Starting a business in the UAE has gotten easier with the recent constitutional amendment allowing 100% foreign ownership in Dubai. Expat entrepreneurs can now have full authority over their onshore company’s operations as well as profit. However, in pre-pandemic times you would have to mandatorily get into a partnership with a UAE citizen (Emirati). Earlier, the Commercial Companies Law required your local sponsor to own 51% of your company shares and act as a silent partner.
The initiative was lauded not only by the UAE’s local business community but also foreign investors. Furthermore, the new shareholding option has also come to aid enterprises of all sizes – startups, small and mediums enterprises (SMEs) and bigger companies – which no longer need take on the grueling task of finding a reliable local partner and put a majority of their shares on stake. With 100% foreign ownership in Dubai, they can focus on their company’s growth.
How to form an onshore company in Dubai with 100% expat ownership?
Setting up a company on mainland with 100% ownership in the UAE is a big plus for investors looking to find a home for their business in the country. Below are the procedures for your company formation:
1. List your business activity / activities
It is imperative for business owners to list down all the activities they wish to carry out in the UAE before establishing their mainland company. The Department of Economic Development (DED) maintains an exhaustive list of more than 2,300 permissible business activities. You can choose the ones that match your business model, and the same would reflect in your trading license once approved.
However, if your chosen business activity is not on the DED list, you can always carry it out after seeking additional approvals from relevant governmental bodies. For instance, trading in e-cigarettes and vapes in require no-objections and permits from authorities concerned.
2. Finalise the company’s legal structure
100% foreign ownership in Dubai has opened a new world of opportunities for onshore company formation. You can now form an LLC (limited liability company) without a local sponsor. For professional categories of licenses, however, you do require a local service agent for signatory formalities, paperwork, and legal procedures. However, your agent will not own any of your company shares.
3. Trade name reservation
The next step of your company formation is reserving a legal trading name. Although not compulsory, this name should indicate the nature of your business. Also, it should not be an imitation of an established brand in the market. It would be preferable to have about three to four name options ready for approval. Moreover, you must ensure the chosen name is not derogatory or hurt the sentiments of any religion or community. You can also give your own name to your business or choose an Arabic one to save yourself from the foreign trade name charges applicable.
4. Secure an office space
An office space that gels well with your brand’s personality is a must-have in 2021. Therefore, explore as much as you can before finalising the office space for your onshore enterprise. It is wise to rent an office space rather than investing in real estate for several reasons. You do not require to invest in buying an expensive space and investing further on the interiors. Dubai has options for cumtomisable commercial spaces and state-of-art offices. Moreover, if you want to start small, you can also choose furnished, fully equipped co-working spaces and flexi-desks too. Now you can also get a virtual office in Dubai with a sustainability agreement.
5. Apply for a business license
Trade license application for a new company with 100% foreign ownership in Dubai is simple. You, however, need to prepare all the documents, get the required approvals and pay the necessary charges. You also need to present a copy of the initial approval certificate, payment receipt of trade name reservation, and identity proof documents, among other documents.
6. Procure visa and open a corporate bank account
Once you obtain your trade license, you can avail your three-year investor visa and also sponsor the residency visas for your family members. Moreover, you can also hire staff and sponsor their employment visas. For visa application, you need to show your investment.
Having a corporate bank account is a vital aspect of managing your finances.
Launch your onshore company in the UAE
Although the documentation and processing might appear time-consuming and a lot of legwork, you can get it done in a hassle-free way. Get in touch with our legal corporate advisors in London. They will not only simplify the entire process of your onshore company formation, but also help you with the entire documentation for 100% foreign ownership in Dubai.
You can call Shuraa Business Setup’s London branch on +44 7538 205604 or 02081065084 and get a free consultation.