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UAE is a perfect destination for foreigners to establish a company. There are multiple choices for investors to settle down in UAE and start a business.

It is the right time to choose UAE to establish a business. The business-friendly laws, future growth plans, growing business infrastructure, improved lifestyle, low taxation, 100% foreign investment, etc., makes UAE the right choice.

Investors have a handful of options for successfully setting up their company in the UAE. The business jurisdictions – Mainland and Free Zones offer various business licenses and attractive business setup packages for the investors to choose from.

Various options to choose for starting a business in UAE

The investors are left with various options to choose for starting a business in UAE. There are business jurisdictions, numerous company formation packages, visa requirements, etc., to look at before finalizing the company package. Entrepreneurs can obtain a trading license in UAE and conduct specific business activities. They can also indulge in Import export business in case looking at an international market expansion.

Additionally, starting a company in UAE as a branch or subsidiary of their parent company is another option the entrepreneurs can look at in UAE. Depending on their business requirements, the investors can setup a company in UAE with the assistance of an expert Business Consultant such as AURION. It helps in avoiding any hassles in the incorporation as well as get a clarity of the business laws and regulations pertaining to the chosen business activity and for the functioning of the company.

Let us look at the various options to choose for starting a business in UAE for a foreign investor. The following options will enable the investors to setup a company, work and live in UAE. The entrepreneurs can obtain the company trade license, company documents, and residence visa for themselves and family under the company to stay, live and work in UAE for a longer period.

1. Get a Trading License in UAE

Getting a Trading License in UAE is the right way for global investors to set up their businesses in UAE.

Foreign Company Setup in UAE

A trading License enables investors to conduct trade operations in UAE and abroad by setting their base in UAE. The advanced business infrastructure and logistics support along with a large consumer market enable the trading companies to successfully operate in UAE and gain business profitability.

2. Start an Import Export Company in UAE

Foreign investors can start an import-export company in UAE and easily reach out to the Middle East, Asia, and European market. Establishing a company in UAE is a straightforward process.

Depending on the business activity there are additional clearances required from the authority. For starting an Import Export Company in UAE, the investor has to apply for customs registration and obtain the import-export code.

There is immense potential in trade and commerce operations in UAE. The Free Trade Zones have customs duty waived off for imports into the Free Zone.  Also, certain Free Zones in UAE have an in-house Customs Department for easy clearing of goods to and from the Free Zone.

To know more read: Import Export License in UAE.

3. Start a Branch or Subsidiary

For foreign investors having a company already in their home country can open a branch or subsidiary in the Free Zones or Mainland of UAE with minimal documentation and clearances required.

Branch Company Setup in UAE

The parent company documents must be attested from the UAE embassy where the parent company is registered. Also, the documents must be counter attested in UAE from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economy.

The investors can operate the branch company by being in Dubai and hiring employees for work. Get the Tax Residence Certificate from UAE and get the benefit of double taxation avoidance.

To know more read: Branch of a Foreign Company

4. Start a Free Zone Company

Free Zone is the most preferred business jurisdiction in the UAE for establishing a company. There are more than 45 Free Trade Zones in UAE offering various business licenses at cost-effective packages.

Free Zones companies are essentially onshore resident companies where the investors can have physical office spaces and employees under them on company visas. From shared offices to executive offices, and warehouse facilities, the Free Zones offer a lot of attractive business infrastructure to investors.

Investors can easily register their company with minimal documentation. There are more than 2000 business activities the free zone is offering to the investors. Based on specific requirements the investor can choose the Free Zones across UAE for starting their business.

5. Get a Mainland Business License

For entrepreneurs looking at large-scale business requirements such as manufacturing units, warehouse spaces, retail expansion, local market penetration, and more; the Mainland of UAE is a perfect choice.

For Commercial trading activity within the mainland, the most popular legal structure is the Limited Liability Company. Here the liability of a shareholder against any claims or damages is limited by the value of shares held in the company.

Registering a Limited Liability Company in the UAE Mainland enables the investors to obtain a trade license in UAE, take office space, and apply for a residence visa. expand their company into a new branch, and more. Professional Civil Work company is the legal structure for professionals to set up their company on the mainland.

In a nutshell, the mainland of UAE allows investors to easily expand their business. UAE Mainland companies achieve business growth quickly as it offers great flexibility in terms of conducting trade operations and expanding rapidly to new markets.

6. Apply for Long Term Residence Visa

Investors can apply for Golden Visa under various categories depending on their eligibility.

1. 5-Year Long Term Visa

For investors with more than AED 5 million investment in the business or start-up projects in UAE or any company shares based in UAE can apply for the 5-year long-term residence visa.

Long Term Residence Visa

Similarly, if the investor purchases property worth AED 5 million or above and meets the required criteria they can apply for Golden Visa for 5 years.

Read more to know about 5 Year Long Term Visa.

2. 10 -Year Golden Visa

Also, specialized talents, innovators, media professionals, creative minds, etc., can apply for the Golden Visa valid for 10 years. For investors to apply for the 10-Year Golden Visa, they might meet the criteria of a minimum investment of AED 10 Million in various business and property sectors in the UAE.

The total value must be in a proportion of property purchase (40% Investment) and other business capital or fund investment in UAE (60% Investment). Also, there is a set of requirements to be fulfilled by the investor to be eligible for the visa.

UAE is transforming itself into a business-first and family-friendly destination. It is triggering global investors to establish a business in UAE and settle down with the family.

To know more details, read about: Golden Visa in UAE

How Growing Business Infrastructure supports Investors in UAE?

Hence, in a nutshell, UAE is a perfect destination for foreign investors to set up a company. There are multiple options available for entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses in the country. There is a growing business infrastructure in UAE that supports the investor’s business growth and daily business operations.

The 100% foreign ownership, low taxation, easy company setup, wide range of business activities and company license types, robust banking network, etc., makes UAE the right choice for setting up a business. A company can be set up in UAE’s Top Free Zones for a cost of AED 11,800 for a zero visa quota making UAE a low-cost company formation destination for investors.

The investors can take an office space and take a residence visa under the company by upgrading for a fee based on the business requirements.

To know more about ‘How to start a company for foreign investors in the UAE?‘, talk to our expert Business Consultants right away!


A Marketing Consultant working @Aurion Business Consultants specialized in writing about Business Setup in UAE tips, License Packages, Free Zones, LLC Company Formation, Startups, etc in the UAE.


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