About Dubai

Dubai is an ideal place to set up a company. The city has become a multicultural hub with a vibrant community of people from all over the world. Mainland company set up Dubai is a lucrative option for investors as it attracts large amounts of foriegn investment yearly and has seen steady economic growth in the last few years. Due to this Dubai has become the top preference when it comes to any commercial activity. The central location and ease of connectivity also makes Dubai a convenient option.

What are Mainland companies?

Mainland companies are one of three types of company formation options available in the UAE, namely 

  1. Mainland 
  2. Free zone 
  3. Offshore 

For Mainland company set up in UAE the license is received from the government Department of Economic Development (DED). This license includes a wide range of business activities and allows companies to easily diversify their business activities in the future. Mainland companies are a popular option for investors because they can conduct business anywhere in the UAE and internationally regardless of the location in which they are incorporated.  

Mainland company licenses

Business License Mainland

Industrial license

Companies involved in the manufacturing and production of goods require this license. The manufactured items may be ready to sell or required by another manufacturer.

Mainland Tourism License

Tourism license

There are three types of travel related activities that require this license. Operator of inbound tourism, operator of outbound tourism, and for a travel agent

Mainland Professional License

Professional license

A company with a professional license can be 100% foriegn owned. This type of license is required for services based on skill or academic knowledge

Mainland Commercial License

Commercial license

This license is for companies that are involved in activities related to the buying, selling of goods and services.

Steps for Mainland Company Formation

    1. Choose business activity 

The first step for a Business set up in Dubai is to determine the business activity the company will engage in. Investors can choose from commercial, industrial, or professional trading activities. 

    1. Select legal entity 

The legal form the company will take must be chosen next. Mainland companies have the option to choose from a number of legal structures including 

      • Limited Limited Company 
      • Branch 
      • Sole Proprietorship 
      • Public Joint Stock company 
      • Private Joint Stock company 
      • Civil Company 
    1. Choose company trade name 

Choosing a trade name is an important step for Mainland company set up in Dubai. The trade name must follow the rules laid down by the Department of Economic Development (DED). A trade name must 

      • Not contain offensive or blasphemous content 
      • Must end with the legal entity of the company 
      • Should be in line with the company activities 
      • Should not contain names and logos with religious significance 


Once a name is chosen it must be registered with DED after being approved and the trade name fees being paid.  

    1. Obtain an initial approval 

Before setting up company investors must obtain initial approval from the Department. The initial approval process lets the Department know of your intentions to set up the company and that the government has no objections to it. Foriegn investors are required to obtain additional approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs. 

    1. Get external approvals 

Some business activities require external approval from external third parties. These are government departments working in conjunction with DED, under whose direct jurisdiction the business activity will fall. 

    1. Choose your office 

Mainland company set up in Dubai also require a physical office to be set up before company operations can begin. The office location and type must comply with the Department’s regulations. The lease contract for the location must be submitted to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency. 

    1. Apply for the license

Once all the documents have been collected and approvals obtained, investors can apply for the license. The license fees must be paid and the required documents submitted to DED. These documents include; 

    • The receipt for initial approval 
    • Business plan 
    • Passport copies of owners and shareholders 
    • Copy of the lease contract that has been attested by RERA 
    • Attested copies of memorandum of association 
    • Approvals from external government entities

How can we help

Mainland company set up in the UAE, especially for first time business owners can be a difficult and time consuming process. Our team is well equipped at managing the entire incorporation procedure. We can provide valuable assistance that will save you time and effort in the company formation process allowing you to focus on making your business a success. 

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