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Opening a business in the UAE: features and benefits

Opening a business in the UAE: features and benefits

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, known for its loyalty to foreign investors and open policy of conducting international business. The reputation of the UAE as a world economic center attracts the attention of many foreign businessmen, and the variety of schemes for opening and promoting a company in the UAE allows to choose the most suitable option in each special case.

The UAE consists of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras al-Khaimah. Each of them has its own procedures for opening a company. Even though there are general federal laws in the country, each emirate has different additional rules and regulations for starting a business.

There are various options for company formation in UAE – this may be a local or an international offshore company in the free economic zone, as well as a business outside the free zone with the participation of a local sponsor or agent.
To open your own business in the UAE, it is very important to choose the right type of license regarding the company’s activities, acceptable type of ownership and location of the company.

Advantages of companies in UAE free zones
The UAE free zones allow foreign investors to create enterprises without partnership with local sponsors. Such zones are a well-defined part of the state territory with special conditions of taxation, customs duties, etc.

In the UAE there are many special zones, such as Dubai free zone, Sharjah free zone, RAK free zone and many others. Some of
them are reserved for specific activities (for example, Dubai Internet City is intended only for the business associated with the software), others are common and provide licenses for almost all business categories.

The UAE free zones are commercial establishments and each has its own administration. The main sources of income of the free zone are the leasing of office spaces, licensing fees and servicing companies operating in its territory.
The main advantages of doing business in free zones:

100% ownership of company’s shares without the involvement of local agents;
no currency restrictions;
all capital and profits can be repatriated;
exemption from corporate, personal or income taxes;
duty-free import of goods, if the goods are not supplied to the local market;
excellent infrastructure and communications;
a wide range of activities;