Executive Summary
The Emirate of Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf, it makes part of the United Arab Emirates, and covers the area of approximately 3,890 sq km. The population exceeds 2 million people, Arabic and English are widely used languages.

Oil and gas contribute to the economy of Dubai only 6% of the GDP, while such industries as real estate and constructions, trade, financial services and tourism contribute significantly. Dubai is famous for the tallest, the biggest and the most expensive constructions, such as the world most luxury hotel Burj Al Arab, skyscrapers as Emirates Towers and Burj Dubai, as well as artificial islands in a shape of palms and the map of the world.

The currency of Dubai is Arab Emirates Dirham (AED).

Dubai is almost at sea level and lies in the Arabian Desert, the sand of which contains crushed shells and corals and is very fine. Western Hajar Mountains lay on the border with Oman, and some peaks reach even 1,300 metres of height.  There are no natural rivers, but Dubai Creek has been created in order to make large vessels pass through. Dubai is considered to be very stable seismically and tsunami are very unlikely to happen there. More than 300 species of fish are found in the waters of Dubai.

The climate is very hot with many months exceeding 40 degreed C, and rains are not frequent. The average humidity is around 60%.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm

Types of Company

All the business companies should be registered with Dubai Chamber of Commerce, but licenses required to be obtained for diverse nature of business are to be applied at different authorities responsible for their regulation.
In general, at least 51% of the company shares should belong to the UAE nationals, but some exceptions exist, for example in case a foreign company establishes its branch in Dubai or it is registered in Jebel Ali or other Free Zones.

Joint Venture Company
This is a structure that basing on the agreement makes UAE nationals cooperate with foreign investors, provided that at least 51% of shares belong to locals, but the profit and loss distribution is very flexible. The agreement may remain private.

Private Company (shareholding)
The majority of directors should be UAE nationals and there is less flexibility in distributing profits in comparison to the limited liability company.

Public Company (shareholding)
In order to conduct banking, insurance and certain other kinds of financial business activities in Dubai, it is required to be registered as a public company. The majority of directors should be UAE nationals. The majority of the company shares should be offered to the general public.

Limited Liability Company
A minimum of two and the maximum of 50 shareholders can form this company being liable for the amount of capital invested. This company can conduct any legal business apart from insurance, banking and third parties’ money management activities.

Branches and Representative Office
This company can fully belong to foreign countries representatives, but UAE nationals should be appointed as company’s agent(s) without being necessarily directly involved in the business activity. It is an obligatory requirement to obtain the license for registering such a structure from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.

Sole Proprietorship
This structure may conduct professional services with the limited number of persons employed. A foreigner may be the owner of this company, but a UAE national should be appointed as the agent of the company.

There is no income or capital gain tax in Dubai with the exception of oil industry and local banking. The jurisdiction has signed Double Taxation Agreements with many onshore jurisdictions. The most popular form to register a company in the Free Zone is a Free Zone Establishment.

Individuals are not liable to income tax. Only 5% on rental value is added as a residential tax and there is 5% of tax on hotel services and entertainment.

No income, capital gains and withholding tax is applied. All the goods imported in the free zone are exempt from import duties, but a standard rate of 5% is applied for other territories. There are no exchange controls in the jurisdiction.

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