How to Setup Business in Dubai Mainland?

how to setup business in Dubai mainland

Table of Contents

Introduction to Dubai Mainland

Dubai mainland is the main business hub in Dubai where commerce and trade come together. It is basically an area where companies and businesses can register their operations under a mainland company. The mainland company formation requires 100% ownership of the business to be with UAE nationals or a UAE based company.

It is home to the most prominent business entities in the United Arab Emirates, and a place that fosters growth and expansion.

Dubai’s unique geographical location has helped it become a major trading hub connecting Asia, Africa, Europe and Middle East.

It is essential that you take help from professionals who know all about the process and who can guide you through all phases of licensing and registration.

Advantages of Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

UAE is one of the developing nations in the world that offers the best business opportunities to global investors. This country has become a hub for entrepreneurs who intend to start and run their business smoothly and successfully. If we consider Dubai in particular, there are many reasons why investors should set up their business in this emirate of UAE.

Dubai is an ideal destination for international businesses as this city offers several advantages such as:

  • Investors can save a lot of money when they run their business in Dubai. The cost of setting up a business in this emirate is relatively low when compared to other global cities. Thus, entrepreneurs can save on rental expenses, labor costs, utility bills and other operational costs. Also, this emirate does not levy corporate tax on companies and individuals.
  • The infrastructure facilities offered by Dubai are matchless and perfect for any business. There is excellent road network, rail connectivity, easy access to seaports, airports and other logistics facilities that help in the smooth functioning of businesses.
  • Businesses located in Dubai mainland will benefit from the strategic location of this region. This place is well-connected with other parts of the world through airways and waterways. Most European cities are just 5 hours away from Dubai which makes it an ideal.
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% capital repatriation and profit repatriation
  • No personal income tax
  • No corporate tax for 50 years
  • Easy access to Dubai’s international markets and local suppliers
  • Access to a pool of skilled professionals and huge labor market.

Steps Involved in Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

The procedure for Mainland Company Formation in Dubai is quite simple and straightforward. It takes around five working days to complete the whole process. The documents required for the process are easy to produce. But prior to registering a business, one needs to have a clear idea of the type of business they want to start and where they would like to locate it. There are various options available while deciding on the type of business you want to start. When it comes to choosing where you want your company located, there are many options available ranging from studios, offices, warehouses, restaurants, retail outlets etc.

Starting a business in Dubai Mainland can be successfully done by following these steps.

1. Choose the Business Activity

The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of business you would like to start. You have the option of selecting one of the following legal entities:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Public Joint Stock Company
  • Private Joint Stock Company

Here are some additional pointers to assist you in selecting the appropriate business activity for your company’s establishment in Dubai Mainland:

  • Choose a business activity that is a good fit for your skills and experience
  • Choose a business activity that you can invest and expand
  • Choose a business activity that is profitable & viable
  • Choose a business activity that has demand & scope in Dubai Mainland.

2. Select an Appropriate Trade Name for Your Company

One of the most important tasks in forming a company in Dubai Mainland is deciding on a suitable brand name.

In Dubai, you must ensure that the name you choose for your company is not similar to another company’s name and is not insulting. You should also check to see if your selected name is registered by a trademark.

Select a name based on the criteria below:

  • It must be unique, memorable and appealing
  • It must reflect what your company does
  • It should not be offensive or suggest illegal activities
  • It cannot contain any royal or religious titles or words from Islamic sources such as Allah or Mohammed
  • It cannot contain names or initials of government departments, ministries and bodies such as Emaar and Etisalat
  • It should be in English, Arabic or a combination of both languages.

3. Apply for Obtaining the Initial Approval from DED

The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government agency in charge of granting initial approval for business establishment in the Mainland of Dubai.

An entrepreneur must submit the following documentation to DED in order to receive first approval:

  • A photocopy of the business owner’s passport and visa
  • A photocopy of the owner’s Emirates ID card (if available)
  • A photocopy of business license from previous sponsor or a copy of letter from previous sponsor stating that he/she has no objection to do business with another sponsor.
  • An attested power of attorney authorizing Oryx World LLC to act on his behalf.
  • The application form should be signed by the owner and submitted along with other documents as mentioned above. The processing time is one working day.

4. Apply for a Memorandum of Association (MOA)

The Memorandum of Association (MOA) is the most important document that specifies a company’s structure. It outlines the essential parameters under which a corporation is permitted to function as well as the reason for its formation.

The MOA specifies the company’s name, registration office, the type of business it will conduct, and the number, type, and value of shares it will issue.

Documents required for MOA:

  • Application form for MOA.
  • Trade name approval copy from DED.
  • Certificate of incorporation from DED.
  • Letter from the bank confirming that there is available capital in the bank account of the company to be set up in Dubai Mainland.

5. Issue or Transfer Visas for Employees and Spouses

The time required to issue or transfer employee visas will depend on the type of business. For free zone companies, it is relatively simple and fast, while for UAE mainland companies the processes are more complex.

Employee visas are issued in the name of the company and not the individual. The company sponsor acts as a guarantor to the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) by guaranteeing to pay all expenses incurred by any of its employees in case they incur any fines or other financial liabilities while they are working in Dubai.

It is possible for companies to be able to self-sponsor their employees; however, this requires substantial capital investment and is not practical for most investors.

6. Issue Residence Permits for Employees and Family Members

Whether it’s for a worker or a family member, the method for obtaining a resident visa is the same. Following the issuance of your work permit, you have 60 days to request for permits for your workers and any families joining you to the UAE, according the Ministry of Labor.

On a resident visa, members of the family under the age of 18 must be joined by one parent. Only one parent will be able to accompany the child if both parents seek for a residence visa. For example, if both you and your wife both have resident visas and want to bring your child with you, just one person should apply for a residence visa.

7. Process License for Establishing Headquarters / Offices/ Branch Offices/ Project Offices

We must then choose a license based on the type of your business activity until we have an authorized name. In Dubai Mainland, three categories of licenses are available: commercial, professional, and industrial. The annual renewal fees are determined by the number of visas we require and the category in which our Department of Economic Development trade license was awarded (DED).

  • Commercial License A license is required to open a business institution such as a trading company, a general trading company, or a service-provider company.
  • Industrial License for manufacturing businesses .This form of business will require clearance from the Ministry of Economy, as well as the submission of necessary paperwork.
  • Professional License: Medical, health-care, technical, and consulting services are examples of service providers. Consider getting a professional license.

8. Open Bank Account in UAE

Bank account opening in UAE is a crucial part of the business setup process. When you plan to open a new company, you have to make sure that your company has a bank account with a reputed bank. This makes it easy for you to receive payments from customers and also pay your employees or suppliers in time.

There are several local and international banks in the UAE that provide banking services to individuals and businesses. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai requires a bank account in the UAE for business setup in mainland Dubai. The DED will not issue a trade license without a bank account in Dubai.

Read More: How to Get a Freelance Visa in Dubai?

The list of documents required to open a bank account in the UAE may vary from one bank to another. Some banks may require more documents than others. But there is a general set of documents which most banks will ask you to submit along with your application form for opening a bank account for Business Setup in UAE.


Launching or expanding a business in Dubai means taking part in the largest economic hub in the Middle East. From consumerism to enterprise and from tourism to transportation, the island crossing the Dubai Creek has much to offer businesses of all sizes and types. Launching your own business here opens you up to about 80 million potential customers, as well as endless opportunities for expansion and growth. This guide will help you begin setting up your business—a process that is simpler than most think.

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