Dubai company register involves certain basic steps a businessman must take before he begins to do business in Dubai
Dubai company register: We discuss on this page the categories and procedure required to get your business licensed and registered in Dubai.
Any business of any category must have a ‘trade’ license in Dubai.
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The requirements of trade license and the permissions required from various agencies and government ministries can vary depending on the category of the business.
That means some types of businesses for example financial services, health services, printing and publishing, food trading require more clearances than say a general trading business.
There are basically 3 categories of licenses issued in Dubai to register a company
Depending on the nature of the activity a business entity plans to undertake, license in one of these categories will be issued:
- Commercial License– to be issued to a company that will engage in any kind of trading activity.
- Industrial License– to be issued to a company that will engage in manufacturing or any industrial activity.
- Professional License– to be issued to service providers, professionals, artisans, and craftsmen.
The Department of Economic Development in Dubai is the government agency responsible for issuing local Dubai company licenses. This department operates from several locations to deliver licensing services.
However, the main office located near the clock tower in Dubai is where a businessman must go for a comprehensive range of all services.
The approval process for a business registration in Dubai
- Issuance of licenses for banks and other financial institutions must have the approval of the UAE Central Bank
- Issuance of licenses for manufacturing companies must have the approval of the Finance and Industry Ministry.
- Issuance of licenses for companies engaged in insurance and other relevant firms must have the approval of the Economy and Commerce Ministry
- Issuance of licenses for medical and pharmaceutical products must have the approval of the Health Ministry
- For companies engaged in gas or oil production, additional endorsements and approvals from other government agencies may be needed
- In addition, business registration must also have the involvement of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Requirements for business ownership
Every company, other than those with a professional license, set up in Dubai or elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates [UAE] is required to have no less than fifty-one percent (51%) shareholding by UAE nationals.
The exception to this requirement would be any one of the following six conditions:
- The company is established at any of the Free Zones in Dubai.
- In cases where the law requires 100% local ownership.
- Where a company wholly owned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) enters into a partnership with another company wholly owned by UAE nationals.
- In certain activities, 100% ownership for GCC nationals or entities is permitted.
In artisan or professional companies in which total foreign ownership is allowed.
- In the case of a foreign entity registering a representative or branch office in the UAE.
- In the case where a professional license is being applied for such professions such as architect, doctor, artist etc. The foreign ownership can be 100%. However a local national must be taken as ‘service agent’.
Legal business structures
A major consideration in business registration in Dubai and the other Emirates is the choice of business structure.
The Federal Law defines the seven legal structures of business organizations, as follows:
- General Partnership
2. Partnership in Commendams
3. Public Shareholding
4. Private Shareholding
5. Joint Venture
6. Share Partnership
7. Limited Liability
Both 6 and 7 are generally used by small and medium-sized entities.
Establishment of a representative or branch office
A branch in Dubai or a representative office of a foreign entity in Dubai is allowed to be 100% foreign owned. This privilege is given on the condition that a local agent is appointed. Said local agent must be a UAE national (or a company 100% owned by UAE nationals).
Setting up a representative or branch office in Dubai may also be a consideration worth looking into as far as some foreign entities are concerned. The business registration in Dubai for this option is covered by the Commercial Companies Law.
Based on the foregoing facts and details, it is evident that Dubai company registration and registration elsewhere in the UAE is a process completely free of any complication.
Dubai company register: Procedure
Step 1. Decide who will be your local partner – “Sponsor”
This step requires careful consideration of what services you expect from the sponsor.
- Would you like him to assist you in resolving your problem with the government procedures or
- Would you just want his name on the license and nothing else
- What fees are you prepared to pay per year.
A good rapport with your sponsor prevents many potential problems.
Step 2. Get a name and activity approval from Department of Economic Development (DED)
This can be applied for and done on a standard application form and submitted at DED
Step 3. Look for business premises and make a tenancy contract
All business in Dubai must have business premises evidenced by a tenancy contract in order to get registered.
Step 4. Make a Memorandum of Association (MOA) with the sponsor and submit to DED
Any legal firm can type out the memorandum which must specify in a special arrangement and ownership percentage among all partners.
Step 5. Submit the MOA and the License application at DED along with the required legal documents and the tenancy contract.
All charges and fees must be paid at this stage. You should get a license after about a week from step 5.
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