If we disregard various complex criteria used to categorize corporate structures in the UAE,
we can broadly speak about the following company types:
- Offshore entities, which are not allowed to do business in the UAE but only outside;
- Free zone companies, where they are considered to be UAE resident companies operating both inside and outside of the U.A.E, though sometimes having certain activity limitations;
- Mainland companies, enjoying all business freedoms in the emirate of registration.
KEY DIFFERENCES FROM OTHER JURISDICTIONS
U.A.E. entities of any type do not require a director UAE citizen or a UAE resident, like some jurisdictions.
Almost all companies do not pay any taxes, except a concise list of taxable activities and for the exception of 5% VAT, which becomes due once the company’s taxable turnover for the past 12 months reaches USD 50,000.00 to USD 100,000.00 in equivalent.
Nominee services are not enshrined in any U.A.E. government laws, decrees, resolutions, etc.
All free zone and mainland companies are issued licenses regardless of the business activity exercised. In contrast, in other countries, licenses are issued to specific businesses, such as banks, other financial institutions, insurance companies, and more.
U.A.E. companies annually pay separate registration renewal charges, as opposed to one-time registration payments in some jurisdictions.
U.A.E. companies cannot exercise an almost endless list of business activities, like in some jurisdictions. Instead, one would have to register several companies to be able to combine everything.
Any business activity which may potentially generate or already generates income shall be licensed.