Under the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), the main licensing options are:

  1. The establishment of entities formed under the UAE Civil Code which are restricted to carrying out “non-commercial” or civil activities. The UAE Civil Code entities (may be an Individual Establishment or a Civil Works Company) include promotion of services, skills, and expertise of the individual(s) conducting the business, as well as other related practices that involve the use or investment of intellectual faculties.
  2. Professional companies may be 100% foreign owned. However, it is necessary to appoint a “Local Service Agent” or “Local Sponsor.”
  3. To comply with the provisions of UAE law, we propose that one of the local partners of Creative Zone will act as the Local Service Agent. The nominated Local Service Agent will not have any management authority or financial commitment and he will only act on your behalf to facilitate the trade license and visa processes necessary to complete your trade license. The Local Service Agent Appointment Contract shall regulate the relationship between the two parties.
  4. Depending on the business activity, this can be a LLC (Limited Liability Company) if 51% ownership is given to a UAE National or Company. For the latter and in certain business activities, the shareholders of the UAE Company must meet the same criteria as the expat partner/s.
  5. Existing companies can only invest in a new Civil Company if they reflect the same business activity as the parent company.
  1. The establishment of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai in accordance with the Commercial Companies Law. This is the most widely used commercial entity for companies with foreign ownership wishing to conduct commercial activities and trade in the UAE
  2. Each of the partners shall only be liable to the extent of their share capital in the company upon incorporation as stated in the executed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
  3. Under the UAE Companies Law, a minimum of 51% ownership must be held by a UAE National (Local Partner), and 49% ownership will be that of the foreign shareholder. However, the law permits the issuance of constitutional documents for an LLC to contain provisions designed to protect the interests of the foreign minority shareholder, including but not limited to the profits distribution, assets entitlement, appointment of directors/managers, powers of administration, and influence in decision making.
  4. To comply with the provisions of the UAE Companies Law, we propose that CREATIVE ZONE General Trading or a CREATIVE ZONE recommended UAE national act as your “Local Partner”.
  1. It is stipulated under the UAE Companies Law that 100% foreign ownership is allowed provided that a local service agent is appointed.
  2. A Branch office is a legal extension of the parent company and is permitted to secure contracts and conduct business activities, which are similar to those of its parents company subject to the approval of the UAE Ministry of Economy.
  3. A Representative office is established to promote the products and services of its parent company but may not carry out any trading activity or enter into commercial transactions and deals by itself. The number of employees allowed under this company is limited to 4.


Timelines and Procedure in business days

(The below is applicable to General Trading and Commercial licenses that do not require external approvals)

Day 1 - Submit all requirements and make payment for Sponsor / PRO fees.

Day 2 - CREATIVE ZONE will submit necessary documents to Dubai DED. Timeline and the Memorandum of Association / Local Service Agent Agreement / Civil Works Agreement (whichever is applicable) draft will be received by the client.*

Day 3 - Trade Name Reservation Certificate is obtained.

Note: The Dubai DED reserves the right to refuse or amend your company name even after approval.

Day 4 - Application will be submitted for the Initial Approval

Day 8 - Initial Approval Certificate is obtained

Day 11 - Submission of Commercial Lease Agreement and EJARI Certificate to CREATIVE ZONE. **

Day 12 - Client approves the final draft of the Memorandum of Association/ Local Service Agent Agreement and/or Civil Works Agreement.

Day 13 - Once the Memorandum of Association/Local Service Agent Agreement/Civil Works Agreement is approved by the client, the expatriate shareholder/s is required to personally be present along with the Local Partner/Local Service Agent or it's representative to sign the incorporation documents before the Notary Public in Dubai.

Note: A CREATIVE ZONE Senior Government Liaison Officer who holds the Power of Attorney (POA) to sign in behalf of CREATIVE ZONE for the purposes of company incorporation will meet you at the Notary Public. This Individual does not hold any interest in the Corporate entity. Should any of the parties fail to appear at the Notary within 30 minutes of the assigned time and re-scheduling will be required, a no show fee of 1,000 AED will be imposed.

Day 14 - Upon confirmation that the lease is appropriate, the file is submitted to DED for Issuance of Payment Voucher. This will be the license fee of the company.

Day 16 - Issuance of Payment Voucher.

Day 16 - Trade License is released once payment is made.

* The legal agreements have been approved by CREATIVE ZONE lawyers and is cannot be amended. Should you wish to make any changes, you will have to draft the agreement with your own lawyers and send it to CREATIVE ZONE for approval.

** Following receipt of the preliminary approval from the DED, the appropriate commercial rental agreements for proposed premises must be provided. Should the Lease Agreement and EJARI Certificate not be provided within 1 month of the initial approval, there is an additional PRO fee of 3,000 AED.

Note: Certain business activities require additional approvals from the government agencies. This can result in the timelines being extended by up to 45 days (depending on which government authority) and an additional PRO fee of 3000 AED will apply, excluding government fees.

The above timelines are based on our past experience. If your chosen business activity requires additional inspections and approvals, timelines will vary according to the government authority involved.


Corporate LLC SPONSORSHIP + CZ Support Services

Year 1

Year 2


Year 1

Year 2

* Sponsorship fee may vary depending on the business activities and requirements of clients. The sponsorship fee will increase if the number of employees increases to more than 100 and if a LLC company requires credit facilities on the MOA.

* Sponsorship fees for Industrial/Manufacturing licenses starts from AED 89,250.

* The Memorandum of Association/Local Service Agent Agreement/Civil Works Agreement drafting and notarizing fees will be approximately AED 2,016 (based on a 2 shareholder, AED 100,000 share capital computation).

* Payment Voucher for General Trading companies will be approximately AED 25,000 - AED 30,000.

* Sponsorship fees, PRO Fees, and License fees are annual and payable upon license expiry.

* Upon sign-up, the Name Reservation Fee of AED 660 and Initial Approval Fee of AED 160 must be paid and all actual government payments are invoiced as it is being processed. The client will pay all actual charges to Creative Zone before any application is made to Dubai DED.

* Should an LLC require credit facilities, the company must be able to provide proof of paid up share capital as per the MOA.

** Final Payment Voucher Fees are dependent on the business activity as well as cost of your annual lease (Market Fee is 5%).

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Type of set-up preferred:
Regular Company
Branch of UAE-based Company
Branch of Foreign Company
Estimated Number of Visas required
Proposed Company Names
Brief Business Summary
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