When you set up a company in the UAE, you’ll either establish it as a non-resident or resident enterprise. Offshore businesses are non-resident, and though they offer many advantages, they don’t provide business owners with resident visas.

Companies located within one of the UAE’s free zones (or registered onshore) have resident status. This comes with a variety of appealing tax incentives, plus other benefits too. Heres’ more information.

Obtaining a UAE Resident visa

To be eligible for a UAE resident visa, you must either:

  • Set up a business in the UAE (for foreign entrepreneurs, this is typically in one of the free zones)
  • Gain employment with a company registered in the UAE (your employer acts as a sponsor, and pays for your visa)

The resident visa is usually valid for two or three years.

The benefits of UAE resident status

There are several advantages to gaining resident status in the UAE. The key benefits include:

  • No initial investment required. You don’t have to invest financially; the main stipulation is that you set up your company within the UAE.
  • You’re a legal resident. You can legally live in the country if you choose to do so, and enjoy the same benefits as other residents.
  • No local partner required. You don’t need a local partner to set up your business in the UAE.
  • You can open a bank account. All residents are permitted to open a bank account in any UAE location, and this can be a personal or corporate account. There’s no requirement for a minimum balance.
  • You can obtain longterm leases. As a resident, if you want a longerterm lease on a business premises, you’ll be able to obtain one. This provides greater security for the future.
  • You can get a local driving licence. Your visa permits you to convert your existing driving licence to a UAE one, or to take driving classes and gain a local driving licence, if you haven’t already got one.
  • You can buy a property. As a resident, you’re free to purchase property.
  • Your family are residents too. You can apply for your partner and children to become residents too. This means they’ll have access to the same benefits, and your children can also enrol in a UAE school.
  • 0% income tax. Setting up a company in one of the UAE’s free zones offers huge tax benefits, such as 0% income and corporation tax. Many free zones also allow you 100% foreign ownership, plus 100% of the profits.

Set up a company in the UAE

If you’d like to find out more about setting up a UAE business and obtaining a resident visa, get in touch with Charterhouse Lombard today.