Business in the UAE

Business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an exciting opportunity for all and can lead to huge returns. When bright-eyed investors or business people come to the UAE seeking such opportunities, they sometimes forget about the legal hurdles which may exist here, which may not exist in their home country.

It is important to understand policy when it comes to starting a business in the UAE. What does this mean? This means that once fundamental policies are understood, then businessmen or investors will be able to approach incorporation process with more flexibility, which is extremely important in this fact-paced, dynamic market.

A situation such as this arose recently when a business person (X) looking to expand his operations to Dubai was setting up a local LLC company. Per regulations, the name of a Local LLC company should contain the activity within the name, and this is generally a well known practice.

From a policy perspective, the reason for this regulation is so that companies adhere to their license designation. For example, if you are trading, then your name should include the word trading. This prevents any untoward business behavior and prevents people from masking their activities or acting outside of their remit. This is a logical policy.

X, however, was somewhat disturbed by this policy and did not want the activity in the name of the business. This added another dimension to the problem, as the chosen name was not something easy to recognize nor was it reflective of the activity.

X had tried to begin the process by himself and was stuck at the first hurdle. The lack of flexibility meant that he was unable to move forward and delays occurred over a few weeks. This illustrates how important it is to get legal advisers involved at the beginning stages of making business decisions.

Another element of decision-making was also taken without legal intervention. This resulted, in the first instance, with the wrong procedure being started. For example, in this very same example, X would not have commenced local company procedures in the first place had he understood the technicalities of business incorporation in the UAE. In fact, as he did not have any business activity occurring within the UAE market itself, it was not necessary for him to opt for a local company.

The overarching principle here is to get your legal advisers involved in this important, life changing process from the very beginning.


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