How to license a business in the
UAE

License is the main authorization document allowing business to carry out a permitted
economic activity in the UAE, both onshore and abroad.
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www.sorp.ae
The activities that businesses can perform in the UAE are restricted to those listed in the entity’s license issued by the Economic Department in the relevant emirate. To start your business sucessfuly, you should choose the most appropriate type of license depending on the contemplated business activities. Knowing procedures of obtaining the license and pecularities of its renewal and cost is also very important. SORP provides a “turnkey” solution for incorporating your business in the UAE and offers a comprehensive range of services supporting your business needs in the country.

Choose the target for your contemplated
business activity for incorporation in the UAE

Business license is a main statutory document which reflects the date of incorporation and expiry, listed permitted business activities, names of the owner and the manager.

Trading Business
Licensing
Import, export, re-export. Wholesale
and retail. Online commerce
For a local (mainland) company it is required for foreign parties to partner with a UAE national who must hold at least 51% of the shares in the local company. FZ incorporation is possible

Success of trade business in the UAE is backed with minimal taxation, great geographical location and high share of the paying population.
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Professional Services
Licensing
Management consulting, services
provided to the public, restaurants
A local (Mainland) company may be incorporated with a 100% foreign ownership, a service agent must be appointed. Free Zone incorporation is possible

Get the best of doing business in the UAE - the highest paying world market with high appraisal of available services and their quality.
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Investment Activity
Licensing
Investment management, financial
consulting, lending and borrowing
An incorporated local company with a relevant activity will be governed and supervised by Central Bank of the UAE and Securities and Commodities Authority (CSA) of the UAE

Tax free activity in the UAE and abroad is combined with the possible interest and commissions recipience, capital and asset management
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Real Estate Business
Licensing
Real estate agencies, developers,
facilities management and estate
consulting
The UAE governs the sector through Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). Business incorporation should be local (Mainland).

The significant infrasructure spending and growth of the construction sector increased an amount of transactions and raised demand for services.
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Engineering Services
Licensing
Engineering works, servicing the
facilities, project management and
design
The UAE governs the sector through the Building Department. The type of ownership of the company depends on the business activities.

The vast amount of construction projects in the Emirates sets global tasks for engineering contractors for enhanced performance and operation.
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Logistics and
Transportation Licensing
Sea, land and air transportation,
freight brokers as well as cargo
warehousing
A company may be incorporated in a Free Zone or locally (mainland, a local partner must hold a 51% ownership). Permitted activities should be approved

A UAE logistic market growth unlocks a huge potential for business. Tax free regime sustains business profitability onshore and abroad.
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Tourism and Hospitality
Licensing
Business activity as a tourist
agency, tourist operator company
and consultancy.
The UAE governs the sector through the Tourism and Marketing Department. An incorporation can be made both locally (mainland) and in a Free Zone.

The significant potential of tourism and the hospitality sector in the UAE, along with the Government support, provides the business profitability in the country.
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Construction Works and
Services Licensing
Buildings and infrastructure
construction, design and
performing of finishing works.
The UAE governs the sector through the Building Department. An ownership structure of companies depends on the business activity.

Active construction across the country, high consumer demand provide orders download for construction companies , design and finishing works contractors.
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Educational Business
Licensing
Pre-schools, schools and higher
education institutions, sport
centers and learning courses.
Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) regulates the sector in the UAE. Setup is available in mainland and in a Free Zone.

The sector is one of the top priorities for the Government support in the UAE. A growing demand for quality services provides the profitability for business.
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Free Economic Zones foster an attractive environment for those businesses focused only on international operations (i.e. outside of the UAE) and/or the economic activity within a free zone. The best alternative is to incorporate a company locally ( mainland of the UAE) to unlock unlimited investment benefits for conducting a true exterritorial business in the UAE and in any other destination abroad.

