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Business Setup in Sharjah

Sharjah is one of the seven emirates and is also known as the “Cultural Capital of the UAE,”. It is a vibrant and bustling city with a thriving business landscape. The city recently announced an ambition to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) by 30% in the coming years. The emirate is rapidly transforming into a business powerhouse, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe.

Business setup in Sharjah comes with a host of benefits. The city offers a tax-friendly environment, easy access to regional and international markets, and a skilled workforce. Additionally, Sharjah is known for its business-friendly regulations and incentives which makes it easier for entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses.

If you’re an Indian entrepreneur looking to establish a company in Sharjah, here we’ll provide you with all the information you need to kickstart your business hassle-free, including company registration, required licenses, benefits, costs, and much more so you can make an informed decision for your entrepreneurial journey.

Why Choose Business Setup in Sharjah?

There are several reasons why Sharjah can be an attractive location for Indian entrepreneurs to set up business:

1. Cost-effective

Sharjah offers competitive costs compared to other emirates in the UAE. This includes affordable office space, business licenses, and even lower living expenses which can benefit both you and any employees you hire locally.

2. Free Zones

Sharjah has several Free Zones catering to various industries, from technology and media to logistics and manufacturing. These Free Zones offer significant benefits like 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified customs procedures.

3. Investor-Friendly Policies

The Sharjah government actively promotes foreign investment with a stable legal framework and business-friendly policies. This includes minimal bureaucracy and a streamlined business setup process.

4. No Currency Restrictions

Sharjah allows for full repatriation of profits and capital, with no currency restrictions. This financial freedom is a major advantage for Indian businesses.

5. Proximity to Dubai

Sharjah’s proximity to Dubai allows businesses to leverage the emirate’s well-developed infrastructure, world-class events, and established business networks while still enjoying Sharjah’s cost advantages.

6. Large Indian Community

There’s a well-established Indian community in Sharjah, which can provide valuable support networks and potential customers for Indian businesses.

Business Setup in Sharjah Mainland vs Freezone

Setting up a business in Sharjah offers two primary options: Mainland and Free Zone. Each has its distinct advantages and considerations.

Sharjah Mainland

  • 100% foreign ownership for most of the business activity but may require a local Emirati sponsor for some business activities.
  • Offers greater flexibility in business activities you can conduct. You can trade freely within the UAE.
  • Limited corporate tax and no income tax, but there might be specific fees depending on your activity.
  • Requires a physical office space to register your business.
  • Typically allows for easier visa sponsorship for employees once your office space meets specific size requirements.

Sharjah Freezone

  • Offers 100% foreign ownership and eliminates the need for a local sponsor.
  • May have restrictions on business activities depending on the specific free zone.
  • Offers tax exemptions on corporate and income tax, and import/export duties (within limitations).
  • Freezone authorities often offer simplified visa procedures and may have quotas for employee visas.
  • May offer specific industry-focused benefits depending on the Freezone you choose (e.g., media production facilities in a media Freezone).

Types of Business License Available in Sharjah

Sharjah offers several business license options depending on your business activity:

1. Commercial License

This is the most common license required for businesses involved in trading activities such as import, export, wholesale, retail, and distribution of goods.

2. Industrial License

This license is necessary for businesses engaged in manufacturing, processing, assembling, or other industrial activities within Sharjah.

3. Professional License

This license is required for businesses offering professional services such as consulting, engineering, design, legal, accounting, IT, and other similar services.

4. Freelance Permit

This is a relatively new option suitable for self-employed individuals working on freelance projects in areas like photography, writing, graphic design, and consulting (depending on the specific freelance activity).

How to Start a Business in Sharjah?

Starting a business in Sharjah as an Indian entrepreneur involves several key steps. 

1. Business Activity

Identify the specific products or services you’ll be offering. Research market demand and ensure your activity aligns with Sharjah’s regulations (especially if considering the Mainland).

2. Select the Jurisdiction

Decide between Mainland or Freezone. Research the different Freezone options in Sharjah if that’s your chosen route, considering industry-specific benefits.

3. Choose a Business Structure

Choose an appropriate legal structure for your business, such as:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) (most popular choice)
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or Free Zone Company (FZC)

4. Choose a Business Name

Select a unique and appropriate name that complies with Sharjah naming regulations. Check for name availability with the Department of Economic Development (DED).

5. Prepare Required Documents

  • Passport copies of all partners and directors
  • Business plan
  • Local partner details (if applicable)
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current employer (if currently employed)
  • Other documents as per DED or Freezone requirements

6. Apply for Business License

Submit your application and required documents to DED (Mainland) or the chosen Freezone authority. Pay necessary fees. Depending on your business activity, you may require additional approval or permits from relevant authorities.

7. Secure Office Space

Lease or purchase office space depending on your business needs. The size of your space might influence the number of employee visas you can obtain (Mainland).

8. Open a Corporate Bank Account

Open a business bank account in Sharjah to manage your company’s finances.

9. Complete Visa Procedures

Apply for visas for yourself, your partner (if applicable), and your employees. Visa options and requirements may differ between Mainland and Freezone setups.

Consider consulting with a business setup specialist in Sharjah at Shuraa Business Setup. Our experts can guide you through the process, handle paperwork, and ensure compliance.

What is the Cost of Business Setup in Sharjah?

Sharjah Mainland license cost generally starts from AED 12,000. However, the overall cost of business setup in Sharjah can vary depending on several factors like business activity and structure.

Mainland or Freezone setups will have different cost structures. The number of visas required (linked to office space size in the Mainland) and other factors related to the scale of your operation will also impact the overall cost.

Besides these there can be additional considerations, including:

  • Government fees (license registration, establishment card, etc.)
  • Business name reservation
  • Local partner fees (if required in Mainland setup)
  • Office space rent (might be higher in Mainland)
  • Visa processing fees
  • Bank account opening charges

To get a more accurate estimate, consult with our business setup specialist in Sharjah. They can assess your specific needs and provide a customized cost breakdown.

Start Your Business Journey Today With Shuraa

Business setup in Sharjah offers great opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs. The emirate’s strategic location, excellent infrastructure, and business-friendly environment make it an attractive place to set up various types of businesses. Although setting up a business involves many steps, you don’t have to do it alone.

At Shuraa Business Setup, we understand the needs of Indian entrepreneurs. Our experts can assist you with everything from getting the right licenses and finding office space to handling all the paperwork and PRO services. This way, you can focus on growing your business in Sharjah while we take care of the details.

Ready to start your business journey in Sharjah? Reach out to Shuraa Business Setup today and let us help you turn your business idea into reality.