Company Formation

A ‘free zone’ (also known as ‘free trade zone’ and ‘free zone authority’) is a defined geographic area where foreign investors and expatriates can set up companies, in order to trade products and services.

Free zone companies benefit from 100% foreign ownership, zero customs duties on imports & exports, the ability to obtain UAE residency visas (including sponsorship of family), and hire staff. Free zone companies also allow for the ability to open a UAE bank account, and to avail of multiple office options.

There are 40+ free zones in the UAE, which offer a variety of strategic advantages. The choice of free zone is dependent upon the unique nature of each business wishing to set up in UAE. Our team collectively has 100+ years’ experience advising foreign entities and entrepreneurs on which UAE free zone is most suitable, based on each prospective company’s characteristics and requirements.

Calculus act as a guide throughout the entire process, from free zone selection to collecting necessary documentation, and navigating through the specific policies to ensure successful approval and company registration. Our proprietary relationships with leading free zones allow us to conduct these activities with efficiency, both in terms of process speed and cost.

Following company establishment, Calculus’ dedicated operations team can then support with residency visa processing, secretarial support, as well as compliance and accounting requirements as per UAE law.

Unlike with free zone companies, obtaining a Dubai Mainland (or Onshore) license allows business owners to conduct activities and trade directly within the UAE, as well as abroad. The DED splits activities into 6 broad categories: Professional, Commercial, Industrial, Tourism, Agricultural and Occupational.

As of 2021, previous regulations which required a UAE national to own 51% of Mainland companies has been amended. This means that foreign entities/persons may partake in 100% ownership of UAE mainland companies, either as LLC or Foreign Branch/Representative Office, whilst also having the possibility of contracting with government departments.

Calculus has close relationships with the Department for Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, which is the authority responsible for issuing trade licenses for Dubai Mainland companies. [Insert sentence on Sharjah/other emirates]. Our complete end-to-end service includes identification of the appropriate business activity and taking care of company registration formalities, including obtaining trade certificates, licensing documents and memorandum of association. 

As with free zone companies, our special support team will support with post-formation requirements such as residency visa processing, bank account opening, and annual accounting.

Offshore companies are legal entities established under the laws of a foreign jurisdiction. Also sometimes referred to as IBC (International Business Companies) – they are prohibited from conducting local business activities in the UAE.

Usually, offshore companies have been established in order to obtain exemption from taxation. Increasingly in recent years, Offshore vehicles have been used for other reasons, including online & e-commerce trading, as well as families looking for succession & estate planning, as well as asset protection solutions.

Calculus supports clients with efficient formation of Offshore companies. We act as Registered Agents in the major UAE offshore jurisdictions of JAFZA, RAK ICC and Ajman, ensuring strong governance and that processes are compliant with UAE law.