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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a general procedure of documents legalization in UAE?
If you want to legalize your documents in order to use them in the Emirates, or you want to attest the documents issued by UAE authorities in any other country, you need to follow the procedure of consular legalization and attestation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in United Arab Emirates. Apostle is not accepted in this country, because UAE did not join the Hague Convention about Apostle.
Which documents UAE MoFA considers to be personal?
Birth certificate, degree documents attestations, marriage certificate and other certifications are considered to be personal documents. Please contact us to get full description of legalization in your case.
Which documents UAE MoFA considers to be corporate?
Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, license, company’s registers, share certificates etc. are the corporate documents. Please contact us to get full description of legalization in your case.
How long does it take to legalize a document?
Consular and MoFA attestation normally takes 2-5 days, depending on each consulate mode of operation.
What are the restrictions on banking transactions?
UAE banks are very loyal to the business of their customers and do their best not to pose any obstacles. However, in some cases of large transactions (above USD 200.000), your relationship manager may request for some supporting documentation like invoice, contract or bill of lading.
Can I open a bank account in UAE, if I do not have resident status here?
Yes, some UAE banks open personal and corporate accounts for non-residents (individuals and companies). Please contact us for this matter.
What documents I have to submit in order to open an account?
- Original passport (for verification only)
- Bank statement for the last 3-6 months from personal account in any other bank
- Utility bill
- Short CV
- Business description
Do I have to visit UAE in order to open a bank account?
Yes, you have to. All the applications must be signed in front of a banker. We can minimize your visit to UAE to 1 day only to sign all the required documents.
Do I have to keep some money on the corporate account?
Yes. Depending on the bank, where you opened the account, this monthly average balance may alter between AED 20 000 and AED 250 000.
Is it possible to open an account in several currencies?
Certainly, it is possible.
How do I decide whether I need to register an offshore, free zone or local company?
From our point of view, it is very simple in many situations. You must focus on your objectives. If you just need a company and a bank account – you should go for an offshore company. If your choice is to have 100% ownership and you want a simple registration with conducting your business worldwide, get residency status and get access to UAE market through intermediaries, then you need a free zone company. Mainland/local companies, allow you to have full access to local market, but require 51% ownership by a UAE citizen and 49% by a foreigner – for commercial companies, or a local agent and 100% ownership by a foreign representative – for some professional activities.
Of course, real situations may have plenty of peculiarities. We can advise you more
In what situations it is required to have a local partner or local agent, UAE citizen?
In some cases, you need to have straight access to UAE’s local market. Some of obvious examples are: retail shops, boutiques, mini- or super-markets. Although, in case if you decide to conduct a professional activity, such as legal advisory, maintenance services, health and beauty services, a dentist office, you just need a local agent, who represents you in front of local authorities, but does not pretend at the company’s profit.
Is it risky to register a company with a UAE local partner or agent?
If you register a company in UAE mainland, you must follow only UAE Commercial Companies Law 2015 (New CCL or CCL 2), which implies that at least 51% of a local company (LLC) registered outside the free zones, should belong to a UAE citizen. However, we can assist you with preparation of an additional agreement alongside with the company’s Memorandum of Association, where a local partner states that he does not pretend at the company’s profit against the annual remuneration.
The rules of profit division are levied, when you have some professional activities such as legal advisory, maintenance services, health and beauty services, a dentist office and some others.
Can i open a local/mainland company without participation of a UAE citizen as a partner outside free zones?
Yes, you can. According to the UAE commercial law, you may have a local agent, who performs only representative functions, if you conduct a professional activity in UAE. For other cases, you have a local partner 51%-ownership of your company. Legal advisories can omit participation of local agents in their company’s structure.
How can I define whether my activity conforms a commercial or professional/service license?
Commercial companies perform trading activity as per statement in their trade license. It means that they can trade in specific goods, mentioned in their licenses, or trade in any goods, which do not require additional approvals (like medications) in case of General Trading licenses. A service license allows the company to offer professional services (medical, consultancy, engineering and others) in the UAE.
Can I register a company in UAE without renting or purchasing an office?
Yes, you can. Some free zones offer flexi-facilities (desks or offices), which are considered to be the most effective solutions for start-ups. Flexi-desk and flexi-offices allow to apply for up to 2-5 resident visas in most of the cases.
How much does it cost to register a company in UAE?
Any company registration fees greatly vary depending on these factors:
- Company’s activity
- Your target market
- Number of partners and prospected employees
- Office size
- Further business development and expansion
- Plans to hire staff.
The final calculation cost can be done, when you send us a request with this and additional information about your business model. We will help you to calculate the final registration cost taking into account all the factors.
For the general information about the registration you can see the following page.
What is the timeframe to register a company in the UAE?
It usually depends on the complexity of your choice of a business structure. In most cases it is just 2-4 days.
Can I register an offshore or a free zone company without visiting UAE?
Yes, you can. Our company have special solutions for distant registration of legal entities in UAE. Of course, each case should be considered independently focusing on your business needs. Although, we are ready to offer you different solutions involving a wide network of our partners or possibility to get your registration done through Special Power of Attorney’s documents.
I want to register a company and open my personal/corporate bank account. Should I visit UAE?
Yes, you should. UAE authorities and banks are strict in matters of identifying their clients. However, we can minimize your visit to UAE to 1-2 working days in order to sign the application documents. All further steps will be performed and controlled by us. Note that in some cases, we can arrange a company registration without your presence.
I would like to renew my license. Do I have to visit UAE?
If you have us hired, no. We will arrange your license to be renewed without your presence.
