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AeUnited Arab Emirates Subsidiary.






Country Capital

Abu Dhabi


UAE dirham (AED)

Before hiring in the United Arab Emirates, companies must establish a subsidiary or work with a global employment expert like G-P. They’ll need to incorporate in the country before they can hire employees, run payroll, and work on a compensation and benefits plan.

Fully incorporating a subsidiary can take anywhere from weeks to months, which means companies may lose time to access talent and start their company projects in the UAE. Instead, G-P can help get work started on UAE projects starting in just a few minutes instead of a months.

How to establish a United Arab Emirates subsidiary

Establishing a United Arab Emirates subsidiary is not a decision any company should take lightly. Employers might consider various factors as they determine what they will need for incorporation and where they should base their headquarters. Business factors such as the particular industry, the nationality of the individuals they intend to hire, or any trade agreements can make a notable difference in the United Arab Emirates subsidiary setup process.

Since the UAE has several regions, the requirements for a subsidiary can vary based on exact location. Companies will experience fewer limitations and requirements in the country’s free trade zones, but they’ll need to decide which trade zone meets their business needs. They also might be required to have a certain level of minimum capital and will only be able to perform the activities they list on their trade license.

While Arabic is the UAE’s national language, different groups speak different dialects and languages. For example, the Emirati people speak the Gulf dialect of Arabic. Other popular languages spoken in the UAE include Persian, Nepali, Bengali, Pashto, and others.

If companies are going to establish a presence on the mainland, they might need to contact the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the specific emirate to obtain initial approval and register a trading name. After that is approved, they can move forward with the next steps.

Many businesses incorporate as a limited liability company (LLC) because the incorporation process and ongoing governance can be less complex. Steps to establish a company include:

  • Determine where the office will be located.
  • Figure out the appropriate legal form for the subsidiary.
  • Reserve a company name.
  • Determine and obtain the appropriate business license based on the economic activities companies want to perform.
  • Open a local bank account.

UAE subsidiary laws

United Arab Emirates subsidiary laws vary based on the type of entity companies decide to establish. If they choose an LLC, which is comprised on partners, each partner’s liability is limited to the amount of capital they contribute as their share participation.

Capital requirements for a company vary according to the legal form. In the past, LLCs had to meet a minimum capital requirement. Now, the country requires “sufficient capital,” which is judged by the DED of the emirate in which the company is incorporating. Global companies are encouraged to work with an advisor or another company knowledgeable in United Arab Emirates subsidiary laws to determine the right minimum share capital.

Benefits of establishing a UAE subsidiary

By establishing a United Arab Emirates subsidiary, companies can legally begin hiring employees in the country. A local subsidiary in the form of an LLC also keeps the potential liability of the subsidiary separate from the parent company. In addition, the subsidiary can create a company culture different from the parent company’s culture.

Other important considerations

To establish a United Arab Emirates subsidiary, companies should prepare to spend both time and money. Each step of the process takes a significant amount of time and expenses they will need to budget for. It’s best to retain the expertise of someone who understands incorporation in the UAE to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

Enter new markets with G-P — no new entities required.

Beat the competition and enter new markets in minutes, not months, with G-P. We’ve paired our industry-leading team of in-region HR and legal experts with our #1 Global Growth Platform™ to help you hire compliantly in 180+ countries, eliminating the need to set up local entities or subsidiaries.

Get in touch today to learn more about how we can streamline the global growth process.


THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. You should always consult with and rely on your own legal and/or tax advisor(s). G-P does not provide legal or tax advice. The information is general and not tailored to a specific company or workforce and does not reflect G-P’s product delivery in any given jurisdiction. G-P makes no representations or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information and shall have no liability arising out of or in connection with it, including any loss caused by use of, or reliance on, the information.

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