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Guide to UAE Establishment Card: Costs and Requirements in 2024

An establishment card is a very important document for companies that want to enter the UAE market. Regardless if you want to set up your business in Dubai Mainland, or any of the Free Zones, you have to obtain all the documentation to operate legally.

In this article, you are going to understand everything about the establishment card, such as its costs and requirements. Moreover, you will learn how to check establishment card status in Dubai.

Introduction to the UAE Establishment Card

establishment card

What is establishment card? It is an official document issued by the UAE Authorities of the jurisdiction where you have incorporated your company.

Thus, it serves as proof that your business is legally allowed to carry out its operations in the UAE where it has been registered. For this reason, companies have to get this document to demonstrate it is authorized to work.

The following is what this document contains:

  • Name of the company
  • Card number
  • Expiry date

Additionally, this document is also known by other names or terms, such as the following:

  • Establishment immigration card
  • Establishment labor card
  • Company Establishment Card, or CEC
  • Corporation Immigration Card, or CIC

It is important to point out that an establishment card is different from a business license in the UAE. Therefore, these are not the same document but both are necessary for running your business in the UAE.

Why an UAE Establishment Card Is Essential for Your Business Success

An establishment card is a must if you want to set up your presence in the UAE. Whether you want to launch an import and export business in Dubai or any other type of company, you should obtain this document too.

The following are the reasons why you need to have this document:

  • Proof of operation: as we have mentioned before, it serves as proof of authorized operations in the UAE. So, you can prove your company is legal and registered.
  • Work authorization: with this document, you can receive authorization for work for your employees. Thus, it is needed for your work permits.
  • Utilities: you need to submit this document to get connected utilities for your company, such as water, internet connection, and electricity. Also, it may be crucial for some government transactions.
  • Visa application: if you are going to apply for the cheapest residence visas in Dubai for your employees, you must submit your UAE establishment card. Also, it is necessary to apply for visas for investors and partners who live overseas.

As you can see, it is essential for your business so you can operate without any worries. Even though your company is registered, you should always keep it with you as it can be useful for several purposes.

Your business can be successful in the UAE if you follow all the guidelines and requirements. So, make sure to have this document with you to reach success.

Who Issues the UAE Establishment Card?

As an investor, you may have considered being part of the best businesses in the UAE. Thus, you have to know how to establish your company and get everything that you need to be authorized to operate.

Therefore, you have to know who is the UAE Authority in charge of issuing your license and other business documents.

Whether you are applying for an establishment card Dubai or in any other Emirate, you have to know that the registration authority is not the one that issues this document.

The following are the responsible for issuing the establishment card:

  • If your business is registered in Dubai, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFAD) is in charge of issuing it.
  • If your business is registered in any other Emirate, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP) is in charge of issuing it.

Lastly, you do not need to know how to check establishment card online, because the document has the expiry date in it. Therefore, you can renew it timely as you will have to check when it is the proper time to do it.

Step-by-Step Application Guide

Once you have followed the step-by-step process for starting your LLC in Dubai, then you have to follow a process to get your establishment card.

First of all, you have to check that you have your business license for your company. Then, you need to gather the following required documents:

  • Copy of the business license
  • If you have established an LLC, you have to submit the list of business partners and also a duplicate of the MOA
  • Passport copies for the local sponsor and authorized signatories
  • In the case of a manager, a copy of an authorization by the Notary Public

Keep in mind that the documentation may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of company.

Next, you have to submit your application with the documentation either online or in person. Also, you have to pay the corresponding fees. To do this, you have the following options if you are in an Emirate other than Dubai:

  • Enter the Smart Services System (Website) of the ICP. Since this is a 24/7 service you can do it at any time.
  • Go to a Typing Center according to office working hours.

If you are in Dubai, you have the following options to apply:

  • Enter the GDRFAD website to submit the application
  • Go to a Customer Happiness Center according to office working hours.

Once you have applied, you have to wait at least 48 hours to get your establishment card. And, make sure to check its validity every now and then to be aware when you have to renew it. This way, you can continue operating in the UAE without worries.

2024 Updates & Changes

Given that the Dubai establishment card is such a crucial document for businesses, the UAE is constantly aiming to ease the process of obtaining it. In this regard, they have implemented several ways to apply for it.

For example, the only current requirement to obtain this document as a business is to have a valid business license. Thus, companies must have a legal entity status.

Once they comply with this requirement, they only need to gather the required documentation and submit the application online. Therefore, the process has been constantly updated to ensure every business gets its document without too much hassle.

Staying Informed: What’s New in the Establishment Card Process

Since the UAE has been in the interest of many investors and business owners, the Authorities have established several ways to apply for the establishment card.

