How to Start a Holding Company in Dubai : Guide 2024

Holding Company in Dubai

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Dubai is a great place for setting up a holding company, attracting business owners from all over the world. These companies are designed to own and manage other companies or investments, making business operations easier to handle. Dubai strong economy and friendly business laws make it an attractive choice.

Having a holding company in Dubai can help you manage risks better and you might even enjoy low tax benefits. With options to set up in different jurisdiction, like free zones or the mainland, Dubai offers flexibility for various business needs, making it a popular choice for managing multiple businesses efficiently.

What is a holding company in Dubai?

A holding company in Dubai is essentially a parent company that owns and manages investment stakes in other companies. Such entities are officially recognized in all Emirates of the UAE, where they are registered under the business activity category “activities of holding companies.”

Why Set up a holding company in Dubai?

Establishing a holding company in Dubai offers a range of advantages. Firstly, Dubai’s strategic location and stable economic environment make it an attractive destination for investors. Holding companies in Dubai benefit from favorable taxation and full profit repatriation. Additionally, the legal framework in Dubai provides holding companies with the ability to exercise control over subsidiaries and manage risks effectively.

Moreover, Dubai’s diverse economy and business-friendly policies encourage foreign investment. Holding companies can take advantage of 100% foreign ownership, access to a broad network of international banks, and a high degree of confidentiality and asset protection. The city’s strong legal system ensures a secure environment for holding companies to manage their investments and assets, making it a compelling choice for business corporations and investors looking to expand their global footprint.

Benefits of setting up a Holding Company in Dubai

Holding companies bring great benefits on the table, a few of them are mentioned below.

1. Full Foreign Ownership Allowed

Businesses can enjoy complete ownership without the need for local partners, providing independence and control over their operations. The absence of ownership limits raises an environment where foreign investors can fully take advantage of their investments, eliminating the need for complex ownership structures.

2. Effortless Asset Management

Managing assets in this business environment is efficient, allowing companies to optimize their resources and investments. The simplicity of asset management here ensures that businesses can allocate their resources strategically and make informed financial decisions.

3. Unrestricted Foreign Workforce

Companies operating under the holding license can knock into a global pool of talent without any restrictions, promoting diversity and innovation within their teams. The freedom to hire foreign employees without quotas or limitations enables businesses to attract the best-suited professionals for their needs.

4. Low Tax Benefits

Employees and businesses enjoy low tax benefits, enhancing the overall compensation packages and financial well-being of persons. The low tax benefits allows companies to offer competitive rewards, attracting and retaining top talent in the market.

5. Investment Opportunities

Investors  can avail and enjoy the opportunity to expand their portfolios across various industries, spreading risk and maximizing returns. The wide range of investment options available raises a great business landscape, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.

6. Access to Top-Notch Professional Services

Businesses can access world-class professional services such as legal, financial, and consulting expertise, ensuring they receive the best support for their operations. The availability of top-tier professionals facilitates smoother market entry and business expansion, reducing risks associated with unfamiliar territories.

7. Emerging Markets

Companies located here are strategically positioned to tap into the wonderful growth potential offered by emerging markets in the region. The advantageous location enables businesses to adapt quickly to emerging market trends, ensuring they remain competitive in their strategies.

8. No Capital Return Restrictions

Businesses can move out their profits and capital freely, providing financial stability and flexibility in managing international investments. The absence of capital repatriation restrictions raises investor confidence, as they can easily reinvest their returns or allocate resources where needed.

How to register a holding company in Dubai?

Just like any other company registration in the UAE, there are several steps and procedures that you will have to follow to register holding companies in Dubai. RFZ Corporate Service Provider can guide you on how to set up a holding company.

Step 1: Choosing a Business Activity

Dubai growth in business formations is qualified to the wide range of business activities available. Companies can opt for activities like investment holding, property holding, or intellectual property holding, depending on their suitability to the company’s objectives.

