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Company Formation in UAE

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A Comprehensive Guide to Company Formation in UAE: Mainland and Free Zones


Welcome to SK Financial Services, your trusted partner in navigating the intricate landscape of company formation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Whether you are considering establishing your business in the mainland or exploring the benefits of free zones, we are here to guide you through every step of the process.

Company Formation in UAE

The process of Company Formation in UAE, involves only a few simple steps, in all seven emirates. You can apply by yourself at the Economic Development Department of any Emirates where you want to plan and set up your business. Additionally, digital platforms are available for obtaining trade licenses and setting up companies online where applying with necessary documents will result in a license within minutes. Investors can also apply through legal offices or designated companies offering business entity services. Setting up a company usually involves identifying a location, specifying the nature of the business and paying the prescribed fees for the issuance of a trade license. 

Steps to Establish Your Company with inside the UAE Mainland

01. Identify Nature of Business Activity

The UAE offers 6 types of basic economic licenses for company formationRead More

02. Determine Your Company’s Legal Structure

A business structure is primarily based on the needs of the business and will determine the rules and regulations that the company must follow. Read More

03. Register the Trade Name

Trade name refers as the name of your company. It must be unique and not match any other registered company. You can apply to obtain the trade name via Economic Development department’s website.Read More

04. Apply for Initial Approval

An initial approval is the UAE Government’s ‘no objection’ towards a particular business being established in the country. Read More

05. Create MOA or LSA

Memorandum of Association (MOA) is required. If the legal form of the company is a limited liability company, public shareholding company, private shareholding company, or civil company. If it is a sole proprietorship then local service agent agreement (LSA) is required

06. Choose Your Business Location

All businesses working in UAE must have a physical address to operate. The company’s premises and location must comply with the zoning policies and regulations of the Emirates Economic Development Department as well as local municipalities or other competent authorities. In Dubai, a tenancy agreement for office or warehouse space must be registered through the Dubai Land Department’s tenancy portal.

07. Apply for Additional Government Approvals

Sometime, additional approvals are required from government agencies that regulate certain business activities.Read More

08. Submit Required Documents
  • Initial approval receipt and copies of total previously submitted documents
  • Copy of lease contract, duly attested
  • Memorandum/s of Association, as required
  • Approvals from other government entities, as required
09. Pay Fees and Collect License

Customers can collect business licenses from service centers of the economic department or from their website.

10. Register Your Company with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Registration of the company must be in the same emirate where it has been incorporated.Read More

Steps to Establish Your Company inside the UAE Free Zones

01. Determine Nature of Business Activity

In free zones, UAE offers various types of business licenses to entrepreneurs and investors based on the nature of business. Some of them are:Read More

02. Determine Your Company’s Legal Structure

The legal structure of a company depends on the nature and requirements of the business. It defines the regulations and laws that companies must follow. Read More

03. Register The Trade Name

Trade name means the name of your company. It must be unique and not similar to any other registered company. You can obtain the trade name from the respective Economic Development Department’s website or smart application.Read More

04. Select Business Space and Location

There are more than 40 free zones in the UAE. To set up a new business, select the place which matches the nature of business activity.Read More

05. Obtaining the Initial Approval

You must complete all requirements and submit necessary documents to obtain the initial approval to open a new company. Some other activities like health, travel and tourism will require some additional government approvals that must obtain from relevant authorities.Read More

06. Registration and Payment of Fees
  • Pay fees and secure company license
  • Fees include company license issuance fee, which depends on the type of license.
Read More

How To Apply for Company Formation in UAE

The Electronic Basher Platform

Basher - A unified platform that allows to set up company in 15 minutes. Local and federal government agencies related to licensing of economic activities in various emirates have been brought together in a unified platform to facilitate doing your business.

Through Economic Development Departments in the Emirates:

You can apply to establish company by visiting one of the following offices:

  • Government service centers
  • Tasheel offices
  • On Time offices for government services
  • Legal services offices
  • Customer happiness centers affiliated to the departments of economic development in all emirates of the country

Time Taken to Establish Company in the UAE and Worldwide

10 Days

In high-income countries, according to the World Bank

4 Days

In the UAE through Economic Development Department

15 Minutes

Via the Basher online platform

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: What are the advantages of company formation in a free zone?

Free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified import / export procedures.

Q2: How long does it take to establish a company in the UAE mainland?

The process takes approximately 4 days through the Department of Economic Development.

Q3: Can I change my business location after the initial setup?

Yes, but it involves specific procedures and approvals from the relevant authorities.

Choosing between mainland and free zone company formation in the UAE depends on your business objectives and preferences. SK Financial Services is here to simplify this process, ensuring a seamless experience from inception to establishment.

Need more information and personalized assistance, Contact us today.

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