Frequently Asked Questions

The most common Q and A regarding Creative City Free Zone business license registration and Visa related services.

License Registration

Can I deal directly with Creative City if my License is registered through an agent?

All services should be provided by the respective agent that your company registered with. We can only assist in cases were the agent is no longer available or unable to provide the requested service. The designated agent code can be found on your license next to the license number.

If you have a cmoplaint regarding the agent’s services you can submit it to

What are the steps of license registration?

After finalizing the License Package with the sales team, the following documents will be required:

  1. License application form, duly filled
  2. Passport copy in color, of owner(s) & person in‐charge (first page, residence page or any UAE entry stamp here in UAE)
  3. Brief business activity / Business Activity
  4. Other relevant documents as requested

Once your documents have been assessed, and your company name has been approved, we shall send you the initial approval via email, along with the invoice for payment.

Note: Some nationalities need to apply for license pre‐approval before company set‐up. We shall advise you accordingly.

Once the License fee is paid, it will take 2-3 working days to issue the License.

After License issue, it is mandatory to submit the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) Declaration form online at the following page:

Once the License is issued, what set of documents to expect?

The following set of documents will be provided:

  • Company Trade License
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Shares Certificate
  • Articles of Incorporation / MOA

Office Lease Agreement (as actual or flexi‐desk, as chosen by client)

Note: All sets of MOA have to be signed by the client in the presence of a representative.

Do I need establishment card?

If you have opted for a license package with visas, the establishment card will be issued from Fujairah Immigration. After receipt of the card registration fee, the process will take from 7 to 10 working days. A copy will be provided for your reference, while the original retained.

How to renew my license registration?

If your license have been registered with one of our agents, you have to contact your respective agent with the renewal request.

In case company have been registered directly with us, please email the renewal application form. at

What is the processing time for registering my company in Creative City?

The processing time for registering a company is 2-3 working days.

Can I set up a company at Creative City if I’m not based in the UAE?

You can set up a company if you have a visit UAE entry stamp or a residence visa at the time of company registration. 

Visa and Immigration

How can I get a residence visa?

If you have opted for a license package with visas, once your license registration is done, your company establishment card will be issued, then you may apply for visas under the company sponsorship.

What are the steps of visa application?

The first step is to apply for an entry permit. This is essentially a temporary visa that allows you access to the UAE for up to 60 days. Once you have obtained your entry permit you can enter the country to make your full visa application. It is best not to leave the UAE and re-enter until you have obtained your residency visa. Doing so can cause difficulties with immigration.

If your application is successful, you will receive your entry permit via email.

Once you have your entry permit, you must activate it. This is known as a status change and can be done in one of three ways. You can opt for an in-country status change which requires you to send your passport to UAE immigration services who will stamp and activate your visa.

Alternatively, you can activate your entry permit via an out of country status change – this an option if you are out of the country when making your visa application. Here you simply present your passport and entry permit to immigration at a UAE airport. It is then stamped and activated.

Finally, you can activate your entry permit via what is known as a border run. Here you would leave the UAE by land and then re-enter, once again presenting your visa to an immigration official who will stamp and activate it. This option is only available if you already hold a passport that permits visa-on-arrival access to the UAE.

With your entry permit activated, you will then need to undergo a standardized medical test. This includes a blood test and x-ray.

Providing you pass your medical you can then apply for an Emirates ID card. As part of this process you may be required to visit an immigration center to submit biometric information such as your fingerprints and eye scan.

Finally, your residence visa will need to be issued and stamped. To complete this final stage you must submit your passport to immigration. They will then affix and stamp your visa in your passport before sending it back. This process usually takes around two weeks.

What are the benefits of UAE visa?

There are many great benefits of holding a UAE residency visa. As well as being able to live and work in the Emirates, as a resident you are also able to open a personal bank account with zero income tax and access other financial facilities, apply for a UAE driving license, access government health services and facilities, enrol your children in government and private schools and travel visa free to destinations including Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Azerbaijan if needed.

Do you need my original passport for issuing the visa?

No, we only require a color copy of the passport for issuing the e-visa. The original passport is required only at the stages of visa amendment and residency stamping.

What are the steps of employment visa application?

The steps are the following:
  • Employment E-Visa Application (processing time- 2-3 working days *subject to Government approval )
  • Once visa is issued, you can entry the country using E-visa; or Visa Amendment for applicants within the UAE who do not wish to exit the country
  • Medical Test
  • Applying for Emirates ID
  • Residency Stamping (processing time- 2-3 working days)
  • Work Permit/ Labour Card (processing time- 2-3 working days)

Can I renew my visa directly with the Immigration office?

All new and renewal visa applications must be submitted to and processed by Creative City or one of our official agents.

Law and Regulations

Who is the ultimate beneficial owner?

An ultimate beneficial owner is the natural person who:

directly or indirectly owns or controls an establishment.

Owns more than 25% of the establishment’s equity,

Holds more than 25% of the establishment’s voting powers.

