business setup in dubai mainland

How to Open Business in Dubai Mainland – A Complete Guide

With a business setup in Dubai mainland, you may have new opportunities to start a business. Thus, you will have commercial freedom and will be able to choose between 2000 or more activities available in the area. Consequently, it is your best choice to start your business and take advantage of all the benefits that mainland Dubai will provide you.

In this article, you will delve into what are the benefits that can give you the success you want in business in the Emirates. Also, provide the details so that you can legally start your venture in this successful place.

Setting up a Business in Dubai Mainland, enjoy the advantages

business setup in dubai mainland

Below, you will find out what are the great advantages that Dubai mainland company formation will give you:

  • Good connections. On the Dubai mainland, you will have great global connections, making it ideal to start your business.
  • First class locations. With the strategic location in Dubai for your company, you will have access to very good people and markets without any difficulty.
  • It will achieve local and global expansion. With mainland Dubai, your business will be able to expand and reach both local markets and global business communities.
  • Without money limit. With a continental company, you will have no money limits on your commercial activities compared to free zones.
  • You will get the best national and international talents. With the inclusion of qualified personnel, your business will grow and you will be able to generate new expansion ideas.
  • Without complicated processes. Thanks to the business layout in Dubai mainland, you will have better government interaction and therefore you will have simple rules.
  • Growth without limits. With this setup, your business will be able to grow anywhere you want and however you want.

Types of Licenses

To do a business setup in Dubai mainland, you will have to acquire one of the licenses that you will see below:

Professional Business License

In the UAE, both entrepreneurs and companies have to apply for a professional business license through the Department of Economic Development or DED. Therefore, with this license, they will be able to start their negotiations in the mainland of Dubai. Additionally, this license will establish that you qualify to provide any specific service.

Therefore, to obtain it, you will have to demonstrate that you have skills or good training in the type of business you want to have. This license is for artisans, specialists, and other professionals in general.

For the Dubai mainland company formation, several business structures can be formed:

  • The limited liability company where 51% of the company is owned by the local sponsor
  • Civil Society and a unique establishment where 100% ownership of your company is foreign investors.

Moreover, in both cases, they will appoint a resident as a service agent by its acronym LSA which will complement the legal formality.

Commercial license

For the purchase and sale of goods and raw materials, or other types of commercial activity, you will need the business license to operate in the UAE. Similarly, it can be used for the formation of an LLC or sole establishment. Likewise, you will need it for specific business activities.

For a business setup in Dubai mainland, there are different types of business licenses. Therefore, you will have to request the type of license, according to the type of company you will start.

Industrial trade license

This license will be required if your company will have manufacturing or industrial activities in the United Arab Emirates. Also, with this license, you will be able to carry out activities related to the incorporation of natural resources or the conversion of materials. The license is issued by the DED but may require other additional approvals.

Eligibility Criteria and Documentation

To set up a company in Dubai mainland you will need to meet the eligibility criteria for additional permits. Below you will see the entities that must issue the necessary licenses:

  • Ministry of Interior
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Legal activities and legal advice.
  • Local municipal department
  • Architecture and engineering matters.
  • Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA)
  • Telecommunications activities
  • executive council
  • Travel and tourism, general services, charter trade, naval and maritime agencies, automobile clubs, charter air transport, and branches of foreign companies.
  • Ministry of Economy
  • Insurance activities and insurance consulting.
  • Local health departments
  • Activities related to the health
  • Supreme Petroleum Council

Registration Process

To do a business setup in Dubai mainland, you will have to register your business name which will reflect the type of activity you will have. In addition, the authorities will have to approve it before its official use. Hence, to use the name, you must make sure that the name is not registered.

On the other hand, the name with which the company is registered must not go against morality or public order. Likewise, you can verify through the web platform of the Department of Economic Development whether the name is available or not.

Licensing Requirements and Procedures for Setting up a Business in Dubai Mainland

To start to do the business setup in Dubai mainland, you can apply for the license through the Dubai Economic Department. Nevertheless, you have to meet the following legal requirements:

  • Determine the business category
  • Establish the type of business activity;
  • Establish the legal structure of the business entity; and
  • Choose the business name for your company.
  • The local economic development department will register your business name.
  • If applicable, the Ministry of Economy registers your trademark.

Additionally, depending on the legal structure of your company, you will have to provide an additional requirement which is the Memorandum of Association (MoA). You can also sign an agreement with the local service agent, LSA. Likewise, writing the structure will be necessary for the following business forms:

Step-by-Step Process of Dubai Mainland Business Setup

business setup in dubai mainland

The government implemented Bashr services to set up a company in Dubai mainland for means of an electronic service. Additionally, this system allows you to establish your business in about 15 minutes through a unified online site. This website connects with the federal and local governments that have business license services

Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi Business Center offers instant license issuance to start an online business. You can also obtain a commercial license without having to go in person to a service center.

Also in Dubai, they are enacting a program called Dubai Virtual Commercial City by its acronym VCC. Likewise, the entities responsible for this program are the Department of Economy and other entities of the government of the country. Similarly, with this program, entrepreneurs from all over the world will be able to start a company in the Emirates, even if they do not live there.

How to start a business through ordinary means

You will be able to do a business setup in Dubai mainland regularly by following these steps:

  • Choose a business activity
  • Select a suitable legal form
  • Register the business name
  • Request an initial approval
  • Draft a memorandum of association and local service agent agreement
  • Choose a business location
  • Request additional approvals from government entities
  • Submit documents and pay fees.

Choose your business Niche

Decide the type of activity you want to do and based on this, you can find a company in mainland Dubai. Also, request the corresponding license and permits when you set up a company in Dubai mainland.

Find the ideal location in mainland

Once you have decided what business you want to do, decide where you will locate the company in mainland Dubai. To decide, take into account your budget and the business activity you choose. For example, if the company will carry out import and export activities of some good or service, it will have to be close to the ports in the region.

However, thanks to the flexibility of mainland Dubai, you can easily open branches in other regions or outside the country.

Business legal procedure

Taking into account the legal aspect, there are different types of ventures for a business setup in Dubai mainland. Similarly, the most used structure on the continent is an LLC or Limited Liability Company. This type of independent company requires two or more shareholders. Therefore, if you want to operate with a commercial or industrial license, you must choose an LLC structure for the UAE.

On the contrary, if you want to form a professional services company, you will not need a sponsor.

Get a local sponsor

Previously, for Dubai mainland business setup, the interested party could negotiate only if they had a sponsor or service agent. Additionally, if you were operating under a license as an LLC, a national sponsor was mandatory. Equally, the sponsor can be a person or company based in the Emirates. Furthermore, in both cases, the sponsor will have 51% of the business.

Now to establish your company you will only need the service agenda LSA will be the representative but will not have participation in the operating assets. That is, you will have 100% operational and financial control of your company.

Choosing the Name of your company

When you choose the name for your company, take into consideration the type of activity and that it has local authorization. Also, the trade name is not used by another company or has been registered before. Likewise, the name cannot violate morality and good customs in the UAE.

Additionally, the name may reflect your company, once approved it will carry the acronym of the legal structure you have, for example, LLC, PLC, or PJSC.

Apply for a mainland trade license

To do a business setup in Dubai mainland, the investor will need to apply for a business license. Hence, you can request it at the service centers of the economic agencies or through their web platforms. The Documents that you will require to obtain the license for all legal figures are the following:

  • Previously Submitted Documents and Initial Approval Receipt
  • Photocopy of lease agreement certified by RERA in Dubai
  • Duly certified deed of incorporation (for all types of companies)
  • As necessary, Approvals from other government entities
  • For civil establishments and companies that are 100% owned by nationals of non-GCC countries, the certified service agent contract. It will also require the participation of a local service agent.

Moreover, you will have to open a bank account which is an integral part of the continental license. Therefore, according to the law, the company will have to separate its personal funds from professional funds. Also, in the country, you will find international banks, digital-only banks, and well-established local banks.

Thus, each one will offer particular advantages for emerging companies, large foreign corporations, or small businesses.

Secure your office space

Possibly, you will prefer a specific location for your company, but if you are not entirely sure, you can request expert advice. These advisors will be able to find a good rental or buy some space for the workplace.

You will have many options to consider the mainland company setup Dubai cost. Likewise, each one has its own particularities and you can select the one that suits your needs. Below you can see what some of them are:

Apply for relevant visas

To apply for visas you will need to do a business setup in Dubai mainland and you will have to:

  1. Open a government file
  2. Process the establishment card
  3. Request the number of employment and residence visas for the worker and his/her family members
  4. In addition, the verification, certification, and translation of some documents


When you think about doing a business setup in Dubai mainland it can become overwhelming. This is because you will have to start operations immediately without having established partnerships or alliances. However, this task can be easier if you hire comprehensive assistance from professionals.

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