UAE Mainland

Business setup in UAE MAINLAND

Setting up business in UAE Mainland gives the Investor freedom and flexibility to extend their business branches to other parts of Dubai and across the UAE. In UAE, all business entities that come under commercial, professional, and sole establishment are registered under the Department of Economic Development (DED).

100% foreign ownership

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented a legislative change that permits 100% foreign ownership of certain onshore companies.

The change follows the publication of amendments to the UAE Commercial Companies Law on 30 September 2020, which removed the requirement for a UAE national to own at least 51% of the shares in the capital of a UAE company, subject to some restrictions. The amendments also removed the requirement for branches of foreign companies in the UAE to appoint a UAE national agent, for most activities.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in certain Emirates have now started issuing their lists of approved activities and requirements for foreign shareholders. The Abu Dhabi DED has issued a list of 1,105 activities, with 1,000 activities listed by the Dubai DED. Both lists are heavily focused on commercial and industrial activities.

The Ajman DED has confirmed that it has approved over 1,000 activities for 100% foreign ownership, and the Sharjah DED said it would implement its full foreign ownership policy in June 2021, which will also include mainly commercial and industrial activities.

The changes to foreign ownership rules are applicable equally to both new and existing companies, as long as they are carrying out activities which fall under the relevant ‘positive lists’.

Some sectors and activities are specifically excluded from 100% foreign ownership, including commercial agencies; ‘strategic activities’, including the military, banking, insurance and re-insurance, and telecommunication sectors; and professional activities such as consultancies. In addition, branches of UAE freezone companies are still required to appoint a UAE national agent.

In terms of a company’s incorporation, wholly foreign-owned companies will not be subject to higher fees or have greater guarantee or share capital requirements than would be the case for a UAE-owned or part-owned company. The law also grants flexible discretion to the relevant DED in each Emirate, and each DED will be able to grant exceptions in relation to the formation of companies carrying out projects that the local authority considers significant and which would support investment and value to the UAE market.

We at GCBA help you save time and cost in obtaining mainland license in UAE, is in accordance with the DED requirement of the concerned Emirate.

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