Your 6 step guide to a streamlined UAE company setup process

If you are looking to set up a business in the UAE, then the chances are you’re attracted by the lifestyle, the tax breaks and the world-class infrastructure.

However, setting up a company by yourself can be complex and extremely stressful. Which is why thousands of UAE entrepreneurs use a company setup specialist every year.

So here’s everything you need to know to get your UAE business set up and running smoothly.

1. Understanding the complexity of company setup in the UAE.

There are many benefits of setting up a business in the UAE. But the process can seem complex and cause stress if you opt to handle it all yourself.

There are many benefits of setting up a business in the UAE. But the process can seem complex and cause stress if you opt to handle it all yourself.

Choosing a streamlined company setup package lets you simplify the otherwise complex legal process. To say that you can’t set up your UAE company on your own isn’t true. However, for the vast majority of entrepreneurs, it makes sense to work with a professional.

It means speed, ease and zero stress – ideal if you’re looking to take advantage of the improving economy. Dubai is a prime example, with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicting a 3.5% economic growth in 2019, compared to 2.8% in 2018 and 1.9% in 2017.

2. Define your business activity

One problem of going solo on company setup in the UAE is the task of defining your business activity. This may sound like a simple process but some free zones require very specific activity selection. So expert guidance helps ensure your selection of business activity ticks all the boxes.

Consultant giving guidance

Using a business setup specialist will automatically smooth this process, enabling your business to be categorised correctly in your chosen zone.

Defining your infrastructure needs will also ensure you select the best location in terms of technology, networking, and office space. With Dubai’s economy facing exciting developments as we head towards 2020 and beyond, selecting the right base for your business is crucial.

Leveraging the experience and expertise of a business setup specialist in this area will greatly assist in the decision-making process.

3. Pick your company name

Google was originally going to be called BackRub. The fateful decision to scrap it and go for the mathematics-related term ‘Google’ now looks like a very shrewd bit of business.

Google was originally going to be called BackRub. The fateful decision to scrap it and go for the mathematics-related term ‘Google’ now looks like a very shrewd bit of business.

So it’s vital to think long and hard about your company name.

While it’s a decision that you’re likely to want to control yourself, working with a company setup specialist gives you expert and impartial advice on your brand name.

Skilled business advisors will also be able to raise any concerns regarding any legal and ethical issues surrounding your startup’s name as the UAE does have certain restrictions in place.

4. Choose your setup

Making the right choice of free zone or mainland setup in the UAE is a key decision – and one that setup advisors can help you get right.

While it’s advisable to discuss your options with professionals, the majority of businesses across Dubai and the wider UAE are suited to free zone company setup.

While it’s advisable to discuss your options with professionals, the majority of businesses across Dubai and the wider UAE are suited to free zone company setup.

The bright future of free zones has recently been reaffirmed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Free Zones Council: ‘Dubai’s economy relies on the efforts of free zones to diversify the economy and explore the non-oil future.’

I agree with the consensus that free zones will continue to grow as key global innovation hubs over the next decade. We can see this developing with the likes of Cisco, SAP, and Oracle having already created free zone innovation hubs.

Some key free zone benefits:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Exemption from corporate & personal income taxes
  • Market of five billion people across three continents
  • World-class infrastructure and operational support
  • Talented workforce availability

When choosing a free zone setup service, make sure it offers you a full range of logistical options.

Some services only give you a small number of choices and may have vested interests in selling them. A high-quality service is likely to offer you at least ten choices across Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, and Umm Al-Quwain.

Sharjah landscape

In the UAE, setup packages vary in price, but be aware that cheaper options won’t offer you such flexibility and impartiality. In the end, selecting the right location for your business will influence success.

5. Fill out the application forms

Once you have chosen a business name, decided on either free zone or mainland, and selected your setup package, you can then start the automated application process.

Using a high-quality setup specialist will make your application as easy as possible, thanks to clear online forms with simple instructions to guide you. Once completed, you simply click submit and wait for it to be processed.

Going with a complete business setup package ensures you don’t miss out any essential information, helping you create your business as fast as possible – usually in a matter of weeks.

6. Apply for your visas and bank accounts

Applying for employee visas and corporate bank accounts in the UAE is when things can get very complicated. This is true if you’re from the UK, Europe, or the US – and especially so for nationals from countries such as Syria, Egypt, and potentially (sanctions pending) Iran.

The UAE actually ranks 21 out of 190 countries for ‘ease of doing business’ according to the World Bank Doing Business Report. But opening a bank account isn’t normally so straight-forward.

UAE banks have become very diligent in analysing clients in the wake of the global economic crisis. This is why a fully-accredited company setup specialist is important to ensure smooth visa and bank account processing.

By using established contacts across the UAE, you can expect to save time and money.

So if you’re looking to create a company in the UAE, then opting for a world-class setup package is the easiest way to enjoy seamless registration. You’ll be supported through every step, removing legal complexity and smoothly processing everything you need in order to launch.

Worldwide Formations helps entrepreneurs in the UAE with all their company setup needs. For more information, call us now on 800 FREE ZONE (800 3733 9663). 

 

About the author: Rajesh Ambikan, Director of Worldwide Formations.

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