Professional Companies / Sole Establishment

Are you an entrepreneur looking to carry out consultancy or service-related activities in Dubai? If so, you can establish a Professional Company (also referred to as a Civil Partnership) and obtain a Professional licence from the Dubai Economy (otherwise referred to as the DED).

A Professional Company can be formed by two or more individuals (‘partners’) pursuant to a Civil Partnership Agreement, which is signed before the UAE court notary public. The partners do not enjoy limited liability and are jointly liable for any debts or losses of the business unless otherwise agreed in the Civil Partnership Agreement.

A Civil Partnership must appoint an Emirati, or company wholly owned by Emiratis, as its Local Services Agent. The Local Services Agent is appointed pursuant to a notarized Agreement and provides local services, such as facilitating residency visas for employees and their families and assisting with the the renewal of the Professional licence each year in return for an annual services fee.

The partners maintain full ownership and control of the business, which must be managed by one of the partners. The Local Service Agent does not assume any financial or legal liability for the Civil Partnership. The DED often requests the partners to demonstrate that they possess the necessary skills or expertise to carry on the professional activity they wish to practice.

As the partners are individuals, the registration process is very straight-forward and can take 1 to 2 weeks provided a lease of suitable commercial premises has been entered into.

Sole Establishment

A Sole Establishment can only be formed by an individual and may carry on both professional and commercial-related activities. It does not have limited liability so the owner is personally liable for any debts or losses of the business

A Sole Establishment must appoint an Emirati, or company wholly owned by Emiratis, as its Local Services Agent. The Local Services Agent is appointed pursuant to a notarized Agreement and provides local services, such as facilitating residency visas for employees and their families and assisting with the the renewal of the business licence each year in return for an annual services fee.

As the owner is an individual, the registration process is almost instantaneous, provided a lease of suitable commercial premises has been entered into.