5 Questions to ask Before Setting up Business in the UAE

Author: 
Emma Kirkman, British Centres for Business

The UAE is often referred to as a regional hub with options for companies of all types and sizes with favourable ownership and tax structures. However, setting up here is not as simple as it is in the UK.

The BCB can assist with research into your set up options, but we suggest 5 key questions to ask when you are considering setting up in the UAE.

What will your company do?
Company type and licence options available depend on the activity that your business will be conducting. There are many different options available depending on whether you are a services, manufacturing, or distribution company.

Where do you want to be?
With 7 different emirates and more than 40 Free Zones to choose from, your location options are not just limited to Dubai or Abu Dhabi! Location could be key in connecting you to suppliers and clients in the most effective manner.

Onshore or off shore?
Free Zones are well publicised in the UAE but they are not suitable for every business. You may be better setting up onshore so that you can do business with other onshore entities, including government departments and semi-government companies.

How many people will you employ?
To set up a company in the UAE you must have a registered commercial address. Many Free Zones limit the number of employment visas a company can issue depending on the amount of square footage a company rents. On shore in Dubai, this can be a little more flexible, but office size and employee count are linked.

When do you want to start operating in the UAE?
When setting up a company in the UAE, documentation requirements may hinder the process. In addition to UAE commercial documents, agreements and leases, additional paperwork may be requested from the UK branch of your company; securing a business licence can be a lengthy process. It is worth bearing this in mind if you are in discussions with a potential client and time is a factor.

If you have any questions or need clarifications, please ask.

Emma Kirkman, British Centres for Business

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