Mainland company setup

Business setup in Dubai mainland offers huge opportunities for entrepreneurs. The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the regulatory authority for issuing mainland licenses in the UAE.  

What is a mainland license?

A mainland license, also referred to as an onshore license, gives people the opportunity to run their business inside the UAE and internationally without any limitations. The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the regulatory authority for issuing these licenses in the UAE.

According to UAE company law, a mainland company setup in Dubai and the rest of the UAE requires a local partner or a local service agent. The type of business setup in Dubai mainland will determine whether you need a local sponsor or a local service agent.

A local sponsor will maintain 51% of the company shares, however rest assured that as the business owner, you can retain control of the business in exchange for a set annual fee.

A local service agent, on the other hand, doesn’t maintain shareholding authority and instead acts as the company representative in all administrative dealings with government departments.

Advantages of mainland company setup

  • The freedom to rent commercial space in any area
  • The ability to conduct a wide range of business activities
  • The option to trade anywhere in the UAE and internationally
  • The ability to open a corporate bank account easily
  • The advantage to bid on government projects

Mainland company setup license types

Professional license

  • Encompasses a wide range of service activities 

Commercial license

  • Encompasses a wide range of trading activities 

Manufacturing / industrial license

  • Encompasses a wide range of manufacturing  activities 

Mainland company setup license types

Professional license

  • Encompasses a wide range of service activities 

Commercial license

  • Encompasses a wide range of trading activities 

Manufacturing / industrial license

  • Encompasses a wide range of manufacturing  activities 

Mainland company
legal structures

Mainland company
legal structures

  • Sole establishment
  • LLC (Limited Liability Company)
  • Civil company
  • Branch
  • Representative office
  • Subsidiary

Mainland company setup process

01.

Choosing your business activity

Our team of company formation specialists will ensure you choose the right jurisdiction and business activity when setting up your mainland company. We advise you on the most economical and suitable options.

02.

Choose your company structure

Depending on your business activity, you can either select a sole establishment or an LLC. A sole establishment will allow you 100% shareholding whereas an LLC will be 51% owned by a local sponsor.

03.

Getting the trade name approved

At Decisive Zone, our team of experts can secure the company name availability and registration. If the company name is not available, we’ll advise you on suitable alternatives.

04.

Getting an initial license approval

Your dedicated company formation specialist in Dubai will ensure you complete the license application process – quickly and hassle-free.

05.

Getting an external approval (if required)

06.

Having a license issued

If you wish to process visas for yourself or your employees, your relationship manager can begin processing your Establishment Card and labour file.

07.

Opening your company's bank account

At Decisive Zone, we have an expansive network of banking experts who will assist you in opening a corporate bank account. 

08.

Getting an establishment card

Once this is received the owner can apply for visas. 

09.

Processing your visa

Our team of visa specialist will assist you with your visa related queries. 

10.

Labour file

If you want to hire employees.

Mainland company setup exceptions

Remember that if you’re a non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) national looking to set up a business with a mainland commercial or industrial license in the UAE, then you will need to partner with a local sponsor. If, however, you are setting up a professional services license, a local service agent will suffice.

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