The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven Emirates, each with its own ruler. These are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. The city of Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and the city of Dubai is the main trading centre.


The UAE offers major business opportunities in UAE and in the Middle East. To do business in the UAE, it is necessary to comply with the federal laws governing business activity, including the Commercial Companies Law (CCL), the Commercial Register Law, the Commercial Agencies Law and the wide-ranging Civil and Commercial Codes. If a company intends to trade or invest in the UAE, it is essential to obtain the correct authorizations and licences. In addition it is important to be properly advised as to the requirements which apply in each particular Emirate. Federal regulation applies throughout the UAE.

Under federal legislation, the principal relevant options available for conducting business in the UAE are:

  • Participation in a local company or other commercial entity
  • Establishment of a branch office
  • Establishment of a branch or subsidiary in one of the Free Zones of the UAE
  • Appointment of a commercial agent or distributor


Which of the above options is the most appropriate will usually depend upon the nature of the activities proposed to be undertaken and it may be that a combination of the options outlined is appropriate for your particular business.



Elison Inc.

Abu Dhabi Slides

Dubai Slides