mainland company formation

Everything You Have to Know About Mainland Company Formation in Dubai

The UAE is a privileged location in the Middle East for investors. As you already know, there are many business opportunities in Dubai, and for that reason, business owners want to proceed with the Mainland Company Formation in Dubai.

In this article, you are going to learn more about how to start your mainland company in Dubai. Moreover, you will understand everything about what is mainland company in Dubai? And the steps you have to go through.

Sheikh Zayed Road

When you are expanding your business to the UAE, there are many options to choose from. Dubai is the most popular place to start a company since it is a commercial hub in the Middle East.

Dubai is a thriving city with many selections of locations that could be ideal for your business. Among them is the Sheikh Zayed Road, which is deemed as the main heart line of the city.

Therefore, if you want to start your Mainland Company Formation in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road offers the following benefits:

  • It is a prestigious location in Dubai for businesses across industries.
  • It is the connection between Dubai and the UAE’s coastline. In addition, connects Dubai with Abu Dhabi.
  • Considered one of the main business centres of the world.
  • There are many state-of-the-art buildings and it is filled with architectural wonders.
  • Some of the world’s leading businesses are located there.
  • Investors can choose among different types of legal structures to start.

Since it is a popular location, businesses can be highly successful there. For instance, restaurants and retail shops can operate on Sheikh Zayed Road and see great benefits.

Bur Dubai, Al Karama, and Deira

Al Karama, Bur Dubai and Deira are three areas that are near to each other and represent a great option for your Mainland Company Formation in Dubai. These three are known for making the largest residential area of Dubai, but they are also a great choice for establishing your business.

The following are some of the features of these areas:

  • It is the home of several restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and similar, so it is perfect for those kinds of businesses.
  • Since Al Karama has many tourist attractions, it is ideal for tourism companies.
  • It has many well-known hotels
  • There are many prestigious malls in these areas such as Wafi Mall and Burjuman Mall.
  • Since it has many cutting-edge buildings, it is perfect for real estate companies.
  • The wholesale trade sector is also thriving there.

Business Bay

If you plan to start your business in the UAE, you have to know more about the most suitable locations for your company. In case you are considering starting a commercial business, then Business Bay may be perfect.

Known as a leading commercial district in Dubai, Business Bay has an outstanding infrastructure for trading companies and businesses in the financial and retail sectors. With commercial and residential infrastructure, it is a great district for launching your company.

In addition, it has the following features:

  • Modern and highly developed commercial location in Dubai
  • Luxury and affordability are the two main characteristics of this district; therefore, you can rent an office in a prestigious building without exceeding your budget.
  • It is near Downtown and just off Sheikh Zayed Road.
  • Many public transportation options as it is in the centre of Dubai.
  • A highly sought-after location due to its central location and affordable prices.
  • With many commercial buildings and 5-star hotels, it is ideal for businesses across all industries.

Dubai Industrial Park

Formerly known as Dubai Industrial City (DIC) and now renamed as Dubai Industrial Park, this district is excellent for businesses working in the logistics and manufacturing sector.

Thus, if you are considering starting your Mainland Company Formation in Dubai for your industrial business, this area is the most suitable for you. Currently, there are more than 500 different companies operating there, with more than 10,000 employees.

Many tend to believe that DIC is a Free Zone so they think they can establish a freezone company. But this is not the case, as it is a mainland jurisdiction.

Some of the advantages this location offers are the following:

  • Industrial and warehouse alternatives for companies.
  • Companies operating in the storage, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution sectors can thrive in this location.
  • It is the largest manufacturing area in the Middle East.
  • It has many ports and transportation routes nearby.
  • Modern infrastructure for high-quality operations in their offices, production facilities and warehouses.
  • Advanced technology and communication
  • Top talent market to hire qualified employees.


Located in East Dubai, Al-Qusais is one of the largest districts of the city and it is divided into residential and industrial areas. Since it is at the junction of Dubai with Sharjah, it offers a privileged location for businesses looking to thrive.

Some of the features of this area are the following:

  • It offers cost-effective options for renting offices and shops.
  • With five industrial sectors, it offers several industrial warehouses for your operations.
  • Since it is a large residential area, it has a large population that could benefit your business.
  • Due to its proximity to educational and medical institutes, it is the perfect location for businesses operating in these sectors.
  • It is close to the Dubai International Airport making it suitable for commercial and logistics companies.


Located on the west coast, on the coastline of the city, Jumeirah is the perfect destination for businesses related to lifestyle and luxury. Therefore, if you want to start your Mainland Company Formation in Dubai, Jumeirah is a great choice.

The following are some of the features of this area in Dubai:

  • It is divided into three regions, where each one has its advantages.
  • Real estate and tourism companies thrive in this location.
  • Self-care and leisure businesses are also popular in Jumeirah.
  • You can choose among the different business structures.
  • With an opulent air, it is perfect for businesses looking for a privileged location.
  • Restaurants and resorts are highly popular in this area due to its relaxed environment.

Benefits of mainland company Formation in Dubai

What is mainland company in Dubai? It is a company established in the mainland jurisdiction of the UAE, and as such, it can deliver outstanding benefits. Unlike an offshore company, with the mainland formation you can operate within the UAE market, which is its main benefit.

On the other hand, there is also 100% foreign ownership for some businesses. Traditionally, full ownership was only reserved for investors who decided to establish a freezone company, but with the recent regulations, it is now possible on the mainland.

However, this only applies to certain business activities, so you have to check if the nature of your business allows it. For instance, companies in certain strategic sectors like oil and gas still need a local sponsor, whereas in other sectors full ownership is allowed.

