What to know before starting an Onshore Business in United Arab Emirates

Onshore company registration is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways for foreign investors to conduct trade or set up a business in Dubai or other areas of the United Arab Emirates. Forming an onshore company can be highly beneficial to business owners, allowing them to operate within the profitable UAE market and benefit from zero percent corporate tax rates. At Charterhouse Lombard, we assist investors with onshore company registration in the United Arab Emirates.

Aerial photo of city under the blue sky

Advantage of Onshore Business versus Free Zone & Offshore in UAE

Investors have the ability to open three types of firms in Dubai: 1.) Onshore firms used to work within the UAE local market, 2.) Free zone firms, usually employed by foreign investors operating in free zones in Dubai, 3.) Offshore companies that allow full foreign ownership and are working in Dubai as asset companies, property companies, or holding companies.

International investors may also opt to register a company in the Dubai onshore free trade zone, which is one of the most popular types of companies registered in Dubai due to the tax benefits it provides.

What is Onshore Company Registration?

Registration of an onshore business is required by a foreign investor who wishes to do any of the following in the UAE:

  • Performing trade or delivering local services
  • Renting an office or other commercial space
  • Obtain a resident visa when locally doing business 

These systems, which Charterhouse Lombard can clarify and direct you around, have their own registration requirements.

  • Dubai LLCs: their location is not limited and can work anywhere in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Branch Office: these are offshoots of a parent corporation outside the UAE that is incorporated.

Who Can Obtain Registration For Onshore Business?

Foreign investors are welcome to register an onshore company in the UAE, provided that at every step of the process they follow the local guidelines. Charterhouse Lombard is here to guide you through the various phases of your onshore company registration. Our comprehensive first-hand knowledge ensures that we know at any point of the process what will be needed. You will need to adhere to UAE law on issues such as the name and structure of your onshore company to register an onshore company. In order to operate, the business would also need to acquire the necessary licenses. For onshore companies in the UAE, there are three types of licenses that can apply:

  • Trade license – Required for all UAE trade activities. If your company is shipping or storing goods, you will need a commercial license.
  • Industrial license – required for any organization wishing to invest in natural resources or in the production of raw materials. This license refers to the manufacture, processing and sale of finished goods.
  • Professional license – required for services such as advisory, financial, medical or educational services.

Registration Requirements & Steps

Together with NAM Associates, we will help you open your business as easy as possible. But first, you need to know about these information. Opening of an onshore business in Dubai is protected by the Company Law Regulation and requires the preparation of many documents and their submission to the Dubai Trade Register. A local or foreign investor must prepare the Articles of Association and appoint a local agent to complete the registration process with the Registrar of Companies for the purpose of incorporating an onshore company.

  • Find a place that serves as the onshore company’s legal address (a virtual office is a good starting option)
  • Drafting and notarizing the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Establishing a bank account in which the share capital is deposited
  • File the statutory documents along with the shareholders’ and company directors’ personal information
  • Register for taxes and apply for a VAT number in compliance with the new legislation concerning VAT
  • In conjunction with the activities to be performed, apply for one of the licenses mentioned above

Which licenses are required for Mainland or Onshore Businesses in UAE

There are three types of licenses, no matter the form of onshore business to be incorporated in Dubai: 1.) The trade license, 2.) The manufacturing or industrial license, 3.) The professional license. A trade license from Dubai is given for trading activities in the UAE market. Manufacturing or industrial licenses are issued for onshore companies involved in manufacturing investment activities and technical licenses are issued for onshore companies, such as accounting, education, and medical services.

Ready for your Next Step?

Planning to Open a Business? Looking for Accounting Services? or have a general inquiry about your business goals?
NAM Associates is ready to guide you thru any of your goals. Contact us today for more information.

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