Doing business in the UAE and Turkey

Investors with UAE residence visas or Turkey citizenship can register companies in these countries. Opening a business in the Middle East helps to enter new markets and optimise taxes.

Summary of doing business in the Middle East with second residency or citizenship

  1. Registering a company in the UAE or Turkey allows businesses to enter new markets and, in some cases, optimise taxes.

  2. One can open a company in a Free Zone and Mainland in the UAE. In both cases, foreigners can own 100% of the company, but there are restrictions on the activities outside Free Zones.

  3. Registering a company in a UAE Free Zone allows a business to reduce the tax burden: for example, not to pay VAT and to get an exemption from corporate tax for up to 50 years.

  4. The UAE residence visas are available to those who register companies in the country or on other grounds like purchasing real estate.

  5. Opening a company in Turkey can be profitable if the business is export-oriented. Such companies can be registered in a free economic zone and get tax benefits. Besides, Turkey has a duty-free trade agreement with the European Union.

  6. On paper, there are no residency requirements for LLC directors in Turkey. But in practice, at least one resident director is often appointed to simplify work with the tax service and banks.

  7. Turkey citizenship can be obtained by investing $500,000+ in a business.

Julia Loko

Material prepared by Julia Loko, Investment programs expert

April 27, 2024

Frequently asked questions

  • Can foreigners do business in the UAE?

    Yes, they can. If a company is registered in a Free Zone, a foreigner can own 100% of its shares. But there are some restrictions for mainland companies.

  • Is it easy to do business in the UAE?

    Yes, it is. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, the UAE is 1st in the Middle East and 16th among 190 states worldwide.

    The UAE attracts entrepreneurs with low taxes, ease of registering a business, innovations, and government support for entrepreneurship.

  • What are the risks of doing business in the UAE?

    The UAE is considered to be safe and easy to do business in. However, there are always risks of bureaucracy and strict Due Diligence. Having a UAE residence visa usually simplifies communication with local authorities and banks.

  • Is it a good idea to do business in Turkey?

    Yes, it surely is for export businesses as they can benefit from government support, duty-free trade with the EU and opportunities to optimise taxes.

  • Can a foreigner own a business in Turkey?

    Yes, there is no formal requirement to be a Turkish resident or citizen to do business in the country. However, companies usually appoint a resident director to make interacting with the tax service and local banks easier. For example, a bank may request an ID card or a Turkish passport during a Customer Due Diligence.

  • What are the risks of doing business in Turkey?

    Turkey is known for its complex bureaucracy, and requirements may change depending on the local authority. There is a high level of corruption, too. Besides, the official currency, the Turkish lira, is quite unstable.

Best countries to do business

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Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Head of the Austrian office

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