To start a business in the UAE as a non-resident, you need to be aware of the rules regarding business names and the regulations for licence applications. However, the process is very simple, and you may well be surprised at the lack of restrictions on your business activities as a non-national.
This article gives the latest advice for any non-resident looking to set up their business in the UAE, covering these areas:
In brief, the answer is yes. Most non-residents can launch a UAE business, and you can run your business from anywhere in the world. However, there are three possible limitations on these activities – your nationality, your tax residence status and the nature of your business venture.
Your country of tax residency will impact your status as a business owner in the UAE. The country’s 0% tax rate is available to non-residents’ corporate income, but whether or not you can benefit from 0% on your personal income will depend on your tax status.
These are all areas that UAE Free Trade Zone can advise you on.
As long as your nationality and tax status do not preclude you from starting a business in the UAE, you won't need a local partner to start a business here, especially when you take a free zone licence from UAQFTZ.
There are two basic types of business licence you can apply for as a non-national in the UAE: mainland and free zone. The broad nature of these licences is self-explanatory – the mainland option enables you to open a business in the UAE mainland, and the free zone licence gives you a choice of the region’s many thriving free trade zones.
The latter option is often the most cost-effective way for non-residents to launch a business in the UAE. Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone, for example, offers low-cost setup matched with low-cost living, fantastic infrastructure, 0% tax and many other benefits. Whatever your business plans and ambitions, and whichever country you are from, your plans will be accommodated and boosted in a free trade zone.
There are various licence types available, including Commercial, Consultancy, Industrial, and Freelancer. The list of business activities allowed in UAQ Free Trade Zone exceeds 1,500, and several activities can be grouped in one licence. UAQFTZ can advise you on the most suitable way forward for your licence application.
The licence application process involves the following five simple steps.
Step 1: Choose three proposed business names for approval, listed in order of preference. This is in case your first choice has already been used by another company or is unsuitable for other reasons.
Step 2: Decide on your intended activity and licence type, and submit all the documents required for the application.
Step 3: Sign the incorporation documents and submit the originals to the FTZA.
Step 4: Send the required payment.
Step 5: Wait for the trade licence to be issued – the process can take as little as one day.
The cost of starting a business in the UAE will probably take you by surprise – but in a good way. UAQFTZ offers packages at such low rates that you will be able to use more of your initial capital to invest in other aspects of your business, such as marketing and staffing.
Licence packages start at AED 8,000 for a no-visa-required package, with the possibility of taking out an AED 786 monthly instalment plan. Contact UAQFTZ for a personalised quote based on your specific requirements. The process is swift, and your company could be incorporated within 24 hours.
To apply for your business licence, you will need to submit the following;
UAQFTZ may be a relatively small free trade zone, but it combines many of the considerable benefits of running a business in the UAE. The many upsides of establishing your company here include the following: