Will a company on the mainland fit your needs? Start trading in the United Arab Emirates and worldwide with more than 3,000 company options.


Entrepreneurs and investors flourish in Dubai because of the city’s ideal conditions. Companies are able to conduct businesses both domestically and globally by setting up their ventures in mainland Dubai. To register a business on the mainland, it must follow the guidelines and processes established by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

It is suggested to employ the services of business setup experts to complete the company formation procedure to save both time and costs. For over 19 years, OnTime Business Setup has been establishing companies in Dubai. We can help you set up your business on the Dubai mainland, making each process as accessible and efficient as possible. Our experts will aid you at every step, and your journey will bear fruits in no time.

Pick the best platform for your project
Prepare for possible future expansion and upgrades.
Conduct business anywhere in the United Arab Emirates
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Setting up your business on the mainland has numerous advantages.
Your professional career will be secure thanks to OnTime's business model.
Mainland businesses offer complete ownership, and the ability to operate in any area.
Entrepreneurs who want to set up a business on the UAE mainland will be able to cash in on these benefits.

Flexibility And No Trade Barriers

UAE mainland businesses have no trade or location limits. You can provide government-level services and interact directly with customers from the mainland. Establishing a mainland company allows businesses to create branches throughout the UAE, giving them regional impact.

Wide Range Of Potential Tasks

Mainland companies can also handle a wide range of projects. With the DED, you may simply re-register the new company activity and you will be able to trade easily within the mainland once again.

High-paying Government Contracts At Your Fingertips

Dubai-based enterprises rely heavily on UAE government tenders. The current approved budget is AED 17.5bn (USD 4.76bn) in government spending, including AED 4bn on infrastructure. Government and social facility upgrades received a combined AED 1.2bn. A well-established Dubai mainland business helps you win government contracts.

100% Ownership

100% foreign ownership eliminates the necessity for an Emirati business partner. Foreign investors considering the UAE will embrace this development and can benefit from the UAE’s fast-growing economy by controlling 100% of their mainland enterprises. However, oil and gas businesses require a local partner.


It's time to create a checklist for the start-up of your company. Start your business out on the right foot!
Choose your line of business

The first thing to decide before you set up a company in the UAE mainland is the industry in which you will trade. There are thousands of permitted business activities as listed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Some of these include trading, agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing. Unlike many free zone businesses that are restricted from certain activities based on their location, mainland businesses are free to trade in any of the 2000+ DED-listed activities.

Finalize your business structure

International entrepreneurs can legally create a variety of businesses in the UAE. Most mainland companies are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). Two or more stockholders can form a distinct LLC. Commercial or industrial activity in the UAE must register an LLC (UAE), which requires a local sponsor. However, professional service firms don’t need a local sponsor and can be 100% foreign-owned!

Get the trade name approved

An entrepreneur’s company name should highlight their brand and business values. Traveling to the UAE requires extensive planning and research. Business names must be whole names i.e. they must be written how they sound for them to be pronounced correctly in other languages. Check out our guide on choosing a company name in the UAE.

Get a mainland trade license

Obtain a mainland trading license with DED clearance. Business license applications require many documents. These include a license application, a memorandum of sponsor agreements, and partner and shareholder visas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to set a business in Dubai mainland?

Yes, mainland company formation is easy.
In recent years, the emirate has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe to do business in the UAE. Not only can foreign businesspeople take advantage of the UAE’s 0% tax rate on corporate and personal income, but they are also now free to retain 100% business ownership in most cases. Hence, it is profitable to start a business in Dubai Mainland.

Do you require a local sponsor to set up a mainland company?

Depending on the nature of your business activity, you may or may not need to partner with an Emirati. In Dubai mainland, around 1,100 of the 2,300 activities across sectors, including trading and manufacturing, no longer require a local sponsor.

In Abu Dhabi, establishing majority of the trading activities still require investors to partner with an Emirati sponsor. Therefore, they have to follow the 51-49 shareholding provision.

Types of licenses on the mainland?

For a mainland company formation, you must apply for the correct business license. These are:
Professional Trade License – For businesses to offer professional services
Commercial Trade License – For businesses that buy and sell commodities
Industrial Trade License – For businesses that manufacture or perform industrial activities

What is LLC structure like in Dubai mainland?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the most popular forms of legal structures in Dubai mainland. Foreign investors can set up an LLC in Dubai mainland with 2 to 50 shareholders. Each shareholder in LLC is liable to the extent of his or her shares in the company.

What is the cost of setting up a business in Dubai mainland?

Several factors are at play when calculating the cost of setting up a business in Dubai Mainland, such as the type of license, number of visas, approvals, jurisdiction etc.
On average, the starting price of setting up a mainland Dubai company can be AED 23,000 – AED 25,000, all-inclusive.

What are the visa requirements for investors and employees while setting up a business in Dubai?

The visa requirements will depend on the type of business formation.

A mainland company will require a resident visa for the management and other responsible members. Only then are you allowed to recruit employees for your company.

How long will it take to set up a Dubai mainland company?

4 to 5 working days.
According to the majority of business experts in Dubai, the process of establishing a mainland Dubai company may take up to 4 to 5 working days, depending on the many variables and certifications required for the company’s formation.

What are the advantages of a mainland business setup compared to a free zone?

Flexibility to do business in any part of the UAE, and with local and government authorities.
No limit on number of visas (depending on the size of the office space).
Office premises anywhere in mainland Dubai.
More options on business activities.

Can I get a permanent residence visa if I open a company in Dubai?

Yes, it is possible to obtain permanent residence by setting up a mainland Dubai company with an Investor Visa (valid for 3 years).

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