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 favorite destination for business owners.

Sharjah is home to a large number of companies in the UAE and numbers of businesses have set up here from scratch, or several businesses have expanded in this area in form of regional centers. Setting up business in Sharjah is something you must explore.

The Sharjah Economic Development Department is the leading government authority which 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

Setting up a business in Sharjah: Each type of company differs from each other in terms of ownership patterns, registration&licensing procedures, and required documentation.

  1. Limited liability Company: it is a type of company in which 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%(i)
  2. Partnership Company: this is essentially for UAE nationals only, the partnership company must be between two or more individuals and they are liable to the extent of their shares to the company’s liabilities.
  3. 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 case the owner is not a UAE or GCC national then there must be a local service person who has to be a UAE. Local service agent must be a natural and not a legal entity/ representative.
  4. Foreign company branch: this is relevant in case a foreign company opens a branch abroad.
  5. Local company branch: this is relevant in case concerned party wishes to open a branch of a company in other emirates.
  6. Public-private shareholding company: a public shareholding company is I a company with shared capital divided into equally valued tradable shares. A private shareholding company, however, it is subject to rules pertaining to public joint stock companies.

Documentation required for business setup, Sharjah.
The documents required are more or less similar for above types of company with minor changes between different categories.

Broadly speaking, 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 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 than 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 a period of 12 months, following which they have to be renewed annually.

Trade names and license procedures:

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

Complete set of documentation must be submitted to the department of economic development, Commitbiz team can assist you with the same.


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

Business setup services 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 equipments 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 centers
  9. Ministry of health: Hospitals clinics, pharmacies, diagnostic centers, health and fitness centers
  10. Sharjah municipality: Food products, salons and cosmetics
  11. National media council: Marketing advertising, TVproductions books and magazines
  12. Police directorate: Gold trade
  13. Ports customer department: Marine engineering, customs clearance, sea cruises and ship maintainence.

Opportunities are numerous in Sharjah and there is ample information shared by the local government to assist you with a business set up in Sharjah. However, we do 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 owner’s setup successfully in this region.  We cater to all international investors and business owners willing to expand or initiate their business in the UAE.
If your are interested, contact us today.