Business structure in the United Arab Emirates

Setting up a foreign business:

As a local company:
One has to have a local partner from the Emirates, who will also have to own at least 51% of the share capital. There are several types of companies, although the most common one for foreigners is the LLC (Limited Liability Company).

Establishing a branch office:

In this case 100% of the ownership can be in foreign hands, although it will always be necessary to have a sponsor or local agent (engaged in bureaucratic tasks).
There are three types of branches:

  • Branch Office (business activity).
  • Consultancy Office (professional activity).
  • Representative Office or Liaison Office (cannot carry out commercial activity but can indeed promote and market its products).

Establishing in a Free Zone

Free zones have their own regulations. Companies with their own legal personality can be set up in these with no need for a local partner or agent, as the free zone itself acts in this status (meaning that the investor controls 100% of the capital).

A very good option for foreign companies that do not need to have a base in the country and who cover the whole Middle East and control 100% of the property.