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How to start business in the UAE

You can establish a company in a promising and actively developing country with high standard of living and a preferential tax regime.

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You can do business in the UAE thanks to the convenient tax system, state protection of foreign investors, transparent legislation, well-developed infrastructure, and active business environment. When you are entering the local market, it is important to take into account the nuances and peculiarities of the UAE. SORP Group can help you develop your business in the right direction from the moment you begin.

Features of business establishment in the UAE

Legal type The type of businessdetermines the geography of the company’s activity and the equity portion of foreign investors.
Place of incorporation The place of company incorporation determines the geography of a company’s activity and the types of allowed activities, which you can add to the license
Banking service The Principal Place determines the possible banking services available in the future.
Free Economic Zones There are 45 Free Economic Zones with different regulations in the UAE. There are 45 Free Economic Zones with different regulations in the UAE.
Regulations and requirements in FEZ Each FEZ has its own regulations and reporting requirements for companies
Local agent or sponsor Local companies should have a local agent or sponsor to obtain a license
Additional permits You have to obtain additional permits with regulatory authorities to sell some categories of goods.
Learn more about the prospects and procedures for operating a business in the UAE
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How to start business in the UAE?

  • Trade business in the local area
  • Service business in the local area
  • Production
  • International trade
  • International service and financial activities
  • International service and financial activities

It is important!

The place of company incorporation plays an important role in the UAE market because it determines your business capabilities. Companies from the FEZ can conduct trade exclusively through distributors or their own retail store located in the FEZ territory. Only local companies can enter into direct trade agreements, and retail chains can participate in local tenders. You need a local sponsor to open a local company. This local sponsor will be a silent partner in the company.

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Choosing a working business model It is important to adapt the business model to the realities of the local market. Sometimes you need to change the format of your business to work effectively. For example, you may want to create an online business or you may want to work with large retail chains. When you are choosing a commercial activity, you must take into account the permeability of the area and target audience. It is important to build logistics correctly and take into account customs regulations and duties; otherwise, you can make strategic mistakes. If you don’t understand the particularities of the country, you can use the help of experts to enter the UAE market successfully.
2
Choosing geography of activities You can trade in local areas only through an agent or distributor if your place of incorporation is located in the FEZ. The FEZ is convenient for re-export because you do not need to pay import duties . A local company has the following advantages: you have no territorial restrictions, you can participate in local trade, and you can lease any commercial space.
3
Choosing legal form and type of activity The legal type of business and the kind of activity determines company opportunities and the services you can provide.
4
Obtaining a license approvals You need additional approvals from legal bodies for some types of licenses. Professional activities may require specialized personnel with particular diplomas and additional confirmation of competencies (certifications and courses). You must assign a local sponsor/agent and rent an office to obtain a license.
5
Entering the market and first steps You need to choose a service company. This company will take over administrative services, it will select qualified personnel and get visas for them, it will develop document templates, it will help to open bank accounts and registerin the tax service, and it will organize general and tax accounting.
6
Obtaining permits to import goods Some types of goods require mandatory certification for trade in the UAE and the Gulf countries. A company has to do customs registration and receive an importer code to receive goods.

It is important!

The service professional business has privileges in local areas. You can appoint a local agent who does not own a share of company and can represent your interests in the government bodies of the UAE. Local company has no geography restrictions. It can apply for contracts with large state and private entities. The geography of the company incorporated in FEZ is limited to the international market and territory of this FEZ.

1
Choosing a working business model It is important to adapt the business model to the realities of the local market. Sometimes you need to change the format to work effectively: you can create online business or organize a service with home visits. When you are choosing a commercial area, you should take into account permeability of the area, target audience and ways to promote services. If you don’t understand particularities of the country, you should contact experts to enter the UAE market successfully.
2
Choosing geography of activities It is advantageous to establish online business in the FEZ, you can focus on consumers in the Free Economic Zone. Your company can work only on the territory of its Free Economic Zone and international market. There are no geography restrictions for a company established at the local market, such company could apply for contracts with large state and private entities.
3
Choosing legal form and type of activity The company's capabilities and list of providing services depend on the legal form and type of activity.
4
Obtaining additional permits and licenses You should obtain additional permits from state bodies for some licenses. You may need specialized personnel with a legalized diploma and additional confirmation of competencies (certification, courses) for providing professional activities. You should assign a local sponsor/agent and rent an office to obtain a license.
5
Entering the market and first steps You need to choose a service company that can take over administrative services, select qualified personnel and get visas for it, develop document templates, help to open bank accounts and register in the tax service, organize accounting and tax accounting.

It is important!

The production business in the UAE has strong government support. Products manufactured in the UAE have zero customs duties for exporting. You should not pay customs fees for the raw materials importing and you have the right of preferential purchase foreign goods by the state, if these goods meet a high quality standard.

1
Preliminary analysis and choosing the place of incorporation It is important to choose the area for production: ready unit or you need to build it. What electrical power is required and how to dispose the waste. These factors determine the territory for location of production or renting a finished unit.
2
Obtaining preliminary permission to establish production Our experts can collect all necessary documents at this stage. They can create a project description and receive preliminary permission to establish production.
3
Obtaining additional permissions You should obtain permissions of the Municipality, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Economics for local companies. You should obtain a certificate (Environment, HealthandSafety) for companies in the FEZ. You need additional documents from state bodies for some types of licenses. For example, you need a permission from the Ministry of Health for medicines production. If you want to build a plant, you need a building permit.
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Obtaining license The competent authority issues a production license when you obtained all required permits.
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Entering the market and first steps You need to choose a service company that can take over administrative services, select qualified personnel and get visas for it, develop document templates, help to open bank accounts and register in the tax service, organize accounting and tax accounting.

