How to get a construction
business license in the UAE

Open your construction business in the United Arab Emirates and you are guaranteed to
be investing in the best performing profitable sector in a leading Middle East country.

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SORP.AE

Driven by ongoing economic diversification, the lucrative UAE construction sector will need foreign construction companies for the foreseeable future. Licenses are state-controlled and the regulatory framework is fair but strict. As industry experts, SORP Group provides a head start for gaining entry to this market, providing efficient and reliable solutions to fast-track the legal procedures involved.

Major construction licenses available for business in the UAE and abroad

Construction of all types of buildings and facilities
Construction of residential buildings, villas, malls, production areas and warehouse premises and other types of buildings under a general license
Full range of construction works abroad
Making it possible to do tax-free business abroad, with the entire range of construction services, building operation and contract works being permitted
Maintenance of facilities on a turnkey basis
Supply of construction materials, furniture, equipment and decorative elements to already erected facilities, and facilities which are under construction
Foundation
and concrete
works
Wall and foundation construction, concrete casting of industrial and warehouse floors, reinforcement of cracks with concrete
Construction
of special purpose
facilities
Construction of electric power substations, sewage disposal plants, pipelines, also on seaport and airport sites
Construction
of metal
structures
Installation of frame structures, exhibition stands and / or pavilions, hangars, as well as steel and metal structures
Facade and finishing
works
Internal or external wall covering of commercial, industrial and residential premises with any materials
Landscape
gardening
Development, improvement and organization of parks and gardens, arrangement of villa and cottage grounds
Duct and air
ventilation systems
Installation, maintenance and connection of ventilation systems to buildings and equipment

UAE regulations offer a wide range of highly specialized construction licenses that do not fit into any regular categories. They have varying licensing requirements and procedures, depending on the field of activity. These licenses are in high demand. Developers of large-scale projects strive to attract highly specialized and licensed construction companies for subcontracting.

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SORP solutions for licensing and support of construction businesses in the UAE

Business
modeling

We will choose the right type of company and most suitable place of incorporation for the best fit

Company
incorporation

Fast processing through the legal proceures based on of our trusted status with DM and DED

Local partner
or agent

Nominee service from SORP Investment LLC with a waiver of rights in the Dubai court

Prestigious
office address

SORP Business Centre provides our clients with the opportunity to rent an office under Ejari / Estidama license, rent flexi-desks or E-office

Opening a
bank account

Cooperation with UAE banks, understanding of compliance procedures and assistance in passing KYC and interviews

PRO - business
support

Representation of interests at the Ministry of Labor and other state authorities for visas and licenses with support always available 24/7

What’s involved in getting a UAE construction license

Construction companies are controlled by the state. Before starting incorporation, it is important to understand the unique aspects of licensing and obtaining approvals from the relevant UAE authorities: Municipalities, Construction Departments, Economic Departments of the Emirate or Free Economic Zone regulators.

Jurisdiction of incorporation

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The first step to creating a construction company in the UAE, which determines the territory of doing business and the requirements.
The only way to obtain a construction license for implementing construction and installation works in the UAE is to register a local company. To conduct business outside the UAE, you can use a special license, which is offered by some FTZ as an exception to the general rules.

Local partner

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Obtaining construction licenses and incorporating a local company requires the involvement of a local partner who, under UAE legislation, owns at least 51% of the company's shares (the remaining 49% can be owned by a foreign investor). The local partner can be a nominee whose powers are limited and who has no influence on your business operations. In some cases, the local partner must meet requirements for education and experience as demanded by the regulatory authorities.

Control by the State

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All aspects of construction activities are controlled by the UAE Building Department. Obtaining individual licenses requires additional approvals from the Department of road industry, the Department of Civil Protection, and other agencies depending on the field of activity. To obtain some licenses for construction works in the UAE, you need to provide technical personnel and pass a number of procedures for accreditation of experts.

License categories

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Licenses for the construction of buildings and facilities are divided into categories that determine the maximum permissible height of structures that can be built. For example:
G+1 (Ground Floor + 1 Floor) – construction of structures up to 2 floors high
G+4 (Ground Floor + 4 Floors) – construction of structures up to 5 floors high
G+12 (Ground Floor + 12 Floors) – construction of structures up to 13 floors high
UL (unlimited) – there are no restrictions on the height of structures that can be built

Requirements for obtaining a specific license category

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The higher the license category, the more difficult it is to obtain due to conditions imposed by the government agencies. During the registration process, the requirements for personnel that must be present in the company's workforce are set out. That includes engineering and technical experts accredited in the UAE, construction workers and administrative personnel.
It is also necessary to confirm that the company has special construction equipment and cargo transport, that it rents an office of a certain size, proves the availability of fixed assets, and provides a bank guarantee.

Obtaining a high-category construction license

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UAE legislation restricts the issue of high-category licenses to new construction companies. The process of upgrading the license category takes place on a phased basis over the course of operating the business. It takes completed projects into account and additional Building Department approvals need to be secured. To help expedite this process, the experts of SORP Group offer ready-made solutions for the purchase of a suitably-licensed existing construction company with subsequent accelerated promotion to a higher category.

When operating an international construction business, it is essential to consider the key aspects involved in meeting the legal requirements for confirming Economic Presence (ESR) in the UAE through having a Management and Control Center (Decision Making Center) located in Dubai. International tax planning will reduce and optimize deductions. Obtaining Tax Resident status is required to protect against the exchange of tax information in accordance with CRS standards and to maintain the confidentiality of beneficiary data. SORP Group experts have developed comprehensive solutions for your construction business abroad.

Comprehensive SORP support services for doing business in the UAE

Construction activities in the UAE are regulated by the state and municipalities. Therefore, to choose the best model for organizing a construction business in the UAE, we have developed solutions that prevent you from making mistakes.

Individual business
model
We integrate ideal development strategies for you based on the competition and the law. Then we choose the right operating license for doing local or global business.
Business
consultancy

We will ensure that all stages of starting a business are completed. We will build relationships with government agencies that regulate all activities
Business
process outsourcing
It makes sense to use SORP’s professional help in administrative, recruiting, accounting PRO and tax competencies, saving the cost of employing highly paid personnel.
Obtaining tax
residency status

Enjoy tax resident (domicile) status shielding you from CRS requirements for sharing your tax details and preventing double taxation.
International
Tax Planning

We design optimized tax solutions for international business within the full scope of UAE legislation, drawing on our wide experience and successful cases in this field.
Confirmation of
economic substance
We help fulfil proof of economic substance based on the registered location of your company, with its localized decision - making and management, tax compliance

SORP Group will become your reliable long-term partner in supporting your UAE business

Complex of all services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing, maintaining Bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual approach

Your requirements are unique. That is why we treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities.

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Banking support

Assistance in choosing a bank that is suitable for your purposes, support with bank accounts opening and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).

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