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Adler & Partners is an international consultancy firm focused on providing high net worth individuals with the ability to apply for residence and citizenship by investment programs in different countries and business setup in UAE. Our team of highly qualified experts work together as one within our global network of partners, to serve the increasing demand for second citizenships within the international community of entrepreneurs and investors.

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Mainland

About Mainland Company

Mainland is also referred to as an onshore company. It has been provided a  license by the Department of Economic Development of the respective emirate which  allows it to do business in the local market as well as outside the UAE without any restrictions. In common analogy, any company which has been set in the United Arab Emirates under the government authority is considered a mainland company.

What are Mainland companies?

While dealing in the business sector of UAE, one has to be well aware of three kinds of company types/forms. The articulated details differentiate them but there should be a better understanding of these companies as they cover the legality of any business.

It is a Limited Liability Company type of entity. In terms of UAE law, it is mandatory to have a UAE national (corporate or individual) owning a minimum of 51% shares and the remaining 49% of shares must be allotted to the other shareholder in the company. Mainland companies benefit majorly by having access to the UAE Market.

 A mainland license does require standard approvals for the license.For instance, the Department of Economic  Development(DED), Dubai Municipality (DM), Ministry of Labor (MOL), Ministry of Interiors or Immigration (MOI). 

documents
documents

In some cases, there are also third party governing approvals that will be needed, depending on your business activities: Knowledge and Human Development Authority(KHDA) for all Education related activities, Dubai Health Authority(DHA)/Health Authority Abu Dhabi(HAAD) for all medical related business activities, Food Control Department of Municipality for all food-related license, Civil Defence for all security-related activities, Real Estate Regulation Authority(RERA) for all real estate regulated business activities.

For Mainland Companies, the minimum requirement is 200sqft. That is supposed to be leased out annually. Only after this requirement Department of Economic Development can issue them a license.

Mainland company licenses

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.

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.

Professional License

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

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 set up in Dubai

  1. Choose business activity
  2. The first step for a Business set up company in Dubai is to determine the business activity the company will engage in. Investors can choose from commercial, industrial, or professional trading activities.
  3. Select legal entity
  4. Company then chose their legal status / structure. Mainland companies have the option to choose from a number of legal structures including:
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Branch
    • Sole Proprietorship
    • Public Joint Stock company
    • Private Joint Stock company
    • Civil Company
  5. Choose company trade name
  6. Choosing a trade name is an important step for Mainland company formation in Dubai. The trade name must follow the rules laid down by the Department of Economic Development (DED). A trade must follow certain protocols:
    • Should Not be offensive or blasphemous
    • Clearly indicate it legal structure
    • Specify the company’s business type
    • Avoid names and logos which share a religious importance
    Once a name is chosen, it must be registered with Department of Economic Development (DED). DED is responsible for either approving and disapproving the trade name. In case of approval a certain amount of fees should be submitted.
  7. Obtain an initial approval
  8. 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. Foreign investors are required to obtain additional approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs.
  9. Get external approvals
  10. Some business activities require external approval from external third parties. These are governmental departments working in conjunction with DED, under whose direct jurisdiction the business activity will fall.
  11. Choose your office
  12. Mainland company set up in Dubai also requires 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.
  13. Apply for the license
  14. Once all the documents have been collected and approved, investors can apply for the license. The license fees must be paid and the required documents should be 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?

Company set up in Dubai, 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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