Establish Companies in the UAE Mainland

Establish Companies in the UAE Mainland

Setting up a company in the UAE Mainland is a straightforward process, no matter which of the seven emirates you choose. You have a few options: you can apply in person at the Department of Economic Development in your chosen emirate, or you can do it all online through digital platforms. These platforms make it easy to get a commercial license and start your company in just a few minutes. If you prefer, you can also use legal offices or specialized companies to help you with the process.

A mainland company in the UAE is a business that’s officially authorized by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in any of the Emirates. This kind of company setup brings various advantages. Now, let’s explore why having a mainland company matters and get a brief overview of starting a business in Dubai’s mainland.

Here’s what you need to do: first, pick where you want your company to be located. Then, describe what kind of business you’ll be doing. Finally, pay the necessary fees for your commercial license. Once you’ve done these steps, you’ll be all set to start your business journey in the UAE Mainland!

Steps to Start Your Business in UAE Mainland

1. Define Your Business Activity:

Understand the type of business you want to start. The UAE offers 6 main types of economic licenses

  • Occupational
  • Tourism
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Agricultural
  • Professional

2. Choose Your Company Structure:

Decide on the legal structure for your company. Legal forms of businesses in the UAE

  • Sole establishment
  • Branch of a GCC company
  • Civil company
  • Branch of a local company
  • Limited liability company
  • Holding company
  • Public joint stock company
  • Representative office of a foreign company
  • Private joint stock company

3. Register Your Trade Name:

Pick a unique name for your company and register it online or in person.

4. Get Initial Approval:

Obtain a ‘green light’ from the UAE Government for your business setup.

5. Create MOA or LSA:

Depending on your company type, create a Memorandum of Association (MOA) or a local service agent agreement (LSA).

6. Select Your Business Location:

Find a physical address that fits the regulations and guidelines.

7. Secure Additional Approvals:

Some business types need extra approvals from relevant government bodies.

8. Submit Required Documents:

Provide documents like the initial approval receipt, lease contract copy, and required approvals.

9. Pay Fees and Get License:

Pay the necessary fees and get your business license.

10. Register with Chamber of Commerce:

Register your company in the emirate where it’s established.

Setting up a business in the UAE mainland involves these clear and simple steps.

Read More: How to Get Dubai Trade License

Advantages of Starting a Mainland Company in Dubai, UAE

Setting up a mainland company offers numerous benefits that can help your business thrive and succeed. Mainland companies provide a wide range of trading opportunities, full ownership control, and flexibility in choosing your location. Here are some reasons why entrepreneurs choose to establish mainland companies in the UAE.

1. Flexibility in Location and Trade

With a Dubai mainland company, you can trade freely with other businesses and have the freedom to choose your business location without any restrictions. You can offer services to the government and directly connect with consumers anywhere in the UAE. Moreover, setting up a mainland company allows you to expand your presence by opening multiple branches across different Emirates, enhancing your business reach.

2. Diverse Business Scope

Mainland businesses have the advantage of engaging in a variety of business activities. If you wish to diversify your offerings, you can easily register the new business activity with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and start trading in that area without any complications.

3. Access to Lucrative Government Contracts

A significant benefit of starting a mainland business in Dubai is the potential to secure government contracts. The UAE government invests heavily in various projects, including infrastructure and social facilities. As a registered mainland company, you’re well-positioned to tap into these lucrative opportunities and contribute to the country’s growth.

4. Complete Ownership Control

Unlike before, where full ownership was limited to free zones or certain professional services setups, recent changes have allowed 100% foreign ownership of mainland companies in the UAE. This change was introduced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This is great news for international investors looking to conduct business in the UAE, as they can have complete ownership without needing a local partner. While some strategic sectors may still require a local partner, many sectors now offer the possibility of full foreign ownership.

Starting a mainland company in Dubai opens doors to extensive possibilities, empowering foreign investors to actively contribute to the UAE’s flourishing economy.

Transitioning from Free Zone to Mainland Company Formation in Dubai, UAE

If you currently have a business in a free zone and are thinking about changing to a mainland company structure, we’re here to assist you. Right now, more than 30,000 companies are operating in the largest free zones of the UAE. For foreign business owners, setting up in a free zone offers ready-made business benefits. However, this approach comes with certain limitations. While free zones are a great starting point, if you’re looking to grow, it’s a smart move to transition to a mainland company.

Shifting from a free zone setup to a mainland company is a crucial step for your business’s success. With the help of the right UAE national sponsor or a company formation expert, making this shift from free zone to the UAE mainland becomes a well-informed and manageable decision.

How to set up a mainland company in Dubai?

Here’s your easy-to-follow checklist for starting a mainland business in Dubai:

  1. Pick Your Business Activity: Decide what type of business you want to do.
  2. Find the Right Location: Choose the best place in the UAE for your business.
  3. Sort Out Your Legal Structure: Figure out how your business will be legally organized.
  4. Get a Local Partner: Arrange for a local sponsor or local service agent as required.
  5. Give Your Business a Name: Come up with a name for your company.
  6. Apply for a Trade License: Get the necessary permission to do business in Dubai.
  7. Secure Your Workspace: Find and set up your office space.

Read More: How to Get General Trading License in Dubai, UAE

How much does it cost to set up a business in Dubai mainland?

Starting a company in Dubai mainland typically costs between AED 15,000 to AED 35,000. The exact amount can differ based on factors such as the type of license, your business’s size and type, the kind of business you’re doing, and other similar factors.

Is a Sponsor Required for Setting Up a Company in Dubai Mainland?

Yes, for foreign investors looking to start a business in Dubai mainland, having a local sponsor is a requirement. This sponsor needs to own at least 51% of the company’s shares. However, there’s an exception. If you’re establishing a business in a UAE free trade zone, then you won’t need a local sponsor.

How Mainland Companies are Taxed in Dubai?

Mainland companies in Dubai are subject to a profit tax of 9% on locally earned profits. Taxable profits begin from 375,000 AED. Any profits earned below this amount are not subject to taxation.

If You want to setup your mainland company in Dubai, UAE? Look no further! contact us our expert consultants.  Feel free to drop by or call us at +971 43827700. Send a WhatsApp Message for Chat Query on +971 557012754 or email us at

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