How to form a company in Dubai?
When the name Dubai or the United Arab Emirates is mentioned, what comes to people’s minds is the tallest building in the world. The state’s pro-business approach has made it a top destination for companies that want to expand rapidly. The most notable aspect of Dubai is that it is a free port that exempts almost all taxes for companies operating from there. This is a complete guide for Dubai company formation.
When you decide to enter Dubai, it is important to have a clear objective of the company under consideration. For example, you may select Dubai to safeguard current business/ assets, operate a virtual office, or become immune to regulations in your country.
The main types of companies you can form in Dubai
Depending on the objectives of forming the company in Dubai, you have the following options.
Free zone limited liability Company
These are businesses that are owned 100% by one individual. In this type of company, the investor does not require getting a sponsor to manage or act as a liaison agent. The main focus is ensuring that there are no restrictions that obstruct the proprietor from operations. The key benefits of setting up a free zone limited liability company include the following;
- The owner enjoys up to 100% ownership. This means that you are not dragged to look for local partners.
- Because the company is formed by one person, making the decisions is relatively easy and fast. This gives you the chance to follow deals and act promptly when urgent deals are in the offing.
- Because the company operates within the Dubai free port, the company can enjoy 0%c tax while the renewal charges are very low.
- The business is allowed to hold properties, and the process of liquidation is very simple.
- Offshore company in Dubai
An offshore company in Dubai means any enterprise located outside Dubai but wants to have a local office. For example, a company located in Germany might want to have a local company in Dubai to make operations easy and fast. Offshore companies in Dubai are mainly setup to get regional tax relief-invoicing-facility. The main advantages of setting up an offshore company in Dubai include the following;
- There is no limitation on the capital requirement. This means that you can even set an office with very small amounts and inject more funds to grow progressively.
- Unlike most companies abroad, the offshore company in Dubai does not need to establish a physical office. This means that you can operate virtually and hit maximum potential. A good example, in this case, is an e-commerce company that does not need a physical office. By registering the business in Dubai, clients’ products can be ordered online and delivered by courier services.
- The legal requirements for an offshore company are very lenient. You only need one director, maintain financial records, and submit audited financial records at the end of each financial year.
- You can still transact business within the free trade area; a trading license will be issued.
Other forms of companies you can incorporate in Dubai
Other types of companies that you can register include Private and public joint stock companies that target trading in the local stock market. You can also open branch offices to oversee special operations for the mother company. However, branch offices come with great limitations because they are only allowed to carry research on the market but cannot transact business for the mother country.
Registering your company in Dubai
The process of registering new companies in Dubai is done by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Department of Economic Development (DED). Investors are required to prepare and submit the following;
- The company’s memorandums of association: This is the most crucial document that details the operational organization of the company. The Dubai administration emphasizes on this document so much because it defines the roles and jurisdiction of every shareholder in the company.
- A name approval letter from DED. To avoid conflict of interest, Dubai requires every applicant to complete name search and get a letter of approval from DED.
- An application forma: This is a letter from the entrepreneur/shareholders indicating the decision to open a company in Dubai. The letter must be approved by the DED.
- Copies of shareholders passports: These provide the authenticity of the shareholders to the DED and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is also important to attach proof of residence when making the application.
Once the application has been made with the requisite documentation, it is important to regularly check for subsequent communication in case more information is needed.
Before you can start operations, the company must open a Dubai bank account. This is the account that will enable the company to get payment, pay salaries, clear bills and file correct returns. It is important to carefully assess the banks in Dubai to pick the one with the best services to anchor your company’s fast growth.
The most important things to factor when incorporating a company in Dubai
While Dubai is one of the most liberal economies in the globe, people looking forward to registering companies should ensure their objectives are carefully defined, the operational structure properly outlined, and have the requisite cash to commence operations. In addition, the following very important considerations should be factored.
- The nature of business: The type of business determines the nature of the company to register in Dubai. For example, you might need a commercial, industrial, or professional services type of company and license. Note that if you are dealing with some forms of business such as jewelry, veterinary, legal, and food operations, additional approval will be required. There are over 2100 activities under the DED that companies can get involved in.
- The preferred business ownership: If you are a foreign national, it is better to go for a company with 100% ownership. This gives you autonomy in business decision making, sourcing capital, and driving growth. Note that a different license will be required if you intend to operate locally.
- The company’s legal type: Based on the preferred free trade area, there are different make-ups that businesses can take. For example, a legal consultancy firm can only operate as a branch office in most free trade areas. Make sure to check the restrictions for various free trade zones in Dubai.
- Local office and employees: After getting all the legalities right, you should consider looking for a local office in the preferred free trade zone. Every free trade zone helps new companies to identify available spaces so that they can set up their operations as fast as possible.
DED requires companies to hire managers who are supposed to conduct operations in Dubai on behalf of the business. It is important to get the right manager well before setting off with the registration process. However, there are special cases when a company is not allowed to hire staff but only operate through contractors. For example, Intelaq License Holders can only engage contractors to do business. You should check the rules and restrictions for every free trade zone.
Why you should consider using expert assistance when registering a company in Dubai ?
Because of its operation as a free port, Dubai has become a great attraction. A lot of businesses are heading to Dubai to establish their presence and leverage growth to bigger multinationals. This has made entry and operation very complex especially to new entrants. To be sure of making the right moves, it is important to work with an expert agency from the beginning.
- Expert agents have been in Hong Kong for years and understood the business environment very well. They can, therefore, help you to pick the right business form for faster establishment and growth.
- Their understanding of the local market can help you to cut the cost of marketing and research during the early stages of establishment. If you can identify an agency that handles business in your niche, it will be possible to use previously collected data to study the market and make the right moves to drive higher traffic.
- Like other countries, the legislative environment of Dubai keeps changing. Whether it is a minor adjustment or major legislation change that will have implication on your business, having a local hand will help you to map the possible implications and reposition appropriately.
- Local agents are very helpful when preparing the business registration documentation and applying for a bank account. You do not have to risk making multiple applications because the initial ones have been rejected. Enlisting the services of a professional will help to present the best documentation on time and get faster approval.
To pick the best expert agency in Dubai, it is important to evaluate their operations and determine the past successes. Focus on the commitment of the agency to support your enterprise during the early stages of operation before full establishment in Dubai and beyond. Though the cost is important, your focus should not be picking the cheapest expert agency, but the firm with the best services to anchor business growth.