Dubai has a wide and flexible range of business structures for foreign investors, making a new venture or expansion easier than ever thanks to less administration, lower costs and a speedier service.
A Sole Proprietorship is a business owned by one person, which can carry out commercial, professional, and industrial activities.
Sole Proprietorships Business Types
A professional business sole proprietorship covers a range of professions from owning a seafood restaurant to a bespoke tailoring service. In those cases, the owner does not have to be an expert in that particular business field, but as the sole owner of a consultancy, for example legal counsel, building contracting or home tutoring, the sole proprietor must specialise in that business.
Most professional-type sole proprietorships providing personally offered services or the services of a recognised profession such as medicine or engineering require a Local Service Agent (LSA) if they are owned by a National of a country other than the UAE or GCC countries. The local service agent is a UAE National who manages licensing requirements and other government-related matters for your business, in exchange for an annual fee. The LSA has no responsibility for your business and no financial commitment to the business or its activities in Dubai or elsewhere. A sample Local Service Agent Agreement is available, explaining the relationship and the obligations of the owner and the LSA. This agreement must be authenticated by a Notary Public/Court within the UAE.
A civil company is a business partnership for professionals in recognised fields such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants.
The business's name should be the same as the approved trade name and should reflect its purpose or contain the names of one or more of its partners. The phrase "Limited Liability Company" must also be added to the business's name. A Limited Liability Company cannot be created to practice law, auditing, accountancy or any other type of consulting service.
A Private Joint-Stock Company or Private Shareholding Company is a partnership of at least three individuals. The partners must invest a minimum capital of AED 2,000,000 in the business.
A Private Joint-Stock Company can be created for any commercial or industrial type of business. Professional activities are not allowed under this legal form.
A Private Joint-Stock Company is subject to all rules and regulations that apply to Public Joint Stock Companies, except for the rules and regulations relating to public share subscription.
Formed of at least two partners, a Simple Limited Partnership involves at least one general partner and at least one limited partner.
To open a branch of a foreign company in Dubai, a manager must be appointed to represent the company; the manager must have an approved motion by the Board of Directors to open the branch.
The branch will be considered the company's headquarters in Dubai, and its business shall be subject to the provisions of the laws of Dubai and the UAE.
The requirements for registering a branch office in Dubai differ, depending on whether the parent company and the branch are involved in commercial and industrial activities or professional Activities.