Foreign investors coming to open companies in Dubai are required to register their businesses with the Department of Economic Development which is the equivalent of Trade Registers in European countries. The Dubai Department of Economic Development was established in 1992 and until 2008 it was in charge of the establishment of economic policies. In 2008, the Government issued a decree through which the Trade Register would also be in charge of receiving the documents related to company registration in Dubai. Foreign investors starting companies in Dubai free zones must take into account that each free zone has its own authority receiving the paperwork related to company formation and issuing the suitable trading licenses.
With a broad experience in company formation in Dubai, our local consultants can help foreign investors comply with all the requirements imposed by the Company Law and the Trade Register in relation to incorporating a business. We can also assist with the preparation and filing of all the documents necessary to open a company with the Dubai Trade Registrar.
Table of Contents
The Dubai Department of Economic Development
A foreign investor opening a company in Dubai is required to file the necessary documentation with the Trade Register through an appointed local agent. The Dubai Companies Register will also issue the commercial license depending on the type of activity to be undertaken. However, these are not the only functions of the Dubai Trade Register. Among its responsibilities there are also:
- updating and maintaining the companies’ database,
- allowing interested parties to conduct searches,
- allowing third parties to search for licensing information,
- elaborating economic development strategies.
Our local agents can help you with the company registration procedure in Dubai. You can also watch our video presentation we prepared:
Types of companies to be incorporated with the Dubai Companies Register
The Company Law is the main act covering the types of companies which can be registered in Dubai. The same law specifies that in order to legally operate in Dubai, a company must appear in the database of the Department for Economic Development.
The following types of companies can be registered with the Dubai Companies Registrar:
- sole proprietorships which can be set up by UAE citizens, but also foreign investors who have obtained residence permits;
- partnerships – the members must record their agreements with the Dubai Companies Register;
- limited liability companies which can be private or public must also be registered with the Department of Economic Development;
- branches of foreign companies must also be recorded with the Dubai Trade Register;
- other types of businesses, such as joint ventures must also be taken into evidence by the Registrar.
Our Dubai company formation agents can offer information on the requirements related to the documents which need to be filed for each type of company.
The main procedures which can be completed with the Dubai Trade Register
When opening a company in Dubai, there are specific actions which need to be completed with the Trade Register. Among these, the trade name of a business must be reserved with the Registrar prior to incorporation. A businessperson can select and propose up to 3 names for a company, among which he or she must also propose the desired one. If approved, the future business owner will be issued a certificate stating the reservation of the company’s name.
Another procedure related to registering a business with the Trade Register in Dubai is obtaining the business license. There are three types of licenses, out of which two can be issued by the Department:
- the general trading license;
- the industrial license.
We can advise foreign business owners on the types of licenses they can obtain for correct company registration in Dubai.
One of the most important actions which can be performed with the Trade Register in Dubai is deleting a business as a consequence of liquidation. In fact, this is the last stage of company winding-up in Dubai.
Terminating a company in Dubai implies filing a petition once the decision has been made or once a court approved the request of creditors. After the liquidation procedure has been completed, the Trade Register will delete the company from its database.
Performing company searches in Dubai
One of the main roles of the Dubai Trade Register is related to offering access to information about existing companies. This can be very useful when conducting company due diligence procedures. While some information is publicly displayed, there is also information which can be obtained against a fee.
The following information is available with the Companies Register in Dubai:
- the name and address of the business is usually available without the payment of any fee;
- information about the financial status of a company, including on insolvent companies;
- information about the shareholders and directors of a company can be found with the Trade Register;
- information about the activities of the company is also available with the Department;
- access to financial records can also be obtained based on a fee paid by the inquirer.
If you need company due diligence services, our agents in Dubai are at your disposal with complete services.
The video below presents the main functions of the Dubai Trade Register:
Trade Registers in Dubai Free Zones
Dubai is home to more than 20 free zones at the moment, each ran by its own authorities, among which local Trade Registers. Dubai free zone Companies Registrars are in charge not only with receiving the documents for company incorporation, but they are also often in charge of establishing the conditions under which companies can be set up. In certain free zones, the Trade Register provides all-in-one services which include the issuance of visas for foreign citizens coming to work in Dubai. Trade Registers in Dubai free zones allow for the registration of free zone companies and branch offices of foreign companies.
Foreign investors opening companies in Dubai
One of the most important aspects to consider by foreign investors dealing with the Dubai Trade Register is that they need to appoint a local service agent to complete any procedure on their behalf.
Those who want to set up companies in Dubai and do not hold residence permits must appoint a local agent to complete the procedure based on a power of attorney. This will also enable them to complete the company registration procedure remotely and enter Dubai after the company is up and running.
Our specialists in Dubai can represent foreign entrepreneurs in their relationship with the Trade Register before and after incorporating a business here. We can also assist with the registration of free zone companies, which fall under the same requirements with the free zone authorities.
No matter the type of company you want to set up in Dubai, all Trade Registers will issue the certificate of incorporation within a few days. For details about the documents required to open a company in Dubai, you can contact our local representatives.