What is the difference between a Local Partner and a Local Service Agent in the UAE?
Local Sponsor – 51% Partner A Local Sponsor is a 51% shareholder in a Limited Liability Company also known as an LLC. In Mainland UAE a foreign investor can only hold 49% of the company shares and the remaining 51% of the shares must be held by a local Emirati. The legal structure of an LLC requires the local partner to be named as a shareholder on the Trade licence as well as in the Memorandum of Association (MOA) which is a constitutional document for the LLC and is signed in front of and notarized by a Public Notary. However, to enable the foreign investor to manage and operate the company with autonomy the local partner will waive their rights to the business including the profit within the MOA in return for an annual fee.
Local Service Agent A Local Service Agent is required for all Foreign Branch, Representative or Professional licences in mainland UAE. The Local Service Agent is not a partner in the company and the ownership of the company lies 100% with the foreign investor. The role of the Local Agent is to be the representative of the company within the Governmental departments and to facilitate registrations with the various municipalities.