Setting up a business in UAE is quite challenging if you are not aware of the process and legislations involved. It is advisable to seek professional assistance in setting up your business in UAE. Mainland Business Setup in United Arab Emirates: The mainland companies in United Arab Emirates (UAE) are incorporated under Federal Commercial Company Law No (8) of 1984 and its amendments by Federal Law No. 13 of 1988, 2011 and 2015. The latest amendments were made in 2015 as approved by the Federal National Council. The basic requirement for all business activities in UAE is one of the following three categories of licenses:

  • Commercial License – this license covers physical trading of all types of goods. It can be classified as a general license for any types of commercial businesses in the city. In most cases, this is related mostly to business that deals with trading (e.g.: imports, exports, etc.)
  • Professional license – this license is released to individual businesses that covers trades related to specific skills or professions i.e. services, craftsmen and artisans.
  • Industrial License – an industrial license is issued to corporations that deals with manufacturing of goods or anything related to industrial enterprise

These all licenses are issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED). However, a special approval from certain ministries or department is required for some categories and activities of business.

Additional Approvals

Selected businesses may require special approvals of the Ministries. The following table enlists those activities and the respective approving authority.

Official Authority Activity
Securities Commission Stock Trading Companies, Stock Exchange
Ministry of Environment & Water Farms, Fodder Trade, Saplings roses and micro fertilizers, Domestic, Vultures and Extinct Animals, Veterinary Clinics, Imported & Exported Fish Trade (New Only)
Ministry of Interior – Police Department Gold Trading, Banks and Exchange Offices, Seals & Keys Industry, fixing weapons, Import & Selling old guns, Explosives & Fireworks, Hotels, Night Clubs, Medicine Factories, Furnished Apartments, Private Security Companies, Electronic Games Centers, Shooting Clubs, Jet ski, Diving Lessens, Mobiles, Rent a Car
Ministry of Interior – Traffic & Licensing Department Driving Lessons Schools for Men & Women, Renting Cars – Transportation.
Ministry of Interior – Civil Defence Companies of Extinguishers equipments, tools and materials, Factories, Bakeries Furniture, Carpentry and Oil and Diesel Stations, Extinguishing Consultation Services.
Ministry of Culture, Youth and Social Development Sports Training Centres, Sports Services Companies, Billiards, Fitness Centres for both men & women (new only).
Ministry of Finance and Industry All industrial Installations that exceeds 300 thousand AED
Ministry of Labour and Bringing Workforce and Nursery Schools
Social Affairs Nursery Schools, Marriage Offices, taking Care and hab-itation of special needs people
Official Postal Authority Documents transfer, letters post, Transfer of all kinds of packages, express mail
Department of Civil Aviation Travelling, Tourism, Internal Tourism, Air Cargo Companies, Flight Training, Air Survey, Planes Rental, Travel Agents, Planes Maintenance.
Chamber of Commerce & Industry Organizing Exhibitions
Ministry of Education and Youth and Knowledge and Human Development Authority. Private Schools, Nursery Schools, Cultural Institutions, Sports Cities,
Municipality Engineering services, Geological Services, Surveying Planning & Photogrammetry services and Architectural services
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Knowledge and Human Development Authority. Private Universities, Universities Services
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs Organising Hajj and Umrah trips, Quran Centres and Lawyers
Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Organising Hajj and Umrah trips, Quran Centres
National Media Council Press and marketing related activities like Advertising directory, Printing press, Sign boards and others
Road and transportation authority All transportation related activities including Rental cars, Passenger transport by rental bus, Gas tanker rental and bicycle and Motorcycle rental.
Ministry of Agriculture Plants Nurseries, Farms, Livestock and Birds Trade, Fish and Aquarium Trade, Seeds and Fertilized Trade
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Nursery Schools, Bringing Workforce
Ministry of Industry All Industrial Licences
Ministry of Health Hospitals, Private Clinics, Medical Laboratories, Laboratories, Medical Centres, Medical Clinics, Pharmacies, Factories & Medicine Stores, Eyeglasses and lens, Medicine and Medical Herbs Trade & import Companies, Massage Centres
Ministry of Economy Auditing and Foreign Companies Branches
Ministry of Culture & Information Prints, Video & Cassettes Stores, Bookstores, Propaganda & Advertisements, Artistic & TV Production, Cinemas, Organizing Concerts, Journals & Magazines Distribution ( and all licenses related to media), Export of Journals & Magazines , Computer Programs Selling and Production, Theatre Production, Photography, Videotaping, Press Services Offices, Satellite Dishes and TV codes Devices, Internet Cafes, Entertainment Contractors, Internet Services, Exhibitions Organization, Copying Centres, Codes Devices & Satellite Dishes Agents in the States, Companies that broadcast its Satellite Channels in the State, Hand writing & Free Hand
The Central Bank of UAE Money & Banking, Banking Business, Representation Offices, Financing Companies, Investment Companies, Financial & Monitory Intermediation, Money & Banking Consultation.

Ownership Requirements

All commercial activities require minimum of 51% shares representation by the UAE national. However, most of the professional activities can be registered with 100% foreign (Expat) ownership. Services of local national are still require being the local service agent. Though, the local service agent has no active part in business conduct or profit sharing but, he/she merely act as representative of the company for all government affairs.

What N R Doshi & Partners offers?

At N R Doshi & Partners, we offer the most comprehensive LLC formation and consultation in Dubai. Our services include: –

  • Identifying a local UAE national as sponsor
  • Assisting in identifying suitable office space
  • Securing all the approvals and incorporation procedures
  • Providing assistance in opening bank accounts
  • Offering full spectrum support service
  • Helping in arranging residence visa for the investors

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