Navigating the UAE Market: A Guide to Establishing a Legal Presence and Avoiding Pitfalls

January 26, 2023

With its thriving business environment, well-developed infrastructure, and strategic location, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an ideal location for businesses looking to expand their operations in the Middle East.

Venturing into the UAE market can be a complex and challenging endeavour, especially as a new market entrant. Whether it be opening a branch of an existing business or starting a new enterprise, the process of establishing a legal presence in the UAE is fraught with information overload, conflicting advice, and often misleading guidance.

Given the dynamic nature of the UAE’s economic landscape, it is crucial to seek expert advice and stay informed of the latest regulations and developments. The UAE’s leadership is continuously working to attract new businesses and make the process of operating in the country more streamlined. This includes continual changes in laws such as 100% foreign ownership and Emiratisation, and it is imperative that accurate advice is obtained to ensure compliance with these regulations.

At CBD, we have dedicated teams for labour and immigration, licencing, and legal matters, who maintain constant communication with authorities to ensure that our clients receive the most up-to-date and accurate information. This enables us to assist our clients with market entry and ensure a smooth and efficient setup process.

Imperative Considerations

When considering entering the UAE market, there are several key considerations to bear in mind, including:

  • Employee requirements: The number of employees needed will affect the size of office space required as well as the labour and immigration procedures for each individual. We can also support you with Dubai visas. Read about the Dubai Golden Visa.
  • Managerial appointment: The manager appointed on the licence will be responsible for opening the bank account and serving as the primary signatory. It is recommended that the manager holds a UAE residency visa for ease in opening the labor and immigration account and operating the bank account. Hiring a nominee General Manager can fulfil the nexus requirement and have a positive impact on the business.
  • Additional approvals: Certain business activities may require additional approvals from Dubai Municipality or relevant industry governing bodies. For example, construction activities require additional approvals.

How CBD Can Assist

If you are seeking expert advice on entering the UAE market to expand or set up your business, our team of experts has extensive experience in the UAE market and can guide you through the process of company registration, legal compliance, and obtaining necessary licences and permits. Find out more about our UAE PRO services. Schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs and how we can help you achieve your business goals. Email:, call +971 4551 0677 or Whatsapp +971 56 218 4695.

Authored by Daniel Dronsfield Consultant at CBD Corporate Services

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