Expand Business in the United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Global Upside helps businesses expand into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by providing talent acquisition, human resources, accounting, payroll, tax, incorporation, and professional employer organization (PEO)/employer of record (EOR) services. Our comprehensive offerings create an end-to-end solution that helps you establish your business and optimize your operations, all while maintaining compliance with laws and regulations of the UAE.

The hiring and incorporation processes in the UAE are often complex, time-consuming, and involve numerous legal and compliance challenges. Global Upside simplifies these processes and lifts the compliance burden from your business. Our teams have the experience and expertise required to help you establish a legal entity in the UAE. We also offer PEO/EOR solutions to companies interested in hiring employees quickly, without setting up a legal entity in the country.

Capital City

Abu Dhabi


United Arab Emirates dirham (AED)




Federation of Monarchies

Country Overview

The United Arab Emirates derives its riches generally from its natural resources — oil. The UAE controls almost 6% of the world’s demonstrated oil reserves, and crude and refined petroleum trades developed approximately 40% of the country’s $242 billion in exports in the year 2018. The nation is currently broadening its economy, supporting its trade and travel industry, and aiming on improving the education of its populace.

  • United Arab Emirates ranks as the 31st largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP.
  • United Arab Emirates ranks as one of the top 10 richest countries in the world.
  • United Arab Emirates is one of the best countries in the world for business.

The most commonly implemented legal structures in mainland UAE are:

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a form of establishment that can have as many as 50 investors. Each of the investors will be liable to only his or her share in the company’s capital. LLCs are permitted to conduct any commercial or industrial business. Furthermore, an LLC must be 51% possessed by UAE Nationals.


Branch is a kind of an entity setup which is treated as an expansion of the parent company and not as a separate structure. A branch requires a national of UAE or a company that is solely owned by them to act as a sponsor.

Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)

Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) is an entity set up that is separate and distinct with limited liability. Regardless of the nationality of investors, an FZ-LLC can be owned by individuals or corporate bodies.

Free Zone Branch (FZ-Branch)

Free Zone Branch (FZ-Branch) is not considered as an individual entity but treated as an expansion of the parent company.

It takes approximately two months to establish a legal entity set up in UAE.

The Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 governs all employment proceedings in the UAE. It is also known as the Labor Law.
Concerning Article 36 of the UAE Labor Law, the employment contracts need to mention the following details:

  • Name and address of the employer and employee
  • Date of commencement of the job
  • Job location
  • Probation period
  • Remuneration
  • Nature and duration of the contract
  • Nature of work
  • Official leaves and vacation
  • Annual leaves
  • Sick leaves
  • Working hours and overtime

The payroll cycle is every 14 days unless mentioned in employment bonds.

On 1 July 2015, the new UAE Commercial Companies Law (Federal Law No. 2 of 2015) came into effect, which replaces the former Commercial Companies Law (Federal Law No. 8 of 1984).

It is mandatory for an organization to apply International Accounting Standards and Practices. This helps endorse constancy and dependability in respect of UAE companies’ accounts.

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate in the UAE is 0%.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

The VAT rate in United Arab Emirates is 5%.

The UAE data privacy administrative scene is also developing with a pending information protection law and Resolution N. 281 underscoring the requirement for data privacy with regards to Covid-19.

Data protection identifies with personally identifiable information (PII). This comprises the full name, date of birth, address, including the bank account details. Data privacy incorporates the protection of personal health information (PHI), such as clinical records.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

Currently, the United Arab Emirates has no extensive anti-corruption act. Definite provisions that deal with anti-corruption and bribery (directly or indirectly) are mentioned in the local and federal laws. This includes the UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 (as revised) (the “Penal Code”); the UAE Federal Law No. 21 of 2001 relating to Civil Service; the Abu Dhabi Law No. 1 of 2006 concerning Civil Service in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Government Human Resources Management Law No. 27 of 2006.

1. Bribery for public officials – For individuals

i) Imprisonment for at least 5 years.
ii) A monetary fine of minimum AED 5,000.
iii) Seizure of the actual benefit acknowledged.
For legal entities
i) A monetary fine of AED 500,000.

2. Bribery for private officials- For individuals

i) Imprisonment for at least 5 years.
ii) A monetary fine of minimum AED 5,000.
iii) Seizure of the actual benefit acknowledged.
For legal entities
i) A monetary fine of AED 500,000.
In both the cases, under Civil Transaction Law No. 5 of 1985 the civil liability discusses the obligation of the business in such manner.