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UAE: Can I run a business in the Emirates without being a resident?



KT reader wants to know if it is possible to explore investment opportunities or run a business without being a resident

Question: I am planning to visit Dubai soon and explore some investment opportunities. Is it possible for me to run a business there without being a resident?


Answer: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 32 of 2021 on Commercial Companies are applicable.

In the UAE, an expatriate can set up a new entity or buy shares of an existing entity in accordance with Article 2 of the Companies Law.


It is not mandatory for you to be physically present in the UAE to set up a legal entity or invest in any existing legal entity or make any other form of investment. You can issue a notarised and legalised power of attorney to any person of your choice who is present or will be present in the UAE, to act on your behalf.

Alternatively, you can come to UAE on a visit or tourist visa to complete the relevant procedures for incorporation of an entity or invest in any existing entity in the UAE.

If you wish to be just a shareholder/partner in an entity in the UAE there is no requirement for you to have a UAE resident visa. However, if you are a shareholder/partner and a manager of an entity in the UAE, then you should hold a valid UAE residency visa and UAE resident identity card for undertaking a transaction with any banks in the UAE where the entity will open and operate its bank account and to represent and transact in the name of the entity with any local and federal authorities in the UAE.

If you intend to only be a shareholder/partner in an entity and not be its manager then you may consider appointing a manager of the entity by issuing a power of attorney to such an individual to manage your proposed business in the UAE. The manager shall require a valid UAE residency visa and UAE resident identity card.


It is recommended that you seek further legal advice on this matter from a counsel based in the UAE.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: [email protected] or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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