Doing business in the UAE
Produced in partnership with Amir Ahmad and Edward Ewart of Reed Smith LLP
Doing business in the UAE

The following Commercial practice note produced in partnership with Amir Ahmad and Edward Ewart of Reed Smith LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Doing business in the UAE
  • Introduction
  • The business environment
  • Background
  • The sources of law within the UAE
  • The separation of power between the Federation and Emirates
  • The Civil Code framework
  • The significance of the Islamic Shari’ah
  • Forming a company
  • Mainland vs Free Zone
  • More...

Updated September 2020


The Business Environment

Forming a Company

Financing a company

Opening a Branch office

Opening a bank account

Utilising office space

Immigration controls

Key employment laws

Contracting with Third Parties

Taxation Overview

Regulatory Compliance

Protecting Key Assets and Employees


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically located at the crossroads of the major Western and Eastern economies. It is a constitutional federation of seven Emirates, each with their own local governments, and united under the overarching leadership of the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers. A member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE is part of the Middle East's only multi-national common market, with a view to further cross-border economic and fiscal integration.

There are a variety of ways of doing business in the UAE. We have produced this guide to give you a brief introduction to some of the main considerations for foreign investors into the UAE, and to highlight the key areas a business will need to address before it begins operations in the UAE. The contents of this guide are intended to be of general use only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific advice on any matter.

The business environment


Established in 1971, the UAE was once known primarily as a trading hub, connecting the East with the West. The last 40+ years have seen a diversification of the economy, with the country attracting investment from around the world.

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