The UAE economy is clearly divided between the ‘onshore’ sector, dominated by local business interests with restrictions on foreign ownership and the ‘offshore’ sector which consists of a number of Free zones. There are no major taxes to speak of both on or offshore, but 100% foreign ownership and customs privileges make the free zones the most favorable locations in the Middle East for international operations.

Companies incorporated in the UAE have to take the form of one of seven types.

  • General Partnership
  • Simple Limited Partnership
  • Joint Participation (Venture)
  • Public Joint Stock
  • Private Joint Stock
  • Limited Liability
  • Partnership Limited with Shares


The basic requirement for all business activity in the UAE is one of the following three categories of licences:

  • Commercial licences covering all kinds of trading activity;
  • Professional licences covering professions, services, craftsmen and artisans;
  • Industrial licences for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity.

 

These licences are all issued by the Economic Department of the respective Emirates. However, licences for some categories of business require approval from certain ministries and other authorities: for example, banks and financial institutions from the Central Bank of the UAE; insurance companies and related agencies from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce; manufacturing from the Ministry of Finance and Industry; and pharmaceutical and medical products from the Ministry of Health.

More detailed procedures apply to businesses engaged in oil or gas production and related industries. Practicing some trade activities (e.g. jewellery and insurance) requires the submission of a financial guarantee issued by a bank operating in Dubai.

Beta Consultants specialize in UAE business setup and hence allow our clients to exploit the large surrounding markets including the MENA region, South Asia and China which are among of the fastest growing markets in the world. Where applicable we also assist in identifying suitable local partners to facilitate the formation of the companies.

Beta Consultants also offer their professional services and expertise in the formation of companies in all the free zones of UAE including the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), Hamariyah Free Zone Authority, Ajman Free Zone Authority, Ras Al Khaimah & Fujairah Free Zone Authorities.

Beta Consultants also help incorporate offshore companies in the UAE. The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority and the Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone Authority have introduced regulations for the establishment of Offshore Companies in line with other international offshore jurisdictions and their regulations are framed in a manner so as to deliver the convenience and efficiency of the global offshore locations while maintaining a high repute with international financial authorities.