Setting up business in Sharjah: Beginner’s guide

by Zaara 26, Dec 2016

Setting up business in Sharjah: Beginner’s guide

With a prime location in the Middle East, affordable real estate, business-friendly laws, and modern infrastructure &amenities, Sharjah is the favourite destination for business owners.

Sharjah is home to many companies in the UAE. Large businesses have set up here from scratch, or several businesses have expanded in this area in regional centres. Setting up a business in Sharjah is something you must explore.


Corporate Entities in Sharjah

The Sharjah Economic Development Department is the leading government authority that sets guidelines on company formation in Sharjah. Companies are classified as

  1. Limited liabilities company
  2. Partnership company
  3. Local services agent or business partnership
  4. Foreign company branch registration
  5. Local company branch registration
  6. GCC company branch registration
  7. Public-private shareholding company registration

Each type of company differs from the other in terms of ownership patterns, registration & licensing procedures, and required documentation.

Limited Liability Company

It is a type of company where the number of partners should not be more than 50 and should be less than 2. The liability of the partners is equal to the shareholding. In case there is a UAE national partnership, the ownership must be at least 51%

Partnership Company

This is essentially for UAE nationals only. The partnership company must be between two or more individuals and are liable to the extent of their shares to the company’s liabilities.

Local Service Agent

These are individual companies that are managed by one person only. The function can be running any business or professional economic activity, and the establishment owners bear all the financial obligations. If the owner is not a UAE or GCC national, there must be a local service person who has to be a UAE. Local service agent must be natural and not a legal entity/ representative.

Foreign Company Branch

This is relevant in case a foreign company opens a branch abroad.

Local Company Branch

This is relevant if the concerned party wishes to open a branch of a company in other emirates.

Public-Private Shareholding Company

A public shareholding company is a company with shared capital divided into equally valued tradable shares. A private shareholding company, however, is subject to rules about public joint-stock companies.

Procedure to Setup a Business in Sharjah

The steps to register a business in Sharjah are simple and straight-forward and are mentioned as under -

Trade Names and License Procedures

Registering a trading name for your business is essential as it has to be coherent with the type of business activity you want to pursue. You must make sure that another investor does not already book the trade name selected by you, and it does not violate the instructions and conditions. It would help if you also had substitute trade names in order of preference,

A complete set of documentation must be submitted to the department of economic development; the Commitbiz team can assist you.


There are some permits that business owners may need to apply for their business processes. E.g. warehouse permit is required for a license issued inside or outside Sharjah.

The procedure for a warehouse permit begins with filling out the license form. After that, you need to book an appointment with a concerned section for evaluation and subsequent site approval. Approval from civil Defense is mandatory to proceed further. The lease must be authenticated and certified. Then you may proceed to attain permission from government authorities about the type of business activity. Finally, the permit fee must be paid to the licensing department post which you will receive your permit.

Documentation Required for Business Setup in Sharjah

The documents required are similar for the above types of companies with minor changes between different categories. However, the following documents need to be submitted to Sharjah Economic Development Department

  1. A valid copy of passport and national ID in case of UAE national
  2. In the case of foreign national, a no-objection certificate, copy of passport, copy of visa or residence is required
  3. Duly filled license form
  4. Branding certificate
  5. In case of technical assessment is required, then a report must be submitted
  6. Official approvals, if any
  7. Contract of partnership duly attested by a notary
  8. Lease copy
  9. Legal affairs approval
  10. Property certificate if available
  11. Approval by the ministry of economy
  12. Billboard or other branding designs
  13. Minutes of the meeting of the board of directors to open a branch (applicable in case of foreign company branch registration)
  14. Authenticated copy of the memorandum of association of the company
  15. Lastly, a copy of the feasibility study on the business venture is required.

All commercial licenses are valid for 12 months, following which they have to be renewed annually.

Cost of Setting up a Business in Sharjah

If you are planning to register your company in Sharjah Mainland or know the cost of a general trading license in Sharjah, get in touch with Commitbiz business consultants in UAE and help you with your entrepreneurial endeavour.

Government Authorities for Business Activities in Sharjah

Things you must know about government authorities involved depending on the type of business activities.

  1. Central bank: Banks, stock exchange companies
  2. Civil aviation department: Travel and tourism, air ticket booking
  3. Justice department: Legal registration
  4. Ministry of agriculture and fisheries: Pesticides, fish trade, fodder trade
  5. Ministry of the economy: Branches of foreign companies dealing in insurance and reinsurance companies
  6. Civil defence: Firefighting equipment and related activities
  7. Trade committee: Car rental, international passenger transport and buses and other transit facilities
  8. Ministry of education and youth: Private colleges, schools, shopping centres
  9. Ministry of health: Hospitals clinics, pharmacies, diagnostic centres, health and fitness centres
  10. Sharjah municipality: Food products, salons and cosmetics
  11. National media council: Marketing advertising, TV productions books and magazines
  12. Police directorate: Gold trade
  13. Ports customer department: Marine engineering, customs clearance, sea cruises and ship maintenance

Opportunities are numerous in Sharjah, and the local government shares ample information to assist you with a business set up in Sharjah. However, we understand that there are many procedures to be followed, starting from licensing to permits to company formation. Commitbiz business consultants are veterans in the business set up in Sharjah and help many business owners succeed in this region.  We cater to all international investors and business owners willing to expand or initiate their business in the UAE.

If you are interested, contact us today.

Start your Entrepreneurship Journey Today in UAE from AED 5,500

Commitbiz will help you with every step of your success journey. You can get one-on-one mentorship from our experts and get guidance on how to clear the legal proceedings and grow your business.

Know More