All businesses must register with the Economic Department and Chamber of Commerce corresponding to the emirate in which activities will take place and the Ministry of Economy.

Certain types of companies will also need approval from the relevant ministries such as:

Banks and financial institutions: Central Bank
Insurance companies: Commissioner of Insurance - Ministry of Economy and Commerce
Manufacturing: Ministry of Finance and Industry
Education: Ministry of Education
Printing, Publishing and Broadcasting: Ministry of Information and Culture
Medicinal products: Ministry of Health

Oil and gas production companies must go through special procedures to register which can vary depending on the emirate in which registration will take place.

It is every company’s obligation to renew their registration annually with all three authorities mentioned. The fees will vary depending on the type of entity established and the authority. Banks, insurance companies, public and private shareholding, limited liability, branches and partnerships limited by shares will normally have their accounts audited annually. Companies may choose any date as the accounting year end and accounts can be kept in English, Arabic or both. There is no requirement to file taxes except for banks and oil and gas companies.

The Chamber of Commerce

Membership with the relevant Chamber of Commerce can offer useful advantages especially for newly established companies though their services. The Chamber can be consulted regarding local market information, can offer a credit rating service through business information reports, legal services such as drafting contracts and even insurance for companies’ employees (Dubai).

The Dubai Chamber has helped establish a variety of business groups divided by industry and business councils divided by country to encourage cooperation and networking. Members can join the groups and councils of their interest.

The websites for the Chambers of Commerce in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be accessed here: