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Setting Up Shop in the Emirates: A Guide to Forming a SEDD Company in the Mainland

A-Guide-to-Forming-a-SEDD-Company-in-the-Mainland A-Guide-to-Forming-a-SEDD-Company-in-the-Mainland

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a thriving business hub in the Middle East, attracting entrepreneurs and investors worldwide. With its strategic location, tax-friendly environment, and ease of doing business, the UAE offers a compelling proposition for companies seeking to expand their reach.

One of the most popular options for establishing a business presence in the UAE is through the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD). This article provides a comprehensive guide on forming a SEDD company in the UAE mainland, outlining the key steps, requirements, and considerations involved in the process.

Understanding SEDD Companies

This article is related to the formation of Sedd company in mainland.  SEDD is the government entity responsible for regulating and licensing businesses operating within the Emirate of Sharjah. It offers a variety of business licenses catering to various industries and company structures.

A SEDD company refers to a business entity registered and licensed under the purview of SEDD. There are three main types of SEDD companies for mainland operations:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The most popular choice, offering limited liability protection to its shareholders.

  • Branch of a Foreign Company

 Ideal for established foreign companies seeking to extend their operations into the UAE.

  • Branch of a Local Company

 Allows existing UAE companies to establish a branch office in Sharjah.

This guide primarily focuses on the formation process for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) under SEDD, the most common option for new businesses.

Steps to Forming a SEDD LLC

The process of forming a SEDD LLC can be broadly divided into the following stages:

1. Initial Planning and Approval

  • Choose a Business Activity

 Clearly define the core business activities your company will undertake. SEDD offers a comprehensive list of approved activities to choose from.

  • Select a Company Name

 Choose a unique and appropriate name that complies with SEDD’s naming conventions.

  • Identify Shareholders and Partners

 Determine the number of shareholders and their respective ownership percentages. Minimum of two shareholders are required, with a maximum of 50.

  • Secure Initial Approval

 Submit a detailed application to SEDD outlining your proposed business activity, company name, and shareholder structure. Once approved, you will receive an “in-principle” approval letter.

2. Business Registration and Licensing

  • Reserve your Trade Name

 Once you receive initial approval, formally reserve your chosen trade name with SEDD.

  • Finalize the Memorandum of Association (MoA)

 This document outlines the company’s structure, governance, and shareholder agreements. It must be drafted and notarized.

  • Open a Local Bank Account

 Open a corporate bank account in a bank approved by SEDD. This account will be used for depositing the required share capital.

  • Deposit Share Capital

 The minimum share capital requirement for a SEDD LLC is AED 150,000 (approximately USD 41,000). Deposit this amount into the newly opened corporate bank account.

  • Submit Registration Documents

 Submit the completed MoA, bank deposit certificate, tenancy agreement (if applicable), and other necessary documents to SEDD for final registration.

3. Obtaining Additional Permits and Licenses

Depending on your specific business activity, you may require additional permits and licenses from relevant government authorities. These could include approvals from health departments, environmental agencies, or industry-specific regulators.

4. Visa Applications

Once your company is registered, you can sponsor visas for yourself, your partners, and any employees who will be working in the UAE. Visa requirements and fees vary depending on nationality and type of visa applied for.

Important Considerations

  • Local Service Agent (LSA)

 While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to appoint a Local Service Agent (LSA) to assist with the company formation process. LSAs can provide valuable guidance on navigating regulations and completing necessary paperwork.

  • Corporate Governance

 Develop a clear understanding of corporate governance requirements for SEDD companies. This includes holding regular shareholder meetings and maintaining proper accounting records.

  • Taxation

 The UAE mainland offers a generally tax-free environment for businesses operating outside free zones. However, there may be specific taxes applicable to certain industries. It’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor to understand your company’s potential tax obligations.


Setting up a SEDD company in the UAE mainland offers a strategic and cost-effective way to establish a business presence in the region. By following the outlined steps, considering the important factors, and seeking professional guidance, entrepreneurs can navigate the process efficiently and successfully launch their operations in the dynamic business landscape of the UAE.

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