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Setting Up Your Company in Dubai- What You Need to Know

Dubai is one of the hottest markets in the Middle East. Dubai is a hub for economics and commerce, and some of the world’s largest companies have their headquarters in this emirate. However, the corporate laws in Dubai are very different from the rest of the world. It’s not easy to start your own company in Dubai unless you have strong knowledge about the local company laws.

Companies in Dubai

Companies in Dubai are generally divided into three different categories based on their target markets, their ownership structure, as well as the location of the company. Here are the three major categories by which companies are divided:

DED/ Mainland Companies

Commonly known as LLC companies, you must sign a partnership contract with a UAE national (a UAE national will have control over the company, which means they will own at least 51% of the company). Mainland companies have freedom to operate in all of the mainland areas of the United Arab Emirates, as well as any UAE Free Zones. These types of corporate entities have the maximum amount of freedom to operate in the UAE. They also allow you to operate your business with a lot of leniency, allowing for personalized business plans and unique advertising campaigns. However, you will always be the minority shareholder in the company, so you will have to come to terms with that.

UAE Freezone Companies

UAE Freezone companies do not need to have a UAE national as a majority shareholder. These companies can feature 100% foreign ownership, making them a very attractive option for foreign investors. A freezone company in Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai, or any of the other emirates, has the freedom to operate in international markets, as well as mainland UAE. However, they can only trade within the UAE free zones.

Companies in Dubai1

Offshore Companies

If most of your business is situated outside of Dubai, it might be a wise move to opt for an offshore company setup in Dubai. These companies can be fully owned by a foreign entity, but they don’t have permission to set up a physical office location in Dubai. However, these companies can be run from anywhere in the world, making it a pretty attractive option for foreign investors.


Once you have decided the type of company you want to set up, the next step is to acquire a license and working permits to start operations in Dubai. Rather than going the whole nine yards on your own, it’s recommended that you seek help from a private administration firm. The company will help you acquire the relevant licenses that you need in order to set up your company, as well as offer you advice on the legal form of your company. Once all of the legal documentation has been completed, the next step is to assign a business location and submit documents pertaining to the registered office of the company. After this, the company will help you incorporate the licenses and open capital accounts through which you can start trading.


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