18 June, 2018 By Anisha Shah

“Any time is a good time to start business.” – Perhaps this is a statement that you have heard of multiple times. Barely a week goes by without an announcement or success story of another ambitious project; and the UAE’s growth projection suggests that it’s a bandwagon worth jumping on right now. According to IMF, the UAE is expected to lead GDP growth in2018 – 3.4% increment –  significantly ahead of the region’s biggest economy, Saudi Arabia, which is forecasted to grow at 1.6%. I’m assuming that what you’re trying to say here is “last time it is already quite good to start business, now is even more so.” These figures have served to attract an increasing number of businesses to the country. If you are of thinking of joining them, then the good news is that company formation in UAE is flexible and simple with an easy process. There are several options as to the type of legal structure you can set up in the UAE, onshore or offshore, but free zones are particularly well known for foreign entrepreneurs with good reasons: among the advantages, they offer 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions and many more. Tempted? So how do you go about doing it?

UAE free zones: A step-by-step guide

While the financial, technical and administrative features of company incorporation in Dubai can seem daunting, by following this simple process with the right support, it is far more easy, straightforward and affordable than you might think. N. R. Doshi and Partners have helped numerous companies establish themselves in various locations in UAE, and break the process down into the following steps:


Determine what exactly you want to do, where and how you want to do it, how much it will cost and whether you have the budget. In this step, you need to determine:

  1. Where to incorporate your UAE company
  2. Your need for protecting your intellectual property
  3. Whether you will need to obtain any special licenses
  4. Your need for visas or other immigration needs
  5. Your need for staffing for the business
  6. Your need to access the capital markets in the UAE
  7. Your need for marketing, supply chain and other support services
  8. Are there any tax incentives available, and what options are available to minimize your tax burden



In the Company Planning Stage you will determine such practical matters as:

  • The name of the company
  • Whether to be a Free Zone company or a limited liability company
  • Which Emirate to file registration
  • Determine the capitalization of the company (how many shares at what par value, and how much each shareholder will contribute to the company as their capital contribution)
  • Determine who will be the shareholder/s, manager, director/s and secretary
  • Determine the office, warehouse or plot of land requirement



After completing the Company Planning Stage, the Action Stage should be very smooth and fast:

  • Provide the necessary documents
  • Buy, lease or rent office space, hire employees, market the products, etc
  • Obtain the Establishment card
  • Open your bank account
  • Hold the organizational meeting, appoint officers and directors, issue shares to shareholders and take other necessary actions

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