It is important!

There are zero customs and tax fees for re-exporting goods in the UAE. International business is exempt from taxes. Despite this, the company can receive a tax number for work with counterparties.

1
Preliminary analysis You should analyze all details of legislation with a help of experts. You should be sure that your business would satisfy its ultimate goal - obtaining tax benefits or the benefits of trade agreements between the UAE and other countries.
2
Choosing the geography of activities The place of company incorporation determines servicing in foreign banks and obtaining trade finance, availability of necessary warehouses and logistics convenience.
3
Choosing legal form and type of activity Legal form and type of activity determine the opportunities of your company a list of goods, which you can sell.
4
Obtaining additional permits and licenses You should obtain additional permits from state bodies for some licenses. You should assign a local sponsor/agent and rent an office to obtain a license.
5
Entering the market and first steps ПYou need to choose a service company that can take over administrative services, select qualified personnel and get visas for it, develop document templates, help to open bank accounts and register in the tax service, organize accounting and tax accounting.

It is important!

The UAE has a simple scheme for obtaining complex service licenses for international activities. These activities includes financial, telecommunications, insurance, educational, travel, logistics, transportation and engineering services.

1
Preliminary analysis You should analyze all details of legislation with a help of experts. You should be sure that your business would satisfy its ultimate goal - obtaining tax benefits or obtaining the complex licenses to enter new markets.
2
Choosing geography of activities The place of company incorporation determines how simple are registration procedures, servicing in foreign banks, license requirements and a set of activities.
3
Choosing legal form and type of activity Legal form and type of activity determine the opportunities of your company a list of services, which you can provide.
4
Obtaining additional permits and licenses You should obtain additional permits from state bodies for some licenses. You should assign a local sponsor/agent and rent an office to obtain a license.
5
Entering the market and first steps You need to choose a service company that can take over administrative services, select qualified personnel and get visas for it, develop document templates, help to open bank accounts and register in the tax service, organize accounting and tax accounting.

It is important!

The UAE is a unique jurisdiction, there are legal tools to minimize taxation and reorganize a business under de-offshoring conditions. A company from the UAE receives a protection guarantee of shareholders personal data, you can own a business anonymously and organize a control center in the country. Beneficiaries can apply for tax residency.

Numerous agreements on avoidance of double taxation and protection of mutual investments provide a strong tax advantage for withdrawal of dividends, interest and royalties.

1
Preliminary analysis When you establish a holding, it is important to analyze all subtleties of legislation of all involved jurisdictions: conditions of agreements on avoidance of double taxation, existence of agreements on the mutual investments protection, features of beneficiary taxation in the country.
2
Creating efficient operating model You should develop optimal structure for management and financing of subsidiaries, analyze opportunities for reducing tax rates for your group activities, develop a scheme for migration of capital inside your group of companies.
3
Choose legal form and type of activity Legal form and type of activity determine schemes for capital withdrawal and financing of controlled entities.
4
Protection of the final beneficiary You should analyze the current tax status of the beneficiary, this analyze should include the existence of a law on controlled foreign companies in the country of beneficiary residence. If you change tax residency, we distribute the shares of the company ownership, we provide measures to conceal the beneficiary and to confirm the center of his vital interests in the UAE.
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Ensuring the legitimacy of used scheme You should provide confirmation that your company has real or virtual office and technical director to confirm business management and control center.
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Starting work and first steps You need to choose a service company that can take over administrative services, select qualified personnel and get visas for it, develop document templates, help to open bank accounts and register in the tax service, organize accounting and tax accounting.
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SORP Group provides services to start business Advantages and assets of SORP Group
  • Market analysis and business ideas to help you adapt your business to the realities of the UAE
  • Company incorporation in the local market or in a Free Economic Zone
  • Assistance in choosing the legal type of a company
  • Choosing a type of license and assistance to obtain a license
  • Assistance to open bank accounts
  • Assistance to obtain tax residency
  • Obtains additional certificates and permits for providing services
  • Recruitment, training and retraining of personnel
  • Tax minimization
  • Legal, consulting and accounting services
  • We have 15 years experiencestarting foreign businesses in the UAE, and we have worked out many solutions to successfully enter the market.t
  • We have 5000 sq. m of office space ready for work
  • We own a business university certified by the Ministry of Education
  • We have experts in local and international financial and tax legislation and business practices.
  • We have trained technical staff with specialized management education
  • We have state license for tax and accounting services
  • We have established relationships in banking, tax, and government structures.
  • We have partnerships with leading





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Why SORP?

SORP Group will be your reliable partner for the long-term.
When you connect to the SORP platform, you can receive the comprehensive support of our experts who will help you select the ideal project to meet your investment goals.
Individual approach We assist you to select a profitable solution individually for your needs and budget.
15 years of successful experience We helped thousands of customers to build and develop a business in the UAE.
Complex services SORP Group offers comprehensive solutions for businesses and shareholders: from establishing companies to obtaining tax resident status in the country.
Security and anonymity Application for company registration in the UAERegister in our system and our specialist will contact you within 20 minutes to provide a free, expert consultation.
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