Mainland entities and FreeZones can generally be incorporated as Limited Liability Company (known also as LLC), Branch Offices or Subsidiaries.
Mainland entities are registered under the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the Emirate where the business has to be established (i.e. Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc.). Investors who decide to set up their companies in Mainland are able to operate in any part of the United Arab Emirates without specific limitations and restrictions. To establish a company in Mainland, it is mandatory to assess an engagement with a local partner/ sponsor who holds the 51% of the business. Local sponsors can be either active or silent. In the case of an active state, the sponsor can manage the organization and take decisions like any of the foreign shareholders. When silent instead, the sponsor is not involved in any decisions. His presence is required only in particular cases, such as transfer of property, share transfer or company liquidation.
FREE ZONE ESTABLISHMENT
The UAE have several free zones across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah and Um Al Qwain, the most common being: