6 Simple Steps To Set Up A Business In A UAE Free Zone

6 Simple Steps To Set Up A Business In A UAE Free Zone

The UAE attracts wealthy individuals, investors, and entrepreneurs due to its streamlined business setup process, fast processing times, and favorable legal framework. In 2023, the UAE made significant updates to the Commercial Transactions Law, including lowering the minimum age requirement for starting a business to 18 years old. Establishing a business in a UAE Free Zone is straightforward and can be completed in six simple steps, as outlined by the Ministry of Economy.

Step 1: Type of licence

There are several licences that UAE Free Zones can offer, your first step would be to figure out what the nature of your business is and which category it falls under.

Here are some of them:

  • Commercial Trade
  • Consultancy Services
  • Industrial
  • Educational
  • Media
  • eCommerce
  • Offshore
  • Freelancer
  • Warehousing
  • Manufacturing
  • Innovation

There are three types of legal structures that your company can have. Basis the nature of your business and its requirements, you would have to follow a set of rules and regulations.

There are three legal forms of business in the Emirates, they are:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC)
  • Free Zone Company (FZ Co.)
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

Step 3: Trade name registration

You can apply for a trade name through the Department of Economic Development's app or website.

Keep in mind that a trade name is the name of your company and it cannot be similar to the name of any other registered company.

There are some terms and conditions which are as follows:

  1. Your trade name must indicate the legal structure of the company (for example LLC)
  2. it should not be offensive to the general public of or have inappropriate words
  3. It should be compatible with your business/company
  4. The trade name should not have any UAE ruler's name or logo, or any official UAE government logo or the name or logo of any foreign government or government bodies
  5. It should not be registered by another company
  6. The trade name and trademark must be approved by the Department of Economic Development and the Ministry of Economy, respectively
  7. Trade name certificates are subject to renewal

Step 4: Business location

Now, you need to select the right location for your business, with over 40 free zones available in the country. For an independent or professional license, you have the option to either rent an office space or register with a virtual office. The type of office space you require will depend on factors such as the number of employees and the nature of your business. You can choose between fully-furnished or partially-furnished offices, which can be rented or purchased once you obtain your commercial license. Typically, properties in free zones are available for rent. Additionally, free zones offer various facilities to assist investors in setting up their businesses, including IT infrastructure, obtaining NOC letters or 'To whom it may concern' letters, and managing residence visas, including issuing, renewing, and canceling them.

Step 5: Receiving initial approval

To receive your initial approval, you must submit all necessary documents and ensure that you have satisfied all the mandatory criteria.

Here are some common documents that you will need to prepare:

  • Completed application form
  • Business plan
  • Copy of existing trade license/registration certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport copies of the company’s shareholders and appointed manager
  • Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) for appointed manager (original and notarised)
  • Specimen signatures of the company’s shareholders and appointed manager
  • Title deeds (if applicable)
  • A brief letter clarifying the investment idea and the investor's plan (Letter of Intent)
  • 2 years audited financial reports or certificate of reference from a bank (as required)
  • Documents commonly required for freelancers/professionals
  • Application for registration
  • Curriculum vitae or profile
  • Reference letter from a bank
  • Registry Identification Form (RIC) for Director (original and notarised document)

Step 6: Payment

Finally, you would be required to pay the fees to receive a license for your company. Your fees would also include a company license issuance fees.

You will also be asked for some documents, some of which are listed below:

  • Completed application form for registration
  • Board Resolution appointing Manager/Director (notarised and attested)
  • Power of Attorney given to Manager/Director (notarised and attested)
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (notarised and attested)
  • Specimen signature of Manager/Director (notarised and attested)
  • Passport-size photos of Manager/Director
  • Share capital information

News Source: Khaleej Times

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