“Mainland” companies are normally used to trade within the local UAE market. There are several types of mainland companies, which can be incorporated. Mainland companies require a UAE National to act as an Agent (Civil Company) or company shareholder to own the 51% of the total shares of the company (LLC Company).

Benefits and characteristics

  • Dubai Economic Department is the main regulatory authority and responsible for issuing licenses related to Dubai mainland companies.
  • Local sponsor or Local service agent is required.
    • Local sponsor is required for commercial and industrial companies in which he will hold 51 % of shares and the remaining 49% will be for the expat or foreign shareholder.
    • Local service agent is required for professional or civil companies where expats are allowed to hold 100% shares of the company.
  • Physical office is required.
  • Minimum share capital is AED 1
  • One natural person or corporate entity may be the sole shareholder of an LLC.
  • All companies are required to keep accounting records at their relevant head offices for a minimum period of five years.
  • No foreign exchange control, quotas or trade barriers
  • 100% repatriation of profits and capital
  • Developed business community and center for major multinational corporations
  • Modern Infrastructure facilities
  • Multi-cultural population and work force from all over the world
  • Presence of world class airports and seaports
  • Presence E-Governance system (e-services)
  • Home of two of the world’s fast-growing airlines (Emirates and Etihad

Legal forms of business in Mainland

  • Individual Establishment – establishment owned by a sole proprietor.
  • Commercial company – owned by two or more persons entered into a contract to operate a profit generating enterprise.
    • General Partnership
    • Joint Participation Venture
    • Public Joint Stock
    • Private Joint Stock
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Branch representative office of a foreign company
  • Civil/Professional company – a company formed to perform activities which
    involve the use of investment of intellectual faculties, acquired information or
    the use of skills (e.g. carpentry). Two or more partners are required.

Advantages of Mainland company formation

  • In mainland set up you can operate your company from any part of the UAE.
  • Has flexibility to rent office space anywhere in Dubai.
  • Able to conduct business in Dubai mainland (unlike most FTZ companies).
  • Wide range of license types.
  • No paid-up capital requirement.
  • Easy to obtain bank accounts.

6 Main steps involved in Mainland company set up

  • Name approval and business activity selection.
  • Selection of Local Partner or Service Agent.
  • Apply for Initial Approval.
  • Preparation of Court Notarization and MOA.
  • Obtain office space and tenancy contract.
  • Final submission.


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