Is there any share capital required to pay in United Arab Emirates?
As you may know, there are around 50 jurisdictions in UAE. Each of them has its own regulations with many aspects, including share capital. Briefly, offshore/international companies do not require share capital payment; some free zones oblige their companies to pay it focusing on activity, number of partners, business objectives; local companies do not pay share capital, but it is nominally stated as AED 300.000 for Dubai-based companies and 150.000 – for companies registered in other Emirates.
Do I have to pay taxes and duties in UAE?
Now, all companies registered both in UAE’s Mainland or Free Zones are exempted from taxes. The only exemptions are: oil and gas industry, financial services, tourism and hospitality. Custom’s duties are to be applied, when the goods are being imported to or exporting from UAE’s mainland. Following this logic, free zone companies are exempted from custom’s duties, if their goods are kept on the territory of their free trade zone.
What are the requirements towards providing reports to UAE’s authorities?
Some freezone-registered companies must submit their annual audit report before the license renewal (DMCC, Hamriyah FZA, SAIF Zone and some other authorities). The majority of other types of entities are required just to keep all financial information for a minimum period of 5 years in the head office of the company, in accordance with the New Commercial Companies Law UAE 2015 (New CCL or CCL 2, Article 26). The owners of offshore/international companies are recommended to keep their financial information for 5 years without any relation to the place of the storage.
Is there any nationality restriction for a Partner or a Director of a company in UAE?
There are no actual limitation for a company’s owners or management. However, UAE’s authorities keep their right to use any kind of compliance tools for identification of potential investors/managers and UBOs.
Our company would like to open a branch or subsidiary entity in UAE. What documents should we provide?
In order to register a daughter or a branch company in UAE, you will need to submit the following documents of the parent company:
- Memorandum and/or Article of Association
- Certificate of Registration
- License (if applicable)
- Board resolution
- License or certificate with information on the legal status of the company (Certificate of Good Standing)
- Certificate confirming the legal status of the company (Certificate of Good Standing, Certificate of Incumbency).
Can a company have several activities?
Offshore/international companies may perform multi-activity. Freezone and local companies can do business only according to their license. Although, such companies may apply for additional licenses to expand their business focus area.
I want to register a UAE offshore. Can I do business with UAE customers?
According to UAE regulations, offshore/international companies can have local legal address, possess assets, have a bank account, but they can do business only outside UAE.
I want to register a company in a free zone. Where shall I buy/rent an office?
Freezone companies must have a registered office on the territory of their free trade zones.
What should I know, if I decide to open a company myself?
You should focus at 3 major points:
- Target area of your market (worldwide/specific area in UAE + worldwide/UAE market + worldwide).
- Your start-up’s minimal requirements towards office, staff and resident/employment visas. Plans for future expansion.
- Your budget.
This can help you to determine the place and type of registration, which saves a lot of time at many steps of registration. It is important, because wrong choice can easily result in time and financial losses greatly exceeding professional services of a consulting agency. Sometimes incorporation routine may be a real struggle, when someone starts the registration process without sufficient experience. Not only UAE is a young country with evolving laws and regulations system, but also some rules may vary from one jurisdiction (like free zone) to another, which can confuse even an experienced lawyer from another country.
We have to add that you may register a freezone or local company yourself, but offshore/international companies are required to have a licensed professional agent, as the registration mediator between the customer and the freezone. We are glad to inform you that InterPoint has all necessary permissions to register companies in offshore jurisdictions of UAE.
What is the limit of maximum number of shareholders for one company?
Offshore/international company – 50. Onshore companies (in a free zone or mainland) – maximum 5.
What is the limit of maximum number of Directors for one company?
Offshore/international company – 7. Onshore companies (in a free zone or mainland) – maximum 5.
What documents are required from a shareholder as an individual to register a company?
This list may vary depending on where you register your company. But basically, it looks like this:
- Passport copy (Main page + UAE entry stamp page)
- Short CV
- Proof of residence address (for instance, utility bill)
- Bank reference letter from a personal account
- Passport-size photo on white background
NOTE: UAE authorities keep the right to request more documentation if it is necessary.
What are the fees and costs to get a residence status in UAE?
The cost of residence or employment visa varies depending on the place of the company incorporation and usually costs around USD 1500. Sometimes a resident visa can be obtained within 7-10 days, covering the issuance of entry permit, medical examination, application for Emirates ID and visa stamping.
What are the factors influencing on number of permitted visas for one company?
The usual factors are:
- freezone package (if, you have a free zone company, and use a flexi-facility),
- office area,
- type of activity,
- special permissions.
If I register an offshore or international company, can I get a residence visa?
Unfortunately, not. UAE laws do not grant resident status to companies or its participants or employees to apply for residency. Although the company can have a legal address in UAE.
What is the period of a residence visa?
Normally, you can get a 3-year visa, if you are an investor, and 2 year-visa, if you are an employee. However some free zones have regulations of a maximum 2-years visa, for example in Sharjah free trade zones.
What is the procedure to get a tourist/visit visa to UAE?
In order to get a tourist visa, you need to have a hotel reservation in UAE. Although our company offers a special solutions to get a tourist visa without hotel booking. You may just send us a copy of your passport and flying dates. Please, contact us for more.
Visit visas require an invitation from a UAE resident. It can be a company or an individual.
I want to apply for an Entry Permit. What are the documents I should have to submit?
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of your previous visa. It can be tourist or visit visa or cancellation paper + previous resident visa copy
- Attested degree certificate (for professionals only)
- 3×4 photo