What are the Company Registration Authorities in the UAE

You have decided that you want to establish a company in the United Arab Emirates. Do you know where to go and who to approach? As we want the company formation process to be smooth for you, we thought before we start discussing very specific things, it would be good to give a clear picture, as to which authority in the UAE is responsible for what. There is no need in discussing all the ministries and government bodies. We will touch upon those only, which you will need to communicate with, when forming a company. Ready? Let’s go.




Each emirate in the UAE has its own Department of Economic Development or DED for short. This authority is responsible for issuance of licenses for local companies, companies, where a local partner or a local service agent are required. Department of Economic Development helps to reserve a trade name, obtain pre-approval for company’s registration and, as already mentioned, issues company’s license. If you need to perform some specific fit-out works in your commercial space before operations, this needs to be communicated with a special department of the Municipality of that emirate, where your company is being registered. DED has multiple offices across the emirate, so you may choose the one closest to you.


Unlike Department of Economic Development, free zones most of the time do not have multiple offices. In 90% of cases, administration of free zones and business development team is based in the geographical area of the free zone only. Nevertheless, in the past years free zones based in the northern emirates started actively establishing representative offices in Dubai and some of them even in Abu Dhabi. If you wish to establish a free zone company, you need to approach directly registration authority of that respective free zone, that you chose for your company’s registration. The main difference between free zone and DED is that free zone serves as your company’s legal representative before such authorities, as Ministry of Labor, Department of Residency and Foreign Affairs (Immigration office) and more. In other words, you cannot approach Immigration office directly as a free zone company. Only free zone authority’s team can do this. DED, on the contrary, is responsible for business licensing only. With all employment matters and visa issues your local company will need to go directly to the Ministry of Labor, Department of Residency and Foreign Affairs and so on.


And finally offshores. We often see your confusion, trying to understand which authority is responsible for registration of these companies and where the official seat of this authority is. Here please note that within a few free zones in the UAE special offshore departments were created. Therefore, it is their responsibility to register offshore companies. It is not possible for a businessman to register an offshore company directly with a free zone authority. Only the agent, who is officially registered with that particular free zone, can do it for you.


Now that you know who to approach for your company set-up, let’s move on to the next subject, which is a company’s name.


    If you want to know more about Dubai freezone company formation, feel free to get in touch with our professional consultant team and we would be delighted to assist you and help you to compare Dubai freezone company setup costs and help you to find that free zone, which would suit your business needs the most.


 Disclaimer: Business Boutique UAE-Consultants.com 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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