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How To Start A Mainland Business In The UAE

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A mainland corporation is one that is registered with the UAE DED (Department of Economic Development). It means that if you want to do business in the UAE mainland, you must first register a business entity with the DED, who will then issue you a business license.

Any industrial, commercial, trading, professional, or tourism activity can be carried out by mainland firms. According to the DED’s business regulations, some professional activities are prohibited, while others require the approval of regulatory authorities.

Foreign investors have the option of forming a partnership with UAE nationals owning 51 percent of the company or forming a Sole Establishment company with 100% ownership. Some economic operations, however, are only available to UAE citizens.

Benefits of Establishing a Mainland Business in the UAE

There are numerous advantages to forming a mainland firm. This business structure promises a bright future for your professional endeavors. Companies on the mainland provide a diverse range of trade, complete ownership, and location flexibility. These are some of the reasons why businesses are interested in establishing a mainland business in the UAE. If you want more information about the Mainland, you can visit Airzone


A mainland firm in the UAE has no constraints on inter-company trading or location restrictions. Mainland businesses can also provide government services or trade directly with UAE residents. Forming a mainland company also allows firms to open many branches, allowing them to establish a significant presence across the UAE.

Foreign Entrepreneurs Trading

Having a mainland business in the UAE is beneficial for all the new and experienced foreign entrepreneurs. Foreign entrepreneurs can trade/operate directly with the local market on the Mainland.

Good Scope

Businesses on the mainland can also handle a huge range of projects. Simply re-register the new business activity with the DED when you want to diversify your offering on the mainland, and you’re ready to trade freely.

Steps to Start a Mainland Business in the UAE

It’s time to get your business up and running. Let’s get your business off to a great start!

Think About Your Business Activity

The first decision to make before establishing a business in the UAE mainland is which industry you will operate in. According to the Department of Economic Development, there are hundreds of permissible business activities (DED). Trading, agriculture, hospitality, and manufacturing are just a few of them. Mainland enterprises are free to trade in any of the 2000+ DED-listed activities, unlike many free zone businesses, which are restricted from particular activities based on their location.

Find a Good Location

The next stage after deciding on your company activity is to decide where you want to operate. There are no limits on where businesses can set up shop in the UAE mainland. Many considerations, such as finances and the type of business you want to do, will determine the best location. If your firm relies on imports and exports, locating near one of the UAE’s busiest ports, such as Jebel Ali, Mina Zayed, or Mina Khalid, is a smart move. Another benefit of establishing a mainland firm in Dubai is the simplicity with which branch offices may be established. This means that firms are not restricted to a single location and can gradually establish a broad local presence.

Identify Your Business Legal Structure

From a legal aspect, international entrepreneurs can establish a variety of enterprises on the UAE mainland. A Limited Liability Company is the most popular mainland business structure (LLC). A limited liability company (LLC) is a separate legal entity with two or more stockholders. To establish a firm