Mainland businesses setup in UAE refers to registering and setting up a business through the DED or Department of Economic Development in any of the emirates in UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah).

UAE mainland businesses can operate and trade within UAE boundaries as well as the free zones, and also internationally. (Contrary to the free zones which can work within the free zones and outside UAE.)

Mainland company formation in UAE has undeniable advantages that cannot be ignored:

  • Limitless trade within UAE
  • Global business opportunities
  • No minimum capital required for company formation
  • Tax exemption
  • No annual audits
  • 100% ownership possibility (As of November 2020, based on UAE company law changes, the need for a local Emirati sponsor who would own 51% of a mainland business is removed for many activities.)
  • Recent changes in UAE’s legal environment are towards more ease and facilitation, therefore, making it the first choice for foreign direct investment

UAE mainland license types

There are two main types of mainland business licenses:

  • Mainland commercial license: For trading activities
  • Mainland professional license: Activities of a professional nature

Both license types can now be owned 100% by foreign nationals. Certain business activities that have a ‘strategic impact’ will still require local sponsorship, but these are now the exception.

Business activities for 100% ownership company formation in UAE

The activity lists for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi that no longer require local sponsorship can be found in the links below:

Local agents for mainland company formation with the professional license

Professional licenses will often require a local service agent. The local service agent is required to be the representative of your company to governmental departments and to facilitate registrations therein.

Local Service Agent is not a shareholder in your business and therefore ownership of the company rests 100% with you, the investor.

UAE mainland company registration vs other zones for company formation

There are a few considerations to take into account when deciding between UAE company formation in mainland vs other areas:

A mainland company license has the advantage of providing more choice with respect to office/industrial space.

In contrast, almost all free zones require any office space to be secured within the free zone.

When considering how your business will choose to present itself to clients and scale, this is an important consideration to be aware of.

– If you wish to physically trade with customers in the mainland area (i.e outside a free zone) then you will require a mainland license, or operate from a free zone and engage a third-party distributor who holds a mainland license.

– When considering the relative costs between free zone and mainland setup, ongoing margin erosion should be factored into calculations.

– With the removal of local sponsors, a mainland license has become much closer in cost relative to free zone licenses.

UAE mainland company formation with Nexus Partners

Setting up a new business in a new country with its own evolving rules and regulations could be intimidating, hard, and risky.

Which is why relying on business setup services is often the safest way to go to avoid some major risks such as wasted investments, inability to operate effectively due to unprofessional setup, banking issues, growth restrictions due to visa capacity, approval failures and …

Our UAE business setup services include all the necessary items you need:

  • Trade license registry
  • Establishment card
  • Your UAE residency visa
  • Setting up your bank account
  • VAT registration and tax services
  • Full-range PRO services

At Nexus we offer mainland business setup in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, or other emirates across the UAE.

Our business setup consultants can also answer any questions or concerns you might have:

  • Not sure which city to choose for mainland business setup?
  • Not sure which company type to register in UAE? LLC, sole establishment or a branch?
  • Looking to transition from your existing arrangements with a local sponsor to become 100% owned?
  • Not even sure whether to setup your business in UAE free zones or mainland?

We understand the confusion. Just ask for a free call from our consultants to get all the advice you need.

Fill in the consultation contact form below, and one of our experts will be in touch to help you find the right solution.

I recently used Nexus Partners to incorporate my business in Dubai and obtain visas, and I couldn't be more pleased with the experience. From start to finish, their team was knowledgeable, responsive, and dedicated to ensuring that everything was done correctly and efficiently.The process of incorporating a business in a foreign country can be daunting, but Nexus Partners made it easy. They took the time to explain everything to me in detail and answered all of my questions thoroughly. Their expertise and attention to detail were invaluable in navigating the complexities of the Dubai business landscape.The same can be said for their assistance with obtaining visas. Nexus Partners was proactive and made sure that all of the necessary paperwork was submitted on time and in the correct format. They kept me updated every step of the way and were always available to answer any questions or concerns.Overall, I highly recommend Nexus Partners to anyone looking for professional, efficient, and knowledgeable assistance with incorporating a business in Dubai or obtaining visas. Their expertise and commitment to client satisfaction are truly outstanding. Thank you, Nexus Partners!
Max OscroftMax Oscroft
11:35 02 Feb 23
After setting up several entities over the years in Dubai, with different agencies, Nexus have given the best service by far. Very clear communication while simply navigating the complexities of business creation in the Middle East. The team held my hand through the process and made it feel like a concierge service. They always contacted me with information rather having to chase them up which also made life far easier. Their additional services also mean that I can concentrate on driving the business forward, while they take care of the bits I don’t particularly want to do. I’ve recommended them to my close network, and everyone has had nothing but good things to say.
10:28 29 Jan 23
I found Nexus Partners details online and have been extremely impressed with their professionalism, patience, communication throughout the whole process in assisting with establishing my company in UAE.I highly recommend this company if you want to expand your business and require help with forming a company, residency, bank account opening.....
Tim MorganTim Morgan
06:37 16 Jan 23
I arrived in Dubai with very little idea about how to set up a company, open a corporate bank account and apply for UAE residency. Nexus Partners (and in particular Paul and Abdelrhman) have looked after my wife and I every step of the way. We are now fully operational and I could not recommend them highly enough. I would certainly use them again and recommend them to my friends and business associates.
02:49 19 Dec 22
Initially the premise of opening a small e-commerce company in Dubai sounds relatively simple. The online ads from all the corporate service providers make it seems like it's smooth and quick. But unless you have a team of lawyers handling things for you, in truth there are multiple challenges and obstacles, especially if you plan on also opening a local bank account.The process of opening a company in UAE is NOT anything like that of jurisdictions like Delaware. You're not just going to provide some details on a webpage, pay $200 and be done. You are going to need someone to guide you along the way.Nexus Partners and Mina in particular patiently assisted us from start to finish where other corporate service providers either demanded extra "consulting" fees or refused to contact us via any other method outside of WhatsApp. When presented with difficult or detailed questions, plenty of these providers with shiny website and normally quick call backs chose to simply ghost us.Working with Mina, all of our questions were answered as he guided us through the company formation process. He was extremely responsive, be it by phone, text, or email. He was also very knowledgeable, helping us to secure a trade license where other providers wanted huge fees in advance in order to cover their "exploration" fees.Overall, highly recommended for anyone looking for a bespoke company formation specialist in UAE.

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