Dubai Mainland Company Formation

Dubai Mainland Company Formation: Understanding the Benefits of Operating in the UAE

This explains the process of forming a Dubai mainland company by registering with the Department of Economic Development (DED). Unlike companies in free zones, Dubai mainland companies operate outside of these designated areas and enjoy greater flexibility in conducting business throughout the United Arab Emirates. This freedom of operation is a key advantage of a Dubai mainland company compared to a freezone company. While a Dubai mainland company can conduct business anywhere in the UAE, a freezone company's operations are typically restricted to specific zones unless it partners with a mainland entity.

dubai mainland company formation
dubai mainland company formation

Establishing Business in the Mainland

Here are the things that one should first  take into consideration before proceeding with any steps in the company formation activities.

Identifying the nature of the 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.

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

  • Commercial License

  • Professional License

  • Industrial License

  • Crafts License

  • Tourism License

  • Agricultural License

In the UAE, there are more than 2,000 economic activities. A license may include more than one business activity.

Identifying the legal form or structure of business

A company’s legal form must be consistent with its economic activity. The legal form mainly depends on the business requirements and identifies the laws and regulations to be complied with. One of the following legal forms may be selected:

  • 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.

Advantages of Dubai Mainland Company Formation

  • 100% foreign ownership depending on the activity

  • Broader marketplace and flexibility to conduct business in the UAE

  • Wide range of business activities

  • No restrictions in getting office space

  • No visa restrictions

  • Chance to bid in any government project

Dubai Mainland Company Formation Step by Step

In Dubai, the authority involved in the processing of trade license application in the mainland is the Department of Economic Development or Dubai DED. Depending on the nature of the business, there may be some other approvals required from other government authorities before the trade license issuance.

Once you have identified the activity, type and legal structure of the business, the following are the steps to get your business license:

  • Step 1

    Trade Name Reservation and Approval (3 name suggestions)

  • Step 2

    Initial License Approval

  • Step 3

    Completion of Local services agent agreement (LSA) or Memorandum of Association (MOA) depending on the legal form of the company

  • Step 4

    Approval from other authorities (depending on the activity)

  • Step 5

    License Issuance

  • Step 6

    Establishment Card Application and Approval

  • Step 7

    Investor Visa Processing

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.

dubai mainland company formation
dubai mainland company formation

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

Approximate Processing Time for Dubai Mainland Company Formation

Provided that all documents received are complete and in order, the following is the estimated time frame to complete the whole process.

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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Trade License

3-5 working days

Establishment Card and Entry Visa

3-7 working days

Emirates ID

2-10 working days

To know more about the Company Setup Timeline, please click here.