DED company formation

Professional business set up services

The task of setting up an onshore business in Dubai can seem confusing, time-consuming, and expensive. Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible, and we always start with a thorough understanding of your needs. Given the number of free zones in the UAE advertising their services locally and abroad, there is often confusion as to the need to set up a business onshore at all.

A simple rule of thumb is that if your business will trade in physical goods in Dubai then you will need an onshore license. This also includes local construction, manufacturing, and related activities. Furthermore many service companies may require onshore registration if they plan to work with government departments. There are exceptions, and a member of our team will discuss your individual requirements to determine what options are available to you.

All onshore companies licensed through the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai are required to rent physical office space as part of the licensing requirements. All offices at Sentinel Business Centres are eligible for business license registration and meet the requirements of the various government departments involved.

Our relationship does not end once we have completed the company formation on your behalf. In fact, it is just the beginning and we go far beyond simply providing PRO services and support. We pride ourselves in the fact that many clients have retained our services for many years now, and continue to do so even after they move out of our serviced offices. This is testament to our team and the dedication towards customer service that is an integral part of the Sentinel ethos.

There are three types of DED company formation:

Limited Liability Company


The LLC requires 51% participation of a UAE National as the Local Partner. The vast majority of onshore businesses are set up as LLCs and there are a range of options available when considering a local partner. Sentinel can provide local partner services through shared or dedicated corporate vehicles that allow you full control of the business.

Professional License


The professional license allows for 100% foreign ownership. This license type is ideal for professional service provider such as consultants, lawyers, and doctors amongst others. A Local Service Agent must be appointed to complete formalities at the various government departments, and is paid a fixed annual fee. Sentinel can provide this service either through a corporate vehicle or appoint an individual if necessary depending on the license type.

Branch or Representative Office


This license type allows foreign companies to have a fully owned presence in Dubai. The representative office activity is restricted to marketing and support functions, ideally suited to foreign companies looking after local distributors or agents. As above, a Local Service Agent must be appointed and Sentinel can provide this service through a corporate vehicle.