Sharjah is a rapidly growing economy, successfully attracting investors from across the world. Sharjah is the third-largest emirate in the UAE after Dubai and Abu Dhabi and offers a cost-effective business environment for foreign investors. The process of business setup in Sharjah mainland is ideal for foreign entrepreneurs due to the government’s business-friendly policies, 100% foreign ownership, strategic location, excellent connectivity to major markets, cost-effective living conditions etc.
The process of company formation in Sharjah Mainland is regulated by the Sharjah Department of Economic Development (DED), which offers a wide range of economic activities to choose from. Even though Sharjah allows all kinds of lucrative business activities, the emirate is known for being an industrial powerhouse. The environment of company formation in Sharjah is also conducive for education-related activities as the emirate is a hub of the region’s best educational institutions. Moreover, Sharjah has been awarded the Health City recognition from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its stringent curbs on alcohol consumption. Business setup consultants in Sharjah can provide more information on various aspects of company formation.
Types of Business Licenses in Sharjah Mainland
Obtaining a trade license is the first step in the process of business setup in Sharjah mainland. Doing business in Sharjah without a trade license is a punishable crime. The type of licenses in Sharjah represents the type of activities permitted by the SEDD. Based on the nature of activities, the following types of licenses are issued in Sharjah mainland:
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A commercial license allows entrepreneurs to carry out activities such as distribution, consolidation, storage, warehousing, and import and export of specified goods. A normal commercial license in Sharjah allows investors to trade in a specific number of similar lines of products. However, a general trading license in Sharjah mainland allows the license holders to trade in a diverse range of goods.
Investors who obtain a commercial license in Sharjah mainland are entitled to 100% foreign ownership in specific activities. Business setup consultants in Sharjah can provide more information on activities that are entitled to 100% foreign ownership.
A service license in Sharjah mainland authorises the license holders to carry out services specified in the license. A service license, also known as a professional license, enables entrepreneurs to practice a skill in which they possess expertise. Applicants should possess relevant qualifications and substantiate their claims by undergoing examinations. Consultancy services, management consultancy services, accounting services, and all other professional services come under the scope of a service license in Sharjah mainland.
An industrial license is mandatory for entrepreneurs to carry out activities that require capital to be practised, such as manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and activities related to electricity, oil & gas etc. Special approvals are required to obtain an industrial license in Sharjah mainland. The approving authorities are the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Economy and Commerce, and other relevant government departments. Investors need to submit all the relevant external approvals while applying for an industrial license in Sharjah mainland. Business setup consultants in Sharjah can help investors navigate this requirement.
Types of Companies in Sharjah Mainland
Investors are required to identify an appropriate legal structure to successfully complete the process of business setup in Sharjah mainland. A legal structure is determined by the number of shareholders in the proposed company. Depending on the number of shareholders, the following types of companies can be established in the Sharjah mainland:
Limited Liability Company
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be formed in Sharjah with a minimum of two and a maximum of 50 shareholders. Each shareholder’s liability towards the company is limited to the extent of their share in the capital. The government has been allowed to open an LLC in Sharjah with 100% foreign ownership from June 2021. The government has scrapped the previous requirement of having a UAE national as a local sponsor with 51% of shares in the company.
A partnership company in Sharjah is formed by two or more shareholders jointly liable for the company’s liabilities depending on the shares held by them. Unlike an LLC, a partnership company can’t be established by foreign investors. All the shareholders of a partnership company must be UAE nationals.
Local Service Agent License Company / Sole Proprietorship
A Local Service Agent (LSA) Company in Sharjah is essentially a sole proprietorship business with a single person as the owner. Foreign entrepreneurs must appoint a UAE national as an LSA to start a single owner business. The LSA requirement doesn’t apply if the owner is a UAE national or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) national. Mainly professional services are carried out under this legal structure. The LSA is not entitled to any shareholding or ownership claims in the company. Business setup consultants in Sharjah can help entrepreneurs deal with the legal requirements of a sole proprietorship.
Public/Private Shareholding Company
In a shareholding company, share capital is divided into tradable shares of equal value. Each partner of the company has only limited liability to their share capital. The rules of Public Joint Stock Companies are applicable to a private shareholding company in Sharjah. Members who sign the memorandum and articles of association are regarded as the founding members of the company.
Already registered companies can incorporate their branches in Sharjah mainland. UAE-based companies, foreign companies and GCC-based companies are allowed to open a branch in Sharjah mainland. Consult with business setup advisers in Sharjah to quickly establish branch offices.
Process of Business Setup in Sharjah Mainland
The process of business setup in Sharjah mainland follows a series of highly streamlined steps set out by the SEDD. Investors can avail themselves of the best business setup services in UAE before starting the process. Here are the vital steps of company formation in Sharjah:
- Identify business activity
- Assign a Local Sponsor/LSA if applicable (not applicable for strategic sectors)
- Determine an appropriate legal structure
- Reserve a company name
- Register with SEDD for initial approval
- Apply for the respective license
- Draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)
- Sign a lease agreement for office space/facility
- Obtain external approvals for special activities
- Pay the license fee
- Receive the respective trade license
Documents Required for Company Registration in Sharjah
Investors are required to submit certain specific documents while applying for a business license in Sharjah. Access the business setup services in Sharjah to properly prepare the documents. The following documents are mandatory for setting up a company in Sharjah:
- Application for business registration in Sharjah
- A copy of the business plan
- Copy of the business plan
- Duly attested & notarised MoA and Articles of Association (AOA)
- Passport copies of all partners and managers
- Power of Attorney
- Bank reference letters if applicable
- Board resolution for foreign companies
- Lease agreement
- Feasibility report of the project
Compliance Requirements in Sharjah Mainland
Companies operating in Sharjah mainland must comply with regulatory requirements such as Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO), Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) and Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT). Companies that are going through the process of liquidation in Sharjah mainland also come under the purview of these regulations. Companies that fail to comply with the regulations will attract hefty penalties, reputation damage and, in some cases, revocation of trade license. Business setup consultants in Sharjah can help business owners comply with ESR, UBO & AML-CFT laws.
Key Advantages Associated with the Process of Business Setup in Sharjah
Setting up a business in Sharjah opens the door to the following critical benefits:
- Sharjah houses over 19 industrial areas that contribute to 49% of UAE’s industrial output
- Zero corporate taxes and personal taxes
- World-class infrastructure
- Two coastlines (the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf)
- Political stability
- The cultural capital of the UAE
- Availability of cost-effective labour
- Easy to open a bank account
- Easy to sponsor residence visa of dependents
Choose the Best Business Setup Services in Sharjah, UAE
The process of business setup in Sharjah mainland offers the investors key benefits, including 100% ownership, a strategic location and world-class infrastructure. The company formation process is generally simple, but new entrepreneurs may stumble upon several roadblocks on the way. Availing business setup services in Sharjah becomes a necessity when faced with tasks such as choosing an activity, getting special approvals, applying for a residency visa etc.
Consulting with the best business setup consultants in Sharjah, such as Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC), helps entrepreneurs to remove such roadblocks. JBC is a leading provider of business setup services in Sharjah and across the UAE. JBC has highly qualified consultants who can easily understand the business idea proposed by the investors and offer appropriate advice. JBC can help investors with the entire process of business setup in Sharjah, including PRO services, bank account opening, drafting of MoA, and the execution of regulatory requirements like ESR, UBO & AML-CFT. Consult with our team today to ensure the business idea gets the right start.