Business Setup in Dubai Mainland: A Comprehensive Guide

Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has become a global business destination renowned for its dynamic economy, strategic location, and business-friendly environment. One of the key options for entrepreneurs and investors looking to establish a presence in Dubai is setting up a business in the mainland. This article provides a comprehensive guide to understanding the process and requirements for Mainland Company Formation in Dubai


Legal Structure Options

Dubai mainland offers several legal structures for business setup, including:

a. Limited Liability Company (LLC):

This is the most common option, allowing foreign investors to have 49% ownership while a UAE national or a UAE company holds the remaining 51%.

b. Sole Proprietorship:

Suitable for individuals who want to establish a business on their own, with 100% ownership. However, a local service agent is required.

c. Civil Company:

Ideal for professional service providers, such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers, where 51% ownership must be held by UAE nationals.

Company Formation Process

The process of setting up a business in Dubai mainland involves the following steps:

Determine Business Activity:

Define the nature of your business activity and ensure it complies with Dubai’s legal requirements.

Choose a Company Name:

Select a unique and meaningful name for your company, adhering to the guidelines provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Obtain Initial Approval:

Submit the necessary documents, including passport copies of shareholders, proposed office lease agreement, and completed application form, to the DED for initial approval.

Lease Office Space:

Dubai mainland businesses are required to have a physical office space. Lease a suitable premises and obtain an Ejari (rental contract registration) certificate.

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Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Local Service Agent:

Draft the MOA, outlining the company’s structure, activities, and shareholder details. If setting up an LLC, appoint a local service agent who acts as a liaison with government authorities.

Obtain Approvals:

Submit the required documents, including MOA, lease agreement, and local service agent agreement, to the DED for final approval and obtain the necessary trade license(s).

Register with Authorities:

Register your business with relevant authorities, such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Labor, and General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

Requirements and Documents

To complete the business setup process in Dubai mainland, you will typically need the following documents:

a. Passport copies of shareholders and managers

b. No Objection Certificate (NOC) from existing sponsor, if applicable

c. Lease agreement and Ejari certificate

d. MOA or partnership agreement

e. Local service agent agreement, if setting up an LLC

f. Initial approval application form

g. Bank reference letter

h. Company stamp

i. Copies of UAE national shareholders’ passports and Emirates ID cards

Benefits of Mainland Business Setup

Establishing a business in Dubai mainland offers several advantages:

Access to Local Market:

Dubai mainland allows businesses to trade freely within the UAE market, providing access to a larger customer base.

No Currency Restrictions:

Companies in Dubai mainland face no restrictions on currency exchange, enabling easy transfer of funds.

Multiple Business Activities:

Mainland businesses can engage in a wide range of commercial activities without limitations, subject to obtaining the necessary licenses.

No Minimum Capital Requirement:

Dubai mainland does not impose any specific minimum capital requirement, offering flexibility to entrepreneurs.

Presence in Prime Locations:

Businesses in the mainland can set up their offices in prestigious locations across Dubai, enhancing their reputation.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

When setting up a business in Dubai mainland, it is essential to consider the legal and regulatory aspects, including:

a. Local Sponsorship: Depending on the legal structure, a local UAE sponsor or service agent may be required. Although they hold a majority share, their involvement is limited to a nominal role and does not interfere with the company’s operations.

b. Compliance with UAE Laws: Businesses must comply with the UAE’s legal framework, including labor laws, taxation regulations, and intellectual property rights.

c. Trade Name Protection: Register your company’s trade name and protect your intellectual property to prevent unauthorized use.

d. Employment Regulations: Follow the UAE’s labor laws, including hiring practices, employment contracts, and visa requirements for employees.


Business bank account in Dubai mainland provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to establish a presence in this vibrant and lucrative market. By understanding the legal structures, company formation process, requirements, and legal considerations, you can navigate the business setup process smoothly. Dubai’s favorable business environment, coupled with its strategic location and diverse market, make it an ideal choice for business expansion and growth.

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