UAE: Is it mandatory for person leaving country to cancel company's license?

The decision depends on the individual's plans of returning back to the country


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 4:12 PM

Question: I registered a company in the UAE and got an investor visa based on it. I am now planning to leave the country. Do I need to cancel the licence or will it expire on its own? Please advise.

Answer: The UAE has several jurisdictions where a company may be registered. Since you have not mentioned the specific emirate, we may respond to your questions from a general perspective.

In the UAE, licenses for business entities or companies in most jurisdictions are generally given for a year. At the end of such a duration i.e., a year, the license needs to be renewed by paying renewal fees and submitting the documentation required by the competent authorities. If such renewal is not done on time, then the validity of the license expires on its own.

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However, this does not mean that the entity shall cease to exist, or the licence gets cancelled on its own. Instead, the entity shall continue to exist in the records and registers of the governing authority as an entity with an expired license. This means that the entity despite its existence will not be allowed to carry out its activities as per its license, as the license will be expired.

The license may be renewed at any time later on, upon payment of the applicable fees with applicable penalties (if any) and submitting requisite documents.

As to whether you need to cancel your company’s license, shall depend entirely on your plans to return to the UAE. If you are leaving the UAE for good, then it would be prudent on your part to liquidate/wind up your company entirely before you depart from the UAE. The liquidation/ winding up (as the case may be) will have to be done in accordance with the applicable laws of the jurisdiction in which the company is incorporated. Such a process shall ensure that your company is fully terminated, and no further action or claim can lie against your company.

However, should you wish to return to the UAE in a few years, you may elect to sustain your company’s licenses annually or revive the licenses upon your return. This shall allow you to obtain visas in the UAE, under the company’s sponsorship.

As an alternative, you may also elect to sell/transfer all your shares in the company to another legal person (i.e., an individual or a corporate entity) and resign from all management positions in the company. That way, you may sever your relationship with your company.

It would also be advisable on your part to consult with a legal practitioner specialising in corporate laws in the UAE, who may provide you with the necessary advice and assistance on the matter.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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