Step 2 : Choose a Legal Business Name

Choose a unique and relevant name for your business. Ensure it follows Dubai naming conventions, avoiding offensive language and references to religious or political groups.

Step 3: Apply for a License

Preparing and organizing all necessary documents and agreements is advised for a smooth registration process and submitting documents to relevant authority. These documents are important for legal compliance, information verification, and obtaining the necessary approvals. After preparing the documents, submit them to the relevant authorities to get your required license.

Dubai Holding Company Setup Cost

The cost of setting up a holding company in Dubai varies based on several factors, including the chosen jurisdiction (mainland or free zone), the type of license required, and additional services needed. Generally, for a mainland holding company, the costs can be higher due to the requirement of government fees, registration charges, and potentially, office rental expenses.

In contrast, setting up a holding company in one of Dubai free zones might be more cost-effective. Free zones offer packages that often include licensing fees, office space, and service charges. While each free zone has its own pricing structure, they typically provide more economical options compared to mainland setups.

Additional costs to consider include legal fees, paperwork processing, and potential consultancy fees if assistance from business setup consultants is sought. Overall, while costs can vary significantly, setting up a holding company in Dubai is generally seen as a financially worthwhile option for many investors.

Types of Holding Companies in Dubai

There are two types of holding companies in Dubai:

1. Onshore Holding Company

Your first choice is to create an onshore or mainland holding company in the UAE. For this, you need to register as a commercial entity under UAE law. The Ministry of Economy (MoE) oversees such businesses, and compliance with the UAE Companies’ Legislation is mandatory. This law permits your mainland holding company to oversee commercial and administrative tasks through its subsidiaries in the UAE and overseas. However, it cannot directly engage in trading or business activities.

2. Free Zone Holding Company

Alternatively, you can set up a holding company in one of the UAE free zones. The UAE has over 60 free zones in Emirates like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, designed to boost foreign investment and business. Operating in a free zone offers more operational flexibility and several benefits. To launch a Free Zone Holding Company in the UAE, select from numerous business-oriented free zones in the country.


Q1. Why is it important to form a holding company?

Ans: Forming a holding company is important as it can manage investments and own shares of other companies, reducing financial risk and allowing for centralized control. It provides legal protection for your assets and can offer tax benefits. This structure simplifies the management of multiple subsidiaries or investments.

Q2. What is the minimum share capital for opening a holding company in Dubai?

Ans: In Dubai, the minimum share capital for opening a holding company varies depending on the specific free zone or mainland jurisdiction chosen, but generally, there’s no minimum capital requirement. However, some free zones might have their own specific requirements. It’s advisable to consult with a business setup consultant for precise information.

Q3. How long does it take for a holding company to be incorporated in Dubai?

Ans: The process of incorporating a holding company in Dubai typically takes from one week to a month, depending on the jurisdiction and type of company being set up. This timeframe includes obtaining necessary approvals, completing legal formalities, and registering with the relevant authorities. The process can be expedited with proper guidance and complete documentation.

Q4. What is the function of a holding company?

Ans: The primary function of a holding company is to own shares in other companies, providing a layer of control and management over these subsidiaries. It serves as a vehicle for corporate structuring, facilitating more effective management and financial strategies. Holding companies also help in asset protection and risk management across different business units.

Q5. Where Can You Setup Your Holding Company in Dubai?

Ans: In Dubai, you can set up your holding company in various locations, including free zones like Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), each offering unique advantages.
Mainland Dubai is also an option, offering greater flexibility in business operations and access to the UAE market. The choice depends on your business needs, activities, and preferred benefits.


Setting up a holding company in Dubai is a smart move for business owners. It is easy to start, with no minimum money needed in many areas and a quick setup process. These companies are great for controlling other businesses and keeping risks low. Dubai offers different places to set up, like free zones or the mainland, each with its own benefits. Overall, Dubai is a great choice for anyone looking to manage their businesses under one umbrella.

Umber Awan
Umber Awan

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