Business in the UAE

There are various ways of accessing the exciting opportunities presented by the UAE.   A presence on the ground can assist significantly in positioning your business in the market, and also gives you direct control over its operations and growth strategy. 

Whether the business is carried on by a local or expatriate individual, partnership or company, the correct licence and authorisations must be obtained from the licensing authority in the Emirate where you wish operate.   Some specialized activities, such as, construction or engineering, require additional consent from the regulatory body in that Emirate. 

The right corporate structure for your business will depend on several factors including the nature of your business, the location of your target customers and your longer term objectives.  Adopting the right corporate structure for your UAE business will be a crucial element of its success

The most common corporate structures adopted by foreign investors for their UAE businesses include:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch of a Foreign Company (Branch)
  • Civil Partnership
  • Sole Establishment

Notwithstanding the local participation requirements, many international businesses have established LLCs, and are enjoying the opportunities presented by the UAE and wider region by appointing a corporate nominee, such as CBD, to ensure that their business is structured in a way which secures control, and the right to profits for the foreign shareholder.

Business statistics (2015)

Commercial Licences issued in mainland Dubai
Direct Foreign Investment into Dubai vs other types of investment
Professional Licences issued in mainland Dubai
UAE GDP attributed to non oil-related activities


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