A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Businesses in UAE Mainland

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Businesses in UAE Mainland

The UAE has become a bustling business hub, attracting entrepreneurs of diverse nationalities eager to pursue their ventures in the region.

Setting up a business in the UAE requires individuals to be at least 18 years old, as per the Commercial Transactions Law of 2023.

To initiate a business venture in the UAE mainland, prospective entrepreneurs must adhere to specific procedures outlined by the Ministry of Economy. This involves obtaining approvals, gathering necessary documents, and following a series of steps.

Applications can be made conveniently online through the unified Basher platform or the respective emirate's economic department website. Alternatively, in-person applications can be submitted at various government service centers, Tasheel offices, legal service offices, OnTime government service offices, or customer happiness centers of the emirate's Department of Economic Development.

The Ministry of Economy provides clear guidance on the steps involved in establishing a business in the UAE mainland:

  1. Identify the type of license required, considering the nature of the business activity among six available categories;
    • occupational,
    • tourism,
    • industrial,
    • commerical,
    • agricultural,
    • and professional.
  1. Choose the appropriate legal structure for the business, considering factors such as ownership liability and regulatory requirements.
    • Sole establishment
    • Civil company
    • Limited liability company
    • Public joint stock company
    • Private joint stock company
    • Branch of a GCC company
    • Branch of a local company
    • Holding company
    • Representative office of a foreign company
  1. Register a unique trade name that complies with specified conditions, ensuring it aligns with the business's nature and doesn't infringe on existing entities. The conditions you need to fulfill to register your trade name are:
    • The suffix of the company's name (LLC, PJSC, etc.) must be an acronym for its legal structure.
    • The name cannot contain any inappropriate words or be offensive in any way.
    • The name must be compatible with the nature of your business.
    • The trade name should not include the names of rulers, government agencies, or government logos.
    • No other company must be registered with the same trade name as your business.
    • The Ministry of Economy and the Department of Economic Development must approve both the name and the trademark.
    • Trade name certificates need to be renewed as needed.
  1. Obtain initial approval from the UAE Government, indicating no objection to the business establishment, and proceed to create necessary legal documents like Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA).

    An MOA (Memorandum of Association) is required for a Limited Liability Company, Public Shareholding Company, or Private Shareholding Company. An LSA (Local Service Agent) is required for a sole proprietorship. Additional approvals from government authorities may be necessary depending on the type of economic activity.
  2. Secure a suitable physical location for the business, adhering to regulations set by the Department of Economic Development and local authorities. You need to register the tenancy contract for office or warehouse space on the Dubai Land Department's Ejari portal.
  3. Submit required documents, pay applicable fees, and acquire the business license from designated service centers or online platforms. Documents required are:
    • Initial approval receipt
    • Copies of all documents submitted
    • Copy of attested lease contract
    • MOA (if required)
    • Approvals from other government entities (if required)
  1. Complete registration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the corresponding emirate, finalizing the establishment process.

It's important to note that setting up a business in UAE free zones follows a distinct procedure separate from mainland businesses.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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