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Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD)

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest emirate in the UAE and is the only one to have land on both the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf. The capital, Sharjah city, has long been an important strategic and commercial centre in the Arabian Gulf. It is regarded as the cultural capital of the UAE.

The government of Sharjah supports a culture of entrepreneurship and financial independence. The Emirate is home to nearly fifty thousand small and medium-sized enterprises in a variety of sectors including education, aviation, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, tourism, and professional services.

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The Basics

All Sharjah businesses (not located in a free zone) have to be licensed by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) and come under the regulation of the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL). A company incorporated under the jurisdiction of the SEDD is free to engage in business anywhere in the UAE (including free zones) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.

The most common type of company license issued by the SEDD is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Unlike free zone firms, the business can lease or buy a commercial property anywhere in Sharjah. An LLC may conduct any type of business except for banking, insurance, or investments. A SEDD registered company is not required to pay the standard 5 percent customs duty on imported goods. They also qualify for a Tax Residence Certificate from the UAE Ministry of Economy.

According to the CCL, fifty-one percent of an LLC company shares must be registered to a UAE or GCC national. The fifty one percent can be owned by a UAE or GCC corporate entity or an individual UAE or GCC sponsor. Foreign investors are sometimes weary about relinquishing fifty one percent shares of a company to an unknown person. To reduce anxiety amongst foreign investors, Dubai Business Zone has created special corporate shareholder structure that allows foreign investor to essentially maintain full control of their business and remain CCL compliant.

Through our corporate shareholder package, we can cede all management, financial and operational control of the business back to the foreign shareholder in return for an annual fee. The benefit of the corporate shareholder system is that the foreign investor is not dealing with an individual person who can be busy, on holiday, become ill or pass away. A corporate entity on the other hand, can last in perpetuity and can ensure your best interests.


An LLC in Sharjah can operate under these types of licenses:

Commercial License

Encompassing trading activities;

Industrial License

Encompassing industrial or manufacturing activities;

Professional License

Encompassing professional services;

Documents Required to Start a Company in Sharjah

The SEDD is moving towards offering a greater variety of services online, therefore the below might be subject to change as the e-government initiatives switch to limit the amount of paperwork required.

Current list of documents required:

  • SEDD license form
  • Brand certificate
  • Copy of the passport and Emirates ID card of the UAE or GCC national or company documents of the LLC shareholding company
  • Copy of the passport and Emirates ID of the foreign shareholder(s) and general manager
  • Memorandum of association (notarised at the public notary)
  • Lease contract along with map of the location
  • External approvals (if applicable)
  • If industrial license, technical and environmental assessments might be required
  • If professional license, educational documents proving proficiency in the service offered may be request if applicable
  • If the foreign shareholder has an existing UAE residence visa, a NOC from the sponsor is needed

Timeframe to Setup Company in Sharjah

There is no standard timeframe to the incorporation of an LLC by SEDD because it can greatly vary based on the nature of your business activity. For most unregulated business activities, it can take around 2 to 3 months. If you require approval of external ministries, this process can take several additional months and incur extra costs.