United Arab Emirates flag United Arab Emirates: Operating a Business in the United Arab Emirates

Starting a business in the United Arab Emirates

Legal Forms of Companies

Please note that on November 23rd, 2020 a presidential decree was passed which abolish the requirement for a local company to be owned 51% by UAE nationals. However, competent authorities in the respective Emirates can specify local ownership and board participation requirements for companies, so it may take longer before the decree actually comes into force.
Sole Proprietorship
Number of partners: One person. Can be 100% owned by non-residents.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: The individual entrepreneur is responsible for assets of the company over his personal goods.
Public Joint-Stock Company
Number of partners: Minimum ten members. Shares freely transferable, but 51% must be held by UAE nationals.
Capital (max/min): Minimum AED 10 million.
Shareholders and liability: The responsibility is limited to the contributed amount.
Private Joint-stock Company
Number of partners: Minimum three shareholders. Shares freely transferable, but 51% must be held by UAE nationals.
Capital (max/min): Minimum AED 2 million.
Shareholders and liability: The responsibility is limited to the contributed amount.
Limited Liability Company
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners. Maximum 50 partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum required.
Shareholders and liability: The responsibility is limited to the shares in the capital of the company.
General Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum two partners. All the partners have to be UAE nationals.
Capital (max/min): No minimum required.
Shareholders and liability: Unlimited joint liability.
Limited Partnership
Number of partners: At least, one general partner (only UAE nationals) and one limited partner.
Capital (max/min): AED 500,000.
Shareholders and liability: At least one partner must have unlimited liability. Responsibility of other partners is limited to the amount contributed.
The Competent Organisation
The UAE Chambers of Commerce and the competent ministry.
 
Setting Up a Company United Arab Emirates Middle East & North Africa
Procedures (number) 2.0 6.3
Time (days) 3.8 19.5

Source: Doing Business, 2016

 
Business Setup Procedures
Visit Doing Business, to find out about business registration procedures in the United Arab Emirates.
Companies listed in the Dubai Stock Exchange

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Latest Update: June 2022

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