Establish Your Business
in Dubai Mainland

A Dubai Mainland license is an onshore company license that permits entrepreneurs to conduct business activities both within and outside the UAE. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai is responsible for issuing trade licenses for mainland companies.

Benefits of Setting Up in Dubai Mainland

Setting up your company in Dubai Mainland offers several advantages, including

Strategic Location: Dubai's strategic geographical position connects businesses to markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Tax Benefits: Enjoy favorable tax conditions with no personal income tax and low corporate taxes.
Full Business Freedom: Engage in a wide range of business activities without restrictions.
Government Support: Benefit from various government initiatives aimed at fostering a pro-business environment.
Access to a Large Market: Tap into a diverse and rapidly growing market with high purchasing power.

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Mainland

Start Your Own Business in UAE From AED 10,850

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About Mainland

Mainland refers to areas outside free zones, regulated by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Mainland companies can operate across The UAE and globally. Dubai mainland licenses don't require a local sponsor for nearly 1000 commercial and industrial activities.

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Steps to Launch a Business

How to Set Up a Business in Dubai

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Documentation

Prioritize Your Business Growth, We'll Take Care of the Paperwork.

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Business License

Simplify the Process of Securing Your UAE Trade License.

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Visa Process

Get Your Visas Without the
Stress.

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Bank Account

Seamless Corporate Bank Account Establishment.

Explore Business Activities with a
Dubai Mainland License

Dubai is one of the world’s most desirable business destinations, attracting a steady influx of investors and entrepreneurs due to the ease of setting up a business and the numerous lucrative benefits offered. With a wide range of business activities to choose from, Creative Zone will guide you in selecting the most suitable activities for your company, ensuring you maximize your potential in the UAE market.

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Industrial License

An Industrial License under a Mainland Company permits a business to engage in industrial activities, including production, segregation, accumulation, and packaging. This license is primarily granted to businesses involved in transforming natural materials or resources into finished goods.

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Commercial License

The Commercial License is designed for companies that wish to engage in the buying and selling of goods, commodities, and various trade activities within the UAE. This license, issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED), is also granted to general and specialized traders, as well as businesses involved in retail, construction, and real estate sectors.

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Professional License

A Professional License is issued to individuals or corporations that offer services based on skills, talent, and expertise. This includes professionals working in fields such as accounting, design, tourism, and other sectors where services depend on natural talent, specialized skills, or extensive experience.

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Tourism License

In the travel and tourism industry, there are three types of licenses Inbound Travel License: Enables companies to manage travel and tours within the city.
Outbound Travel License: Permits companies to sell tourist packages outside Dubai.
MICE License: Allows companies to organize global meetings, conferences, and exhibitions.

Set Up a Company in the UAE
Mainland Step by Step Instructions

Starting a business in Dubai is simple with IRHA Businessmen Services. We can help you set up in a free zone, on the mainland or offshore.

Identify Your Business Path

The first crucial step in setting up a company in the UAE mainland is to decide on the industry in which you will operate. The Department of Economic Development (DED) offers a comprehensive list of over 2,000 permitted business activities. These activities cover a wide range of sectors, including trading, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and more. Unlike many free zone businesses that face restrictions on certain activities based on their location, mainland businesses in the UAE enjoy the freedom to engage in any of the DED-approved activities. This flexibility allows entrepreneurs to explore diverse business opportunities and tailor their operations to their specific goals and market demands.

Find the ideal location for your business in the UAE

After deciding on your business activity, the next step is to choose your operating location. Businesses on the UAE mainland face no restrictions on where they can set up. The ideal location will depend on various factors such as your budget and the nature of your business activity. If your company relies heavily on imports and exports, setting up near one of the UAE’s busy ports—such as Jebel Ali, Mina Zayed, or Mina Khalid—would be highly advantageous. Another benefit of setting up a mainland business in Dubai is the ease of opening branch offices. This flexibility allows businesses to establish multiple locations and expand their local presence over time.

Choose the Right Legal Structure for Your Business

From a legal standpoint, foreign entrepreneurs have several options for setting up businesses on the UAE mainland. The most common structure is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). An LLC is an independent legal entity owned by two or more shareholders. To engage in commercial or industrial activities, including manufacturing, a business must form an LLC. This structure requires a local sponsor.

On the other hand, professional service companies have the advantage of not needing a local sponsor and can be 100% foreign-owned. This provides greater flexibility and control for foreign entrepreneurs looking to offer professional services in the UAE. Stay tuned for more details on this next!

