Mainland Company in Dubai: How to Start a Mainland Company in Dubai?


Are you ready to take your business to new heights? Dubai, the thriving hub of innovation and opportunity, is beckoning entrepreneurs from around the globe. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and vibrant economy, Dubai has become a magnet for ambitious individuals looking to start their own companies. And if you’re considering setting up a mainland company in Dubai, you’ve come to the right place

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of starting a mainland company in Dubai step by step. From understanding the legal requirements and procedures to choosing the right business structure, we’ll cover everything you need to know. 

So buckle up and get ready for an exciting journey into the world of business setup in Dubai! Let’s dive in and discover why this city is truly a land of opportunities.

Why Choose Dubai for Your Business?

When it comes to setting up a business, location is key. And there are few places in the world as attractive and dynamic as Dubai. Known for its thriving economy, strategic location, and favorable business environment, this city has become a global hub for entrepreneurs and investors alike.


Dubai’s strategic location makes it an ideal base for companies looking to tap into markets across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. With modern infrastructure, including world-class airports and seaports, accessing international markets has never been easier.

Business-Friendly Policies

The business-friendly policies of the government make starting a company in Dubai a seamless process. The legal framework is transparent and supportive of foreign investment. Additionally, tax incentives such as zero percent personal or corporate income tax make it an attractive choice.

Diverse Range of Industries

Furthermore, Dubai offers a diverse range of industries to choose from. Whether you’re interested in finance, tourism & hospitality, real estate development, or technology sectors – opportunities abound in this bustling metropolis.

Excellent Lifestyle Amenities

Dubai also boasts excellent lifestyle amenities that attract professionals from around the globe. From luxury shopping malls to stunning beachfront properties and top-notch healthcare facilities – living here provides an exceptional quality of life for both residents and expatriates.

Commitment to Innovation

Lastly but not least, the city’s strong commitment to innovation creates endless possibilities for businesses seeking growth opportunities. This can be seen through initiatives like Smart Dubai, which aims to transform the emirate into one of the smartest cities globally by leveraging cutting-edge technologies.

Steps to Set Up a Mainland Company in Dubai

Setting up a mainland company in Dubai can be an exciting venture, and with the right guidance, it can be a smooth process. Here are the key steps involved in starting your mainland business in Dubai:

  1. Determine your business activity: The first step is to identify the type of business activity you want to undertake. This will help determine the licenses and permits required for your company.
  2. Choose a local sponsor: In order to establish a mainland company, you need to have a local sponsor who will hold 51% ownership of the company while you retain 49%. It is important to choose someone trustworthy and reliable.
  3. Reserve your trade name: Once you have selected your local sponsor, you need to reserve a trade name for your company. Make sure it aligns with your business activities and complies with UAE naming guidelines.
  4. Prepare legal documents: Next, prepare all necessary legal documents, such as a Memorandum of Association (MOA), Articles of Association (AOA), and any other relevant agreements or contracts.
  5. Obtain approvals and licenses: With all documents prepared, submit them along with the required fees for approval from government authorities such as the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Ministry of Economy (MOE). You may also need additional industry-specific approvals depending on your business activity.
  6. Register with relevant authorities: Once approved, register your company at DED or MOE to obtain the trade license that allows you to operate legally within Dubai’s jurisdiction.
  7. Set up office space: Secure suitable office space for your business operations based on size requirements and location preferences.

Understanding the Legal Requirements and Procedures

Understanding the legal requirements and procedures when setting up a mainland company in Dubai is crucial for a smooth and successful business establishment. Dubai has specific regulations that must be followed, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.

  1. The first step is to determine the type of license required for your business activities. There are various types of licenses available, such as professional, commercial, or industrial licenses. Each license comes with its own set of requirements and restrictions.
  2. Next, you will need to secure an office space for your company. The size and location of the office will depend on the nature of your business activities. It is important to note that certain businesses may require additional approvals from relevant authorities.
  3. Another key aspect is obtaining necessary approvals from government agencies, including the Department of Economic Development (DED) and other regulatory bodies based on your industry sector. These approvals may include trade name registration, initial approval certificate, lease agreement attestation, etc.
  4. Once these steps are completed, you will need to prepare all required documents, such as passport copies of shareholders/partners/directors/managers along with their visa page copies, if any; memorandum and articles of association; power of attorney (if applicable); and NOC from sponsor (for expatriate partners/shareholders).
  5. It’s essential to engage a reliable local sponsor or service agent who can guide you through the process while complying with UAE law.

