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Establishing a Company in United Arab Emirates

Establishing a Company in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Muslim-Arab Federation located in the Persian Gulf and consists of seven Emirates. The wealthiest and most well-known are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while the other five Emirates include: Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Each of the Emirates has its own laws and internal policy, however they share joint foreign and defense policies. The country's total population numbers roughly 10 million residents, of whom nearly 90% are foreign workers, and only a minority are UAE citizens. The Federation gained its independence in 1971, and it has been gradually extending its international relations since that time. The UAE's acceptance of The West over the past few decades has positioned the country as a leading regional center for commerce, transportation, finance and investments.

For Viewing United Arab Emirates in Google Maps - Click Here

Four Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the United Arab Emirates

 

  • The United Arab Emirates has an arid desert climate. During the summer months, temperatures can climb as high as 53° Celsius, average annual precipitation is only 80 mm, there are no rivers, streams or lakes within the UAE’s lands and sandstorms, accompanied by dry, hot winds, are a common phenomenon.
  • Men in the UAE outnumber women 2-to-1. 
  • Per capita GDP in the Emirates exceeds the European average by 80%. Healthcare, education, lands for construction and most other services are provided at no cost, and tax rates are low, reaching even 0% within several of the country's free trade zones.
  • It is nearly impossible to obtain UAE citizenship without having a relative whom is a citizen of the country.

The United Arab Emirates' Economy

Ever since the discovery of oil in the 60s, and especially after the UAE joined OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) in 1974, the United Arab Emirates' economy has skyrocketed and the standard of living within the country is amongst the highest in the world. At present, the UAE economy is considered the second most important and second largest in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia, with a gross domestic product greater than $400 billion per annum. Beyond their primary economic foundations in the oil and gas sector, the Emirates are developing a wide variety of industries. as well as a blossoming tourism industry.

The most significant potential gained from establishing a company in the United Arab Emirates stems from the UAE being an immense center for commerce and business that connects the Persian Gulf countries to the rest of the globe.

There are over 40 free trade zones spread throughout the United Arab Emirates, each centered around one or two business sectors. For example: Internet City, Media City, Health City, Dubai's International Finance Center, and similar. The federal laws, local laws and special laws adopted by each zone, regulate the activities of the companies within the given trade zone, providing the companies an opportunity to engage the commercial block of the Persian Gulf countries in a variety of areas, including: advanced agricultural initiatives, e-commerce, digital healthcare, artificial intelligence, luxury products and more.

The Leading Emirates

Abu Dhabi: The largest, most heavily populated and wealthiest of the 7 Emirates, Abu Dhabi spans roughly 90% of the UAE's territory and is responsible for two thirds of the country's oil production. Its capital is the city of Abu Dhabi, which is also the national capital.

Dubai: The UAE's second largest Emirate. While Abu Dhabi revolves around an oil economy, Dubai is the country's largest business and tourism center. Extensive development efforts, legislation that is supportive of business and free trade zones attract massive foreign investment to the Emirate, estimated at approximately $130 billion a year. Dubai is widely known for grandiose infrastructure and tourism projects that include one of the world's busiest airports, artificial islands, super deluxe hotels and some of the planet's tallest buildings.

Jebel Ali: Dubai's free trade zone is considered a paradise for investors owing to substantial regulatory concessions that allow for 100% foreign company ownership and provide for very low to 0% tax rates. Thousands of companies operate within the trade zone and it constitutes Dubai's primary source of income.

Ras Al Khaimah: Situated in the northern region of the Arabian Peninsula, Ras Al Khaimah borders the Strait of Hormuz and is the fourth largest Emirate. No oil was discovered in this Emirate and its economy is based on real estate, tourism, industry and mining. Over 15,000 international businesses operate within the Emirate, in over 50 different sectors. "The Khaimah Economic Zone", launched in 2017, is today one of the Gulf's largest economic zones, offering financial incentives and well-developed infrastructure.

Additional Information Regarding Establishing Companies in the United Arab Emirates:

General
Type of company
Depends on the specific Emirate
Relevant Companies Law
Depends on the specific Emirate and trade zone
Offices
Required
Language of original incorporation documents
Arabic
Finance and Taxation
Currency
United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Corporate tax rate
0% - 50%, depending on the Emirate and the company’s area of business
Standard share capital
Depends on the specific Emirate
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Depends on the specific Emirate
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Depends on the specific Emirate
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Depends on the specific Emirate
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required
Obligation to appoint local company director
Not required
Minimum number of directors
1
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Required
Obligation to register local shareholders
Not required
Minimum number of shareholders
1
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Individual and/or company
Type of shares
Registered shares
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders is not accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Not required
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Required