Name your company

Choosing a company trade name that accurately reflects your brand and professional values is a crucial decision for any entrepreneur. In the UAE, there are specific regulations to follow. Your company name must steer clear of offensive language, religious references, or any connections to existing organizations. Additionally, only full personal names are allowed in the trade name. When using names in different languages, they must be spelled phonetically rather than translated. To ensure compliance and make an informed choice, consult our comprehensive guide on Choosing a Company Name in the UAE.

Begin Your Mainland Trade Licence Acquisition

The next step is to apply for your mainland trade licence with the Department of Economic Development (DED). To complete your application, you'll need to gather and submit several important documents. These typically include the completed trade licence application form, a memorandum outlining sponsor arrangements, details of ownership percentages among all partners, and copies of shareholder visas. Ensuring you have all required documents in order will help streamline the application process and facilitate a smoother approval.

Secure your office space

Once you’ve obtained your business trading licence, the next step is to secure office space. In the UAE mainland, serviced offices are typically owned and maintained by a third party and come fully equipped, allowing you to move in immediately. These offices usually include desks, phone and internet access, and reception services. Lease payments generally cover rent, office equipment usage, and utility bills. On the other end of the spectrum, there are ‘shell and core’ offices, which require a full fit-out and decoration, with bills being additional to rent costs. There is also a middle ground: pre-fitted office spaces where the business owner provides their own equipment and pays utility bills separately. This variety ensures you can find an office setup that fits your needs and budget.

Apply for the Appropriate Visas

In the UAE mainland, there is no limit on the number of visas a business owner can apply for. The general guideline is 100 sq. ft. of office or warehouse space per visa. Exceptions exist, such as for companies with many remote employees. Mainland business owners can also sponsor visas for dependents, including family members and domestic staff.

Foreign entrepreneurs setting up a mainland business are eligible for an investment visa, allowing them and their families to live and work in the UAE for up to three years. This provides stability and the opportunity to thrive in the UAE’s vibrant business environment.

Once you’ve obtained your business trading licence, the next step is to secure office space. In the UAE mainland, serviced offices are typically owned and maintained by a third party and come fully equipped, allowing you to move in immediately. These offices usually include desks, phone and internet access, and reception services. Lease payments generally cover rent, office equipment usage, and utility bills. On the other end of the spectrum, there are ‘shell and core’ offices, which require a full fit-out and decoration, with bills being additional to rent costs. There is also a middle ground: pre-fitted office spaces where the business owner provides their own equipment and pays utility bills separately. This variety ensures you can find an office setup that fits your needs and budget.

Advantages of Setting Up a Company in a Free Zone

Companies in Dubai benefit from state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, top-notch technological tools, and highly skilled human resources. Dubai's Free Zones offer complete ownership of your company, and there are no taxes on profits or capital invested. This means you can enjoy a fully tax-free environment after setting up your business.

In addition to these advantages, forming a company in a Dubai Free Zone provides several other benefits:

Industry-Specific Zones: Each Free Zone caters to particular industries, simplifying the legal and regulatory processes associated with those sectors.
Online Business Services: Most business formation services are available online, significantly reducing the time required for documentation and approvals.
Strategic Location: Free Zones are strategically located near seaports and airports, enhancing logistical efficiency and providing easy access to manufacturers, producers, and suppliers.

We Assists Setting Up Company in Mainland

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

100% foreign ownership is now allowed in many sectors.
No corporate tax (except for certain sectors).
Strategic location with access to global markets.
Robust infrastructure and business-friendly environment.
Access to a large pool of skilled labor.
Sole Proprietorship: Owned by a single individual.
Limited Liability Company (LLC): Most common, requires at least one director and two shareholders.
Branch Office: An extension of an existing foreign company.
Representative Office: For market research and promotion activities only.
Civil Company: For professional services.
Choose a business activity and legal structure.
Reserve a trade name.
Apply for initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Draft and notarize the Memorandum of Association (MOA).
Lease a business premises and get tenancy contract attested.
Submit final application to the DED along with all required documents.
Receive the business license.
Yes, certain activities may require special approvals from specific government departments. For example, businesses in healthcare, education, and financial services need additional approvals from relevant authorities.
The process typically takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the business activity and the completeness of the application.
Previously, a local sponsor was required for foreign ownership of LLCs. However, recent reforms now allow 100% foreign ownership in many sectors without the need for a local sponsor.

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