Has the authority to appoint or dismiss any of its board of directors.

If the above-mentioned conditions cannot be met, the senior management officer of the establishment will be considered as the ultimate beneficial owner.

Is there any entities which are exempted from UBO resolution?

They are as follows: (a) the companies in financial free zones like Abu Dhabi Gold Markets and Dubai International Financial Centre, and (b) the companies which are directly or indirectly owned or affiliated by the Federal or Emirate Government.

Entities will need to assess who constitutes a UBO and consider whether anyone is a nominee Director / Manager. The Register of Shareholders / Partners is not a new concept as this is a requirement outlined in the UAE Commercial Companies Law, as well as in respective Free Zone Companies Regulations. Although the Resolution requires additional information to be detailed (for example, voting rights).

What is an DNFBP and how to determine if you likely to be a DNFBP?

Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (“DNFBP’s) must register on a “goAML portal”.  The goAML portal is a integrated platform used to file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and/or Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR).

It is your obligatory duty under the Federal Decree Law 20 of 2018 and Article 20(2) of Cabinet Decision No. (10) of 2019, to have procedures in place to report Suspicious Transactions to manage anti-money laundering (“AML) and counter terrorist financing (“CFT”). This system will allow you to help authorities identify criminal and suspicious activity.

Click here to Determine if you likely to be a DNFBP.

Who must adopt ultimate beneficial owner procedures?

All establishments registered and licensed in the UAE, including commercial free zones.

What are the risks and Vulnerabilities of nominee shareholders and director?

A nominee shareholder is the registered owner of shares held for the benefit of another person. A nominee director is a director appointed to the board of a company to represent the interests of his/her appointer on that board. In some cases, a nominee may hold the position of director or shareholder in name only on behalf of someone else.

These arrangements may be controlled by a trust arrangement or civil contract between the nominee and actual director or shareholder. The use of nominee shareholders and directors is a common phenomenon that occurs in most countries. In some countries there is also formal recognition in law of certain scenarios in which nominee arrangements are permitted. Nominees are utilised in a number of legitimate scenarios, including to shield the nominator from public disclosure requirements or to meet legal requirements of a country in which the company is incorporated (such as requirements for companies to have a director residing domestically).

A range of service providers are known to offer formal nominee services, including legal and accounting professionals, Trusts and Corporate Services Providers, and professional nominees (people who rent their identification information to companies for nominee purposes only, but provide no additional services to the company).

The main use of a nominee arrangement is that the beneficial owner can keep their identity confidential and the information will not be disclosed as part of public registers. This can give a measure of privacy and confidentiality and protect one’s identity. There are other methods such as setting up intermediary companies though these methods might cost more to implement than a nominee shareholder arrangement.

In some countries, members of the public can do searches of public registers for companies to identify their directors and shareholders. In the UAE, the National Economic Register currently contains basic company information including the name of a company’s manager. The Beneficial Ownership and Shareholding register is currently not available to the public
but is shared with the Ministry of Economy by all company registries. In this context, the use of nominees reduces the usefulness of shareholder registers filed publicly for the purpose of identifying beneficial owners and controlling persons. Likewise, the availability of corporate directors makes it more difficult for authorities to obtain information on the control of a corporate vehicle.

Notwithstanding the legitimate purposes, nominee directors and shareholders, particularly informal nominees, are a key vulnerability. While the use of nominees is lawful (or at least not explicitly unlawful) in most jurisdictions, the role of the nominee, in many cases, is to protect or conceal the identity of the beneficial owner and controller of a company or asset.
A nominee can help overcome controls on company ownership, disguise ownership and control, circumvent directorship bans imposed by courts and to evade laws designed to manage foreign business ownership and trade. These problems are greatly exacerbated when different aspects of a corporate vehicle implicate numerous countries. Criminals often create, administer, control, own, and financially operate companies in different countries, thereby preventing authorities in any one jurisdiction from obtaining all relevant information about a corporate entity.

As a result, the availability and use of formal nominee services are vulnerable to exploitation for the purposes of disguising beneficial ownership. The presence of nominee directors and shareholders in company records can also affect law enforcement investigations by delaying the identification of the beneficial owner, or by creating false links between companies that share nominees. Therefore, the ongoing merits of this practice are questionable in the context of the significant money laundering and terrorist financing vulnerabilities associated with their use.

What is the mandatory self-identification to disclose the presence of nominee shareholders and director?

Given the vulnerabilities associated with the use of nominees, Registrars shall consider enhancing controls to regulate nominee arrangements with a view to promote transparency of beneficial ownership with the ultimate aim to fight corruption and money laundering activities which have been known to mask themselves behind nominees, in the UAE and

UAE enacted laws that require nominees to expressly identify themselves, to the entity itself and to their regulatory authority. This mandatory self-identification is meant to make the search for beneficial owners more transparent, as well as to impose penalties against nominees who fail to appropriately disclose their status.

