While there can be several, minor formalities other than what is outlined below, the process of setting up a company in the UAE, consists of 8 steps, broadly speaking.

  1. Decide the type of license: You can apply for an industrial, commercial or professional license depending on your type of business. The Department of Economic Development (DED) maintains a roster of 1200 activities you can choose from.
  2. Finalize the ownership pattern: If you seek 100% Foreign Ownership of your business, you must setup your business in one of the several Free zones across the UAE. Else, you are obliged to have an UAE national as one of your partner, with ownership restrictions.
  3. Complete legal documentation: Depending on 1 and 2, there can be extensive documents to be filled and submitted to concerned Govt. agencies. Further, the terms, conditions and documents can vary from one Emirate to another in the UAE.
  4. Select a Name for your company: While you can reserve a name for your business through a Name Reservation Certificate, the DED will research the market if such a name already exists, and accordingly reject or amend the name.
  5. Allocate Share Capital: The Memorandum of Association (MOA) must clearly document the minimum share capital being allocated and the shareholding pattern, although you do not have to pay up this capital at the time of setting up.
  6. Rent out the Premises: Depending on the nature of your business, you can rent out space for a warehouse, factory and office as per your need, budgets and the availability. A tenancy agreement must be created in most of the cases.
  7. Recruit and build teams: Human Resources are abundantly available across the UAE in all categories of workers: unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled. CSU can help you with the Recruitment processes and fast-track your team-building efforts.
  8. Identify local support partners: In order to obtain a DED license, you are mandated to have a local partner, agent or sponsor to streamline all the processes and resolve any issues that may crop-up quickly. Free Zones, however, are not mandated to do so.
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