How to setup Mainland Company in Dubai: Guide + Checklist


In the last 40 years, the UAE has diversified its economy to allow international business opportunities in a variety of sectors. There are numerous incentives available to new, experienced, and budding businesses, thanks to the government’s flexibility in making it easy to form a company in Mainland Dubai.

Benefits of Mainland Company Formation in Dubai:

  • 100% foreign ownership of businesses
  • Visa extensions for entrepreneurs
  • Taxes are extremely low, with corporate taxes practically nonexistent
  • There is no withholding tax
  • Supporting the formation of new companies by providing funding and support
  • The most prosperous economy in the world thanks to its great infrastructure and business environment

Business Opportunities in the UAE are mainly found in three jurisdictions:

What is the UAE Mainland?

Typically, business operations take place on the UAE mainland, which is the epicenter of most business activities. It is also known as an area for forming offshore companies. Business entities are allowed to conduct their business functions freely on the UAE mainland in accordance with the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the respective emirate.

Mainland Company formation in Dubai from Free Zone:

Looking to convert your business from a free zone to Mainland, our team is here to help you transition from a free zone to a mainland Dubai company if you are currently in a free zone. There are currently over 30,000 companies trading from the three largest free zones in the UAE.  

There are pre-packaged business inclusions available to foreign entrepreneurs setting up in a free zone. However, there are limitations to this model for business owners. When it’s time to expand, UAE businesses should switch to mainland companies from free zone companies. A mainland company is crucial to the success of a business. A sharp and manageable move from a free zone to the UAE mainland is possible with the right UAE national sponsor or company formation specialist.

Checklist on How to form a mainland company in the UAE:

1. Identify your business activity

Choosing the industry in which you will trade is the first step in setting up a company on the UAE mainland. The Department of Economic Development (DED) lists thousands of permitted business activities. Among them are trading, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, etc.

2. Find the right location for your business

After choosing your business activity, it’s time to decide where you wish to operate or where you want to do the business setup in the Dubai mainland. There is no restriction. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right location, such as budgeting and the type of business you plan to run. Mainland company formation in Dubai is not an easy task, but we can help you.

You can also open branch offices easily in Dubai if you set up your business there. The result is that businesses are no longer limited to one location and can establish a large local presence over time.

3. Establish the legal structure of your business

It is possible for foreign entrepreneurs to set up several types of businesses on the UAE mainland from a legal standpoint. LLC Company Formation is the most common business structure on the mainland. LLCs are independent legal entities owned by two or more shareholders. If a company wishes to trade under a commercial or industrial license (including manufacturing and industrial activities) on the UAE mainland, it must form an LLC.

4. Get in touch with a local service agent or sponsor

Prior to this, foreign entrepreneurs could only form mainland companies in Dubai by partnering with a sponsor or local service agent. As an LLC, you are required to have a local sponsor if you are trading under a commercial or industrial license. Alternatively, your local sponsor can be a UAE-based company or a UAE national. 51% of the business will be owned by the local sponsor in both cases. 

In order to act as your Local Partner, Clever Corp Business Setup Consultants can nominate a Corporate Nominee on your behalf. You retain 100% control over the business operations and finances and are protected from any risks. In mainland China, only a local service agent (LSA) is needed to establish a professional company.  

5. Choose a company name

It is vital that the company name conveys the values and brand of your company. The UAE has several considerations to take into account. It is prohibited to use offensive language, make religious references, or make inferences about other organizations. Your company name can only contain your full name. You must write your company name as it sounds, rather than translating it to another language

6. License for Mainland trade application

The Department of Economic Development has now received your application for a Dubai mainland license. Trade license applications require several documents. There are a number of these documents, including a license application, sponsor agreement, ownership percentage among partners, and shareholder visa.

7. Make sure your office space is secure

When you’ve obtained your business permit, it’s time to secure office space. A serviced office on the UAE mainland is usually owned and maintained by a third party and includes everything you need to get started right away. Typical inclusions include desks, phone and internet access, and reception services. Lease payments usually cover rent, office equipment, and utility bills.  A ‘shell and core’ office space is the other end of the spectrum.

8. You need to apply for the relevant visas

Business owners in the UAE mainland do not have a limit on mainland visa applications. There should be a correlation between the number of visas applied for and the amount of office space needed. A typical area is 100 square feet. A minimum of 1,000 square feet of office or warehouse space is required per visa. In some cases, this may not be applicable. Compared to a textile or manufacturing company, a domestic cleaning company with 500+ employees would require significantly less office space.

9. Hire a business setup consultant to help you set up your company

It is important to understand the legal and company formation processes in the UAE before setting up a mainland company. It is easier for overseas entrepreneurs to set up a company when they work with a UAE-based consultant. Business consultants can help you achieve your business goals and help in mainland company formation in Dubai or UAE by collaborating with you. By doing this, you will gain confidence in starting a successful business on the UAE mainland.

Wrapping Up:

You can customize all of the above services based on your business’s needs. We offer additional complementary services post-Mainland Business Setup in Dubai/UAE that set us apart from the competition. Besides Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain, our business setup consultants at Clever Corp are also experts in incorporating mainland companies. Our services do not end with setting up your business in Dubai; we also guide you afterward on how to take it forward and provide you with everything you need. For more information about Mainland Company formation in Dubai.

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Contact no – +971 586412034

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