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.

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