UAE legislation empowers registrars to require a natural or legal person holding shares to disclose whether or not the person holds shares as trustee or nominee for or on behalf of another person and, if so, to disclose the name of the person and any instructions in relation to the transaction.


How to be in compliance with UBO procedures?

Entities must perform the following:

  1. Maintain in their headquarters each the following registers:
    • Partners/Shareholders (state the information about the ownership interests and voting rights held by each individual);
    • Real Beneficiaries (provide the reason behind being Real Beneficiaries and the date they termed as one.
    • Directors and Nominee Directors.
    • And other important documents and UBO forms submitted to authorities.
  2. Submitting undertaking to create the registry and ensure accuracy of data (which gives establishments with complex structures to start the procedures for determining their Ultimate Beneficial owner and keep their data in registers and also submit to their relevant Regulatory Authority.
  3. Notify the relevant licensing authority of any amendment regarding the initial information given, provided within fifteen (15) days of such change or amendment.
  4. Submitting the Ultimate Beneficial Owner declaration form in the systems of licensing authorities to avoid penalties

If entities failed to comply with the UBO Resolution, the UAE Ministry of Economy has announced major penalties for non-compliance to be imposed.

However, it has been assured by the ministry that, any data submitted will be kept with utmost confidentiality with no access to anyone for any purposes including the employees of the entity itself, except in case of an investigation and the required disclosure to specific official entities, according to strict internal policies and Regulations.

To submit your declaration please visit:


What are the requirement of goAML registration?

Before registering for the two stages, you must prepare the following:

  • Authorization letter from the institution you represent (download the form).
  • A copy of the passport, resident VISA, Emirates ID.
  • A copy of the commercial trade license (for companies).
  • Download the «Google Authenticator» application on the phone. (This application contains the password for the SACM protection system, which is a password that changes every minute)

What are the objectives of the Anti-Money Laundering legislation?

  • Combating money laundering practices and crimes
  • Strengthening the efforts made by the concerned authorities to combat money laundering
  • Combating terrorism financing and financing of suspicious organizations
  • Avoid violating the law and register your establishment in the approved systems to combat money laundering.

Prevent money laundering risks and help combat financing of terrorism & illegal organizations

  • Protect your investments and register your establishment in anti-money laundering systems to avoid penalties and fines.
  • For more information, please visit the Ministry of Economy website.

What are the objectives of the Anti-Money Laundering legislation?

  • Combating money laundering practices and crimes
  • Strengthening the efforts made by the concerned authorities to combat money laundering
  • Combating terrorism financing and financing of suspicious organizations
  • Avoid violating the law and register your establishment in the approved systems to combat money laundering.

Prevent money laundering risks and help combat financing of terrorism & illegal organizations

  • Protect your investments and register your establishment in anti-money laundering systems to avoid penalties and fines.
  • For more information, please visit the Ministry of Economy website.

What is the Informal Nominee Shareholders and Directors relation to the ultimate beneficial owner?

Investores may use informal nominee arrangements through which friends, family members or associates allege to be the beneficial owners of corporate entities. This can be particularly challenging given the informal and private nature of such arrangements. Discovering informal ties between the real beneficial owner and the nominee where there is no formal document, nor other proof that joins them together would require investigative practices that are beyond the reach of most company registries. This issue can be at least partially addressed by placing obligations on the nominees to disclose to the company registry the identity of the person on whose behalf they are acting and enforcing sanctions for false declarations as provided by the UAE law governing beneficial ownership.

Obscuring the relationship between the beneficial owner and an asset differs from the establishment of complex ownership and control structures in that, rather than aiming to create distance via legal complexity, it attempts to create a false or misleading picture of the true ownership and control structure. Techniques most often used to achieve this include the use of formal and informal nominees.

Informal nominee shareholders and directors perform the same function as formal nominee service providers, however their connection with the true director, shareholder, or beneficial owner is often of a personal, rather than of a professional, nature. Informal nominees commonly include spouses, children, extended family, business associates (who are being controlled by the actual owner or controller of the company), and other personal associates otherwise unrelated to the beneficial owner’s business interests. The reliance on familial nominees may stem from the ease with which the true beneficial owner can control and manage their activities.

Indeed, the relationship between an informal nominee and the actual owner or controller of a company or shares can vary significantly. Law enforcement agencies and FIUs have reported instances where foreign students and tourists have been convinced or coerced into establishing companies on behalf of third parties, sometimes in exchange for nominal
payments or other personal benefits. These individuals are recorded as directors or controlling shareholders of these companies, however they are rarely involved in the operation of the company post-formation.

Unlike formal nominee arrangements, informal nominee arrangements will rarely be governed by a contractual agreement. Furthermore, while formal nominees will always seek to insulate themselves from the activities of the legal person or arrangement, informal nominees are more likely to declare to be the beneficial owner of the legal person or arrangement in an effort to maintain the fiction created by the true beneficial owner.

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