The issue of choosing an office or other commercial space for carrying on business when opening a company in the UAE requires the detailed consideration. This is because this matter has its specifics in the UAE which is not characteristic of other countries. There are three fundamentally different types of companies in the UAE, and each type of legal entities has its regulations on office and other commercial spaces.
Let us start with the international business companies, which are also referred to as offshore companies. There is some restriction for such companies: they do not have a right to have any real office or other commercial space in the UAE. The companies that belong to this type have only a registered address in the UAE. This address is the address of the registered agent of an offshore company.
The second category of the UAE companies includes the onshore companies, which are opened in the Free Trade Economic Zones. Such companies are subject to two different regulations. In those Free Trade Zones, where it is possible, the companies may choose between virtual or real office. In other Free Trade Zones, the rental of real premises (office or warehouse / industrial space with office) is mandatory. In the second case the rule that the office or other space should be not less than 50 sq. m. is typically applied. Besides, one may rent a virtual office or real premises only in the free zone, where the company is registered. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention to this factor when choosing an FTZ. Having saved on registering a company in an FTZ that is located far from Dubai, you can face a situation when you will need an office in Dubai, but you will not be able to rent it, as your company is registered not in Dubai.
The third type of companies – the companies registered on the mainland of the UAE. The companies that belong to this type can rent property on the whole territory of the UAE except for the territory of the FTZ. Such companies are subject to the requirement of renting office space with the area of at least 30 sq. m.
It should be noted that in addition to the above regulations when starting a business in the UAE and having to rent a real office or other premises, each company must have individual space. Renting one room for several companies or sub-renting are prohibited.
It is also important to understand that the commercial space in the UAE is clearly classified by categories – office, retail, industrial, etc. Their usage is permitted only following the type of premises. The specifics of renting commercial space in the UAE also lies in the fact that the number of employment visas, which can be issued by the company to its shareholders and employees, depends on the size and the type of the premises leased.