do not require the owner to live in the UAE as it offers 100 %foreign ownership, however in most cases, a general manager of the company is required to be resident of the UAE.

Can I conduct trade within UAE if I set up a business in UAE free zone ?

Yes, a company setup and licensed in the free zone can do business outside the UAE. If you wish to trade within the UAE mainland, you can sell your goods to an LLC in Dubai that can act as a distributor.

This is done after paying the custom duty for the goods. You can also open a branch of the free one company in the mainland and cary out the activities as specified in your license.

What is CT „Corporate Tax” ?

CT is a form of direct tax levied on the net income or profit of corporations and other businesses. CT is sometimes also referred to as “Corporate Income Tax” or “Business Profits Tax” in other jurisdictions

Why is the UAE introducing CT ?

A competitive CT regime based on international best practices is expected to cement the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for business and investment and accelerate the UAE’s development and transformation to achieve its strategic objectives.

Introducing a CT regime also reaffirms the UAE’s commitment to meeting international standards for tax transparency and preventing harmful tax practices.

Is the UAE the first country to introduce CT ?

Most countries in the world have a comprehensive CT regime, including most of the countries in the Middle East.

When will the UAE CT regime become effective ?

The UAE CT regime will become effective for financial years starting on or after 1 June 2023.


● A business that has a financial year starting on 1 July 2023 and ending on 30 June 2024 will become subject to UAE CT from 1 July 2023 (which is the beginning of the first financial year that starts on or after 1 June 2023)

  • A business that has a financial year starting on 1 January 2023 and ending on 31 December 2023 will become subject to UAE CT from 1 January 2024 (which is the beginning of the first financial year that starts on or after 1 June 2023)
Who will be subject to UAE CT ?

UAE CT applies to juridical persons incorporated in the UAE and juridical persons effectively managed and controlled in the UAE, as well as to foreign juridical persons that have a permanent establishment (see section Foreign persons) in the UAE (see question ‘Who is considered resident for UAE CT purposes?’ under section Scope and rate).

Individuals will be subject to CT only if they are engaged in a business or business activity in the UAE, either directly or through an unincorporated partnership or sole proprietorship. A Cabinet Decision will be issued in due course specifying further information on what would bring a natural person within the scope of UAE CT. 

What kind of manpower is available in Dubai? Can I hire people from my own country for my business ?

People from more than 200 nationalities live and work in Dubai. There is no shortage of manpower in UAE. Both skilled and unskilled labor come to Dubai in search of work opportunity. Once you have established a country, you can either hire from the pool already available in Dubai or you can opt to hire people from your country of origin after fulfilling legal requirements.