Thus, it is an easy process that does not need for you to go through lengthy steps. The following is what you need to do to get your establishment card number on the ICP website:

  1. Enter the ICP official website
  2. Go to “Services”
  3. Click on “Services for Organizations”
  4. You will see several options. Scroll down and click on the icon that says “Issue Establishment Card”
  5. Register or access using your UAE Pass
  6. Fill in the information requested. But check you provide the proper data
  7. Pay the service fee
  8. Wait 48 hours to receive your document electronically. But this is only if you have met the conditions.

In case you do not want to apply through the website, you can go to any of the Typing Centers. Thus, you have to do the following:

  • Visit the nearest Typing Center.
  • Get a ticket and wait.
  • Submit the application along with the documents.
  • Pay the service fee.
  • After this, you will receive an email or text message indicating that your order has been created.
  • Get the establishment card after the application is approved.

If you are in Dubai, then you have to go through the following steps:

  1. Enter the GDRFAD website
  2. Click on “Services”
  3. Go to “Establishment Support Services”
  4. Click on “Issuance of Establishment Card”
  5. Click on “Establishment card for institutions in the Private Sector/Free Zone”
  6. Login to the service
  7. Fill out the application form and attach the documents
  8. Pay the fees and submit the application
  9. In 48 hours, you should receive your document

Exploring the Expenses: A Guide to UAE Establishment Card Costs

A crucial aspect of applying for an establishment card is to pay the fees. Keep in mind that the costs may vary depending on the jurisdiction and type of company.

The following is a detailed cost of the service through the ICP website:

  • Application fee: AED 50
  • Issuance fee: AED 200
  • Electronic Service fee: AED 10

Also, you have to consider the establishment card renewal fees, as you will have to renew it to continue operating in the UAE.

The following is the cost for renewal through the GDRFAD:

  • Renewal fee: AED 100 per year, so a total of AED 200. In addition to the 5% VAT
  • Service fee: AED 50
  • If you want to get the document faster, you could pay an urgent fee of AED 100.

If you renew it through the ICP, the cost will be the following:

  • Application fee: AED 50
  • Issuance fee: AED 200
  • Electronic Service fee: AED 10

Sustaining Your Presence: Renewing Your UAE Establishment Card

Following an in-depth guide for starting your business in Dubai involves also knowing how to sustain your presence. For this reason, you have to know how to renew your card timely, otherwise you may face legal consequences.

First of all, you have to do the establishment card renewal 2 months before its expiry date. In case you have not noticed it expired, then you have to pay a fine for late renewal. Since this is costly for your business, make sure to be aware when you have to do this process to avoid fines.

Next, you have to gather the required documentation. It may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but typically you have to look for the list of partners, authorization letters, and passport copies. And, in other cases, no documentation is needed.

After that, you can submit the renewal application following the next process, if you are in Dubai:

  1. Enter the GDRFAD website
  2. Click on “Services”
  3. Select “Establishment Support Services”
  4. Click on “Renewal of Establishment Card”
  5. Click on “Renewal of Establishment Card – All categories”
  6. Log in to the service using your username or UAE Pass
  7. Fill in the application data
  8. Pay the service fee

If you are in any other Emirate, then you can renew your establishment card through the ICP website following the next steps:

  1. Enter the ICP website
  2. Log in using your UAE Pass
  3. Fill out the application form
  4. Pay the fees
  5. Submit the application

In both cases, it is necessary to wait 48 hours to receive your renewed card

Conclusion: Launching Your UAE Venture

establishment card

Navigating the complexities of establishing a business in the UAE can be overwhelming for many business owners. Even so, you have to ensure you get everything you need to run your business legally.

With your establishment card, you can carry out your operations in the UAE without any trouble. What is more, you can ensure legal standing and compliance, mitigate risks, ensure operational efficiency, and seamless transactions.

As you can see, launching your UAE Venture involves having a thorough knowledge of the legal framework and requirements. Thus, you can improve your chances of success by partnering with experts who can take you through the road to success.

Getting your establishment card uae is the last step for ensuring your business has everything to apply for visas, pay for services and utilities, and obtain work permits. With a service provider, you can get this card easily, and expand your presence in the UAE.

Embarking on Your Business Journey with Confidence

Setting up your company in the UAE does not have to be a challenge. You can contact us to let us help you start your business by assisting you on several matters, such as getting your establishment card.

Connect Services Middle East

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping you navigate the local laws and regulations and provide you with customized solutions that suit your unique business needs. We believe in building long-term relationships with our clients, and our commitment to their success is at the core of everything we do. Whether you are a small startup or a large corporation, we are here to support you every step of the way.

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