In addition, with this type of company, you can obtain the following benefits:

  • Zero trade restrictions: as a business, you get to trade across the UAE and with other entities. In addition, you can also trade internationally. This is a great advantage that other types of companies do not offer.
  • Live in the UAE: As an investor, you can apply for a UAE Residence Visa.
  • Government contracts: with a mainland entity you are able to engage in work with the government.
  • Business activities: in Dubai, there is a long list of business activities to choose from. Thus, you are able to conduct your business exactly as you want.
  • No currency restrictions: ensure seamless transactions thanks to the unmatched benefits of having no currency restrictions.
  • Repatriation of funds: get 100% repatriation of capital and profit to your home country to enjoy financial flexibility.
  • Tax exemptions: Get Tax-free benefits in Dubai for your company to obtain a lucrative advantage and increase your profit.

The Checklist and Steps for mainland business setup in Dubai

Going through the Mainland Company Formation in Dubai involves following a straightforward process to achieve a great result. Although these steps may seem simple, it is best to have the support of an experienced team for a streamlined process.

Before starting the process, it is advisable to gather the documentation you will need in advance. Keep in mind that if your documents are issued outside the UAE, you will need to translate them into Arabic and attest to them.

Thus, it is recommended to start with enough time so you can have everything ready for when you start the process.

Some of the documents you need are the following:

  • Passport copies of each shareholder or partner
  • Tenancy contract
  • Ejari certificate
  • MOA and AOA
  • Application form
  • Additional approvals or certificates (if required)

Once you start gathering the paperwork, then you can start with the process. The first step is to choose the nature of your business, i.e. your preferred sector or industry where you will work.

Choose your business activity

Almost every business that decides to expand to Dubai will thrive since it is a flourishing market where you can approach a wider audience.

Thus, you need to determine which industry is the most suitable for starting your company. Some of the categories are the following:

  • Tourism
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Oil and gas
  • Real estate
  • Consulting & advisory
  • Legal
  • Healthcare
  • Trade
  • Wholesale
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics

All of the business activities are included in the list prepared by the Department of Economic Development of Dubai, also known as DED. Unlike free zones, which are restricted to specific sectors, in Dubai mainland you have a long list with more than 2000 activities.

From the ideal location for your business

The next step after choosing the business activity is to look for the ideal location for your company. In Dubai, you get to choose between prominent areas that will make your business thrive, so you have many flexible options.

As we mentioned before, there are many privileged locations in Dubai that will be more suitable depending on the industry where you decide to work.

For instance, if you have opted for an industrial activity, then Dubai Industrial Park is the go-to option. If you will focus on import and export activities, then you need to be close to the airport and sea ports.

In any case, you have to look for an office that suits your needs. Having a physical address in Dubai makes your business prestigious, by opting for any of the following:

  • Serviced office: it is a cost-effective solution since it comes fully furnished. You are ready to move once you rent it.
  • Private office: with the private office you get to customize it as you please. This option grants more privacy and security.
  • Coworking space: a flexi-desk or coworking space is more suitable for start-ups or service-oriented businesses. Therefore, the advantage is that it is the most cost-effective option of all.
  • Shared office space: similar to a coworking space but these are arranged as small private offices. Thus, this option is suitable for a small team.
  • Virtual offices: aimed at businesses that do not need a physical address. However, it is more suitable for an offshore company and not many mainland entities opt for this one.

Keep in mind that although you can earn money online without investment in the UAE, as a Mainland Company you should rent an office, and this requires investment. However, there are many cheap options if you have a limited budget.

Determine your business legal structure

Next, you have to decide on the type of legal entity you will incorporate. For the Mainland Company Formation in Dubai, there are many options, which are the following:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC)
  • Private Joint Stock Company (PrJSC)
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Civil Company
  • Branch Company: foreign, local or GCC.

Find a local sponsor or a local service agent

As we have mentioned before, some business activities require a local sponsor or a local service agent. This will depend on the nature of your business and the type of company you are going to incorporate.

For instance, if you decide to start a trading company with an LLC structure, then you most likely need to have a local partner, who must be an Emirati. In this case, you need to look for someone you can trust, and this local sponsor will own 51% shares of your business.

On the other hand, you may need to look for a Local Service Agent, or LSA, which acts as a representative of the company. In any case, you have to check if based on the nature of your business and type of company you will need an LSA or Local Sponsor or neither.

Name your company

After going through the previous steps, then you have to choose a name for your company. Keep in mind that this is a key aspect of your business so it is an important decision.

Also, the name has to comply with the following requirements:

  • It cannot contain offensive language
  • It should not have any religious references
  • No inference to other organizations
  • It must not have been previously registered by another entity
  • It should be compatible with the activities or nature of your business.

Apply for a main entry license

Lastly, you will have to apply for a business license. Thus, you have to gather all the documentation and submit your application at the DED. Make sure to fill the application with much detail, to avoid making errors.

It is also worth noting that the type of license you apply for depends on the type of business activities you have considered before. In this regard, there are 6 types of licenses for mainland businesses, which are the following:

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

Lastly, consider that you can include more than one business activity on your license, and in the DED you can choose from more than 2000 activities.

Every business license has a validity period. Thus, you have to renew your trade license in advance if you want to keep operating in the UAE.


Going through the process of Mainland Company Formation in Dubai can be challenging, particularly if you are a foreign investor. You have to gather the paperwork and go through a series of steps to achieve a successful result.

If you want a smooth incorporation, then you need to look for a trustworthy partner that offers a comprehensive service. Contact us now to establish your company in Dubai Mainland with the support of a specialized team.

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