How to Change Company Legal or Operating Name in the UAE?

As Heraclitus once said “Everything flows, everything changes”. Welcome to the module on corporate amendments. In this section we will discuss the instances, when you will need to introduce some changes to your company, be it a simple name change, activity or address amendment, as well as share transfer, increase or decrease of share capital. We will even look at a corporate address change. If you are just at the beginning of your business journey, these topics may seem irrelevant to you, as this might feel very distant from what you need right now. However, this knowledge is essential, as there will be a day when this all will be necessary. At some point your business will grow, and you will start looking for exactly this information. Surely, videos in this module are more relevant for those who already run a business or at least have some experience in that, but if you are just about to start – listen attentively, as this information will prevent you from future mistakes and losses.




In this video specifically, we will be covering a topic of a company name change.

It may happen so, that one day you might need to change your business’ name. You may ask: why out of a sudden I might need to change the corporate name? Well, there might be several reasons for that, as things change all the time, so do business names. One of the most regular reasons is that your company expanded and started offering other services or selling other products. Let's say you company name was “Garrison Oils” and you were selling oils only. You continued to grow and expand, so at a certain point you decided to sell grains, pasta or even sweets. Definitely your name should be changed from “Garrison Oils” to something more relevant, like “Garrison General Trading” for example, as your company’s business will be no longer limited to selling oils only.

One of the most famous changes in the company’s name happened to Starbucks. In the beginning, the name of the company was “Starbucks coffee”, but later the word “coffee” disappeared, when management decided to start selling baked goods and other food items in the menu.

The next reason, why a change in company’s name may be required, is exactly the opposite of the reason we just mentioned. This happens, when the name is too long. “Garrison Building materials and construction equipment general trading LLC” is a very long company’s name, though it is understandable for those, who want to know what business the company is involved into. It’s easy to understand, but customers will never remember its full name. From the very beginning think of a name that is easily recognizable, easy to remember and easy to refer a friend too. In our case, “G-materials” will be more than enough.

You may also consider the change in the company’s name, when it is too general, like Mohammad Photography or Cryptocurrency Consulting. If I google these two names, there will be hundreds of non-relevant search results with different pictures and links to various web-sites. Most of the search results will be relevant to the subject, but will have nothing in common with the intended name. Why? The name itself is a general search request. When thinking of a name, make it at least more defined and unique.

There are many more reasons to change corporate name, like rebranding or difficult spelling, non-copyrightable name or just when your old company name is holding you back. So, let’s get more into details of the administrative side of the name change process.

Of course, the procedure will largely depend on the emirate of registration, as well as the company type. But in general, the following will be required.

As the company name is mentioned in the corporate documents, you might be requested to submit your license, Memorandum, and articles of association, share certificate back to the Registrar, as the Registrar will need to amend the documents. As a rule, Registration Authority may request to provide additional documents at any stage of the process. Moreover, you will be most probably required to present a Shareholder’s resolution mentioning the newly approved name of the company. If it is a subsidiary than there should be a Board Resolution from the parent company, that will need to be notarized and attested. In some cases, justification letter might be required to understand what is the main reason standing behind the company name change. As a general recommendation, we advise consulting with your Registrar or business consultant before the amendment procedure launch, as it may happen that some specific documents will be required or the time-frame will not coincide with your travel plans. If your business has some limitations or is regulated by specialized ministries or authorities, an NOC from the relevant government departments and authorities might be also needed.

The fees for company name change may vary from one registration authority to another, with timeframe for the process ranging from several days up to 3 to 4 weeks.  

Once the documents are submitted, it will be mandatory to publish an advertisement in a local, national newspaper, where you will state that the company ”X” changed its name to “XYZ”. Sometimes, the registration authority can assist with such publications. This process is necessary to inform everyone that the company’s name is about to be changed.

Once the ad is published in a newspaper, and around 14 days passed, the registration authority shall update its corporate register, issue the amended license, memorandum and articles of association, as well as all other corporate documents, which might have been previously released to you in original. In some cases, registration authorities even issue a certificate of the name change. As soon as the name change process is completed, you may collect all original amended corporate documents and continue operations under the new company name.

Here it is also important to remember the concept of operating name discussed in this course earlier. It is the second name of the same business, which is used for advertising, day-to-day activities and for sales purposes. It means that your business name might be Donald LLC, while your operating name might be The most famous example here is McDonald’s.  McDonald’s is an operating trade name, while company’s legal business name is McDonald’s Corporation.

In the UAE, the situation with the possibility to apply for and later amend the operating name differs from one emirate to another, from one free zone to another. Sometimes you will have the option of selecting the legal name only, while other registration authorities may allow both, a legal name and an operating name.

You need to know that you can change both company name and operating name at any time, and as you understand the process is not difficult at all.


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 Disclaimer: Business Boutique is not affiliated with any particular government or legal entity. Business Boutique does not give professional legal advice nor any other professional advice subject to a public office in the government. This article merely sets out a simple and basic idea as to the reasons of Dubai freezone company setup and Dubai free zone company formation cost. Business Boutique in no way holds nor imposes any official governmental or legal authority and the article herein is only to be taken as a guide. All further governmental or legal issues should be addressed to the corresponding authorities.

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