The stages of business setup in the UAE

Preliminary due dilligence
A thorough expertise of the competitive environment, with respect to contemplated business activities, is very important.
Successful models of doing business in other countries may often not be effective in the UAE.
Choosing the most appropriate form of incorporation
A proper jurisdiction of your business setup will shape up a strategy of conducting business activities locally and
internationally, an easiness of dealing with banks and financial institutions, as well as your general credibility.
Understanding licensing procedures
A business license should match a contemplated business activity as much as possible. The additional licensing
requirements of local authorities should also be accounted for.
Choosing a type of legal vehicle
Depending on the licensed business activities in the UAE, the Law defines appropriate types of foreign ownership
rights of your entity.
Obtaining a license and registering
Getting a license supposes the clearance of local authority requirements (if any), confirmation of the valid business
address and payout of legal fees and duties.
Business consulting and renewing of a license
Choosing the right management consulting company will provide professional administration, legal support and a
tailor-made solution to business needs. It will also renew the license and other permissions in a timely manner.
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SORP expert solutions for incorporating
businesses in the UAE

SORP Group provides a set of solutions for licensing most types of businesses in the UAE. Being in close contact with Government
authorities and holding the status of an agent in Free Zones, SORP guarantees prompt and seamless registration procedures.

Define a business model

SORP will advise on a right type
of a license and on appropriate
legal entity for your business

Incorporating and licensing

SORP’s expertise in the local
corporate industry guarantees
a support with utmost diligence.

Local Partner or Agent

Nominee service from SORP
Investment LLC with a waiver
in the Dubai court

Business address in Dubai

SORP Business Center provides
clients with an office lease for the
purpose of licensing and doing
business with Ejari / Estidama,
flexi-desks and virtual office.

Opening bank accounts

SORP has a close cooperation
with leading banks in UAE, providing
clients with a full range of support
to ease compliance and passing all
KYC procedures.

Business Administration

SORP provides legal and tax
consulting, accounting as well as
administration services to ensure
that clients are supported with all
their business and statutory needs.
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General requirements of the UAE laws towards the incorporated
and licensed business entities

Term of the license

The license must be renewed annually, after having provided a full year audited financial report to
the relevant authorities, a renewed office lease, as well as obtaining required approvals.

Licensing fees

A renewal of the license allows the relevant authorities to oversee the legality of conducted business
and also represent a hidden “tax burden”. A licensing fee for renewal of permitted business activities in
the UAE should be paid annually.

Administration procedures

Application for a renewal will be subject to the consent of economic authorities of a respective emirate or a
free zone as at the start of an incorporation process. This procedure requires permission from the relevant
authorities and a renewed lease contract and agency contract to be presented by the entity.

SORP’s license renewal services

According to the current legislation, each business license in the UAE must be renewed annually. This requirement remains the same
for all types of entities incorporated locally (mainland) and in free economic zones.

Local partner
or agent

SORP will provide a nominal
UAE partner service and renew the
previously conducted agreements
and current contracts.

Annual office lease at
SORP Business Center

SORP will allow you to save money
each year by providing a lease of
minimal required office space at
its own SORP Business Center.

Professional administrative
support for businesses

SORP provides renewal services
for licenses, permissions and other
statutory documents in the UAE,
including complicated cases.
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How to conduct an international business
being incorporated in the UAE

Protection from tax information exchange

Having a UAE domicile will exclude a business entity from an automatic tax information exchange by the
CRS standard.

Confirmation of economic presence

While providing an expediency of operating activity from the UAE, a business entity will prove a legitimate
tax optimization structure abroad.

Tax planning opportunities

UAE legislation provides a free capital control environment which is an important prerequisite for
conducting international business activity for tax optimization and free cash settlements.

SORP services for providing business conducted
internationally

SORP Group of Companies equips entrepreneurs with a unique set of business tools for effective tax planning and optimization of
international economic activity through the means of UAE legislative norms.

Tax residency
in the UAE

All UAE residents are protected
from an automatic exchange
of tax information when doing
banking transactions.

International tax planning
and optimization

Tailor - made solutions for
enhancing tax optimization
for international business
through the UAE legislation.

Confirmation of economic
presence

Proof of the economic presence
in the UAE through the onshore
management (decision) center
and tax residency.
The global trend towards increased control over businesses leaves fewer legal methods to minimize tax burden, optimize cash flows and allocate funds to bank accounts. However, incorporation of a local company in the UAE provides businessmen with a complete set of tools for solving such problems, including protection from automatic exchange of tax information, information on bank accounts and other assets in accordance with CRS standards.

SORP provides a full range of services for a
business setup and management in the UAE

Comprehensive services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing, maintaining Bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual approach

Your requirements are unique. That is why we treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities.

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Banking support

Assistance in choosing a bank that is suitable for your purposes, support with bank accounts opening and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).

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