Navigating through legalities in starting a mainland company can be complex but working alongside experienced professionals ensures adherence to all necessary requirements – leading towards a successful setup in Dubai.

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Choosing the right business structure is a critical decision when starting a mainland company in Dubai. It will determine your legal obligations, liability protection, and tax implications. Dubai offers several types of business structures to choose from, each with its own advantages and requirements.

  1. One common option is setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This structure provides flexibility and allows for 100% foreign ownership in certain sectors. Another option is a Professional Firm (PF), which is suitable for individuals offering professional services like doctors or engineers.
  2. For those looking to engage in trading activities, a Civil Company may be the right choice. This structure requires partnering with a UAE national who holds 51% ownership but can provide valuable local knowledge and connections.
  3. If you prefer complete control over your business, consider establishing a Sole Proprietorship. While this type of structure does not offer limited liability protection, it allows full ownership by an individual or partnership.

Choosing the right business structure depends on factors such as your industry, investment size, and long-term goals. Consulting with experts or business setup consultants like Company Formation in Dubai can help navigate through these options and make an informed decision that aligns with your objectives.

Benefits and Challenges of Starting a Mainland Company in Dubai

When it comes to starting a mainland company in Dubai, there are several benefits that make it an attractive option for entrepreneurs.

Access to International Market

Dubai is known for its strategic location, serving as a gateway between the East and the West. This opens up immense opportunities for international trade and business expansion.

Investor-Friendly Policies

Additionally, setting up a mainland company allows you to tap into the local market and benefit from the growing economy of Dubai. The city boasts a strong infrastructure, political stability, and investor-friendly policies that create favorable conditions for businesses to thrive.

100% Ownership of Business

Moreover, operating as a mainland company enables you to have 100% ownership of your business while having access to government contracts and projects. This level of control can be particularly advantageous for those looking to establish their presence in key sectors such as finance, logistics, tourism, or technology.

Hassle-Free Legal Process

However, like any business venture, starting a mainland company in Dubai also comes with its fair share of challenges. One major hurdle is navigating through the legal requirements and procedures involved in obtaining licenses and permits. It is crucial to understand these processes thoroughly to ensure compliance with regulations.


A mainland company refers to a business entity registered and licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. Unlike free zones, which have their own regulations and restrictions, mainland companies can operate anywhere within the emirate without any limitations on trading activities.
To set up a mainland company, you will need to fulfill certain legal requirements, such as obtaining initial approval from DED, choosing a trade name that complies with DED guidelines, renting office space or virtual office services, and appointing local service agents or sponsors, depending on your business activity.
While it was previously required to have a UAE national as a sponsor or partner holding at least 51% shares in the company, recent changes in the law now allow for full foreign ownership under certain conditions specified by DED.
The timeframe for setting up a mainland company varies depending on various factors such as business activity, approvals required from different government departments and completing all necessary documentation. On average, it takes around 7-10 working days to complete the process.
Some challenges may include navigating complex licensing procedures and regulations imposed by different government authorities, finding suitable office space that meets DED requirements within budget constraints, and complying with local sponsorship arrangements, if applicable.

Conclusion: Starting a Mainland Company in Dubai: Right for You?

Starting a mainland company in Dubai can be an exciting and lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to expand their business horizons. With its strategic location, vibrant economy, and supportive business environment, Dubai has emerged as one of the top destinations for foreign investors.

However, before taking the leap, it is essential to carefully consider whether starting a mainland company in Dubai is the right choice for you. While there are numerous benefits associated with this option, such as unrestricted access to local markets and opportunities for growth, there are also challenges that need to be navigated.

Financial implications should not be overlooked when evaluating whether starting a mainland company in Dubai fits your budgetary constraints. The costs associated with licensing fees, office space rental agreements, visa processing fees, and ongoing operational expenses must all be factored into your business plan.

While starting a mainland company in Dubai offers immense potential for success, it is crucially important that aspiring entrepreneurs analyze their individual circumstances thoroughly.

Considering factors such as legal requirements, business structures, target markets, and financial considerations will enable you to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your business goals.

So, why wait, connect with Company Formation in Dubai, and make your dream to setup your business in Mainland.

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