Dubai Mainland Company Formation

Dubai Mainland Company Formation: Mainland License Benefits

Benefits of a Free Zone Company

Formation of a Dubai mainland company involves obtaining a license from the Department of Economic Development (DED). Unlike companies in free zones, mainland companies in Dubai have the advantage of operating throughout the United Arab Emirates. This flexibility in business operations is a major benefit of mainland companies over those in free zones. While mainland companies can operate anywhere in the UAE, free zone companies are usually limited to specific zones unless they collaborate with a mainland entity.

business license in dubai

Factors to Consider Before Establishing a Business in the Mainland

Before initiating any company formation procedures, it is important to carefully consider the following aspects.

  • 1. What is your business activity?

    In the formation of a Dubai Mainland company it is important to identify the nature of the activity or activities in your business. This helps in defining the legal form of the company and the type of license required.

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

  • 2. What legal form is suitable for your business activity?

    The legal structure of a company should align with its economic operations. It is determined by the business needs and specifies the legal obligations that must be followed. Options for legal structures include the following:

    The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has categorized licenses into six types, namely:

    • Sole establishment
    • Limited liability company
    • Civil company
    • Local company branch
    • GCC company branch
    • Holding company
    • Foreign company’s representative office
    • Public joint stock company
    • Private joint stock company

In the list of UAE’s business activities, more than 1,000 can be established under 100% ownership of a foreign investor. This means you don’t need a local sponsor to get a business license.

In order to have a clear understanding of your objectives in alignment with your business plans and activities, IsraEmiratesLink offers a free business setup consultation to answer whatever questions you may have in mind related to your business setup goals.

Benefits of Setting Up A Company in Dubai Mainland

  • 100% foreign ownership depending on the type of business

  • Access to a larger market and more flexibility in conducting business in the UAE

  • a variety of business activities to choose from

  • No limitations on office space

  • No visa restriction

  • Opportunity to bid on government projects

Steps on Forming A Company in Dubai Mainland


Trade Name Reservation and Approval

This step involves selecting a unique name for your business that complies with the UAE's naming regulations and guidelines. This ensures that the name is not already in use and adheres to the legal standards set by the authorities.


Initial Approval

Initial license approval is the preliminary step in the business licensing process in the UAE. It signifies that the government has reviewed your application and given provisional approval for your business. This approval allows you to proceed with the next steps, such as securing a business location, obtaining additional permits, and completing any other requirements specific to your business activity. It is an essential step before receiving your final trade license.


Executing a Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA) or Memorandum of Association (MOA) depending on the legal form of the company

What is the difference between MOA & LSA AGREEMENT?
An LSA (Local Service Agent) Agreement is required if the company is a sole proprietorship while a Memorandum of Association is required if the legal form of the company is a limited liability company, civil company, private shareholding company or public shareholding company.


Approval from other authorities (for certain activities)

External approval from other authorities is a necessary step for certain types of businesses in the UAE. These approvals ensure that your business complies with industry-specific regulations and standards. For example, depending on your activity,  you might need approvals from specific departments such as the Ministry of Health, Civil Aviation, or the Food Control Department. External approval may be required before or after the license issuance.


License Issuance

The trade license legally permits your business to operate in the UAE. With the trade license in hand, you can commence your business activities, open corporate bank accounts, and fully establish your presence in the UAE market.


Establishment Card Application and Approval

The establishment card contains vital information about your business and is necessary for processing employment visas and other immigration-related services.


Investor Visa Processing

Your investor visa allows you to reside in the UAE for a specified period to conduct your business activities.

Required Documents for Dubai Mainland Company Formation

  • Passport copy of the Shareholder

  • Passport size Photos of shareholder(s)

  • Latest Visa (Residence/visit) page copy/entry page copy of shareholder(s)

  • Passport copy of the Manager if different from Shareholder

  • Visa page copy / Entry page copy of the manager

Required Documents for Dubai Mainland Company Formation

Trade License

3-5 working days

Establishment Card and Entry Visa

3-7 working days

Emirates ID

2-10 working days

Additional days may be incurred in case of special approvals from other government authorities related to specific businesses or depending on the circumstances.

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Visit this page for further information on the Timeline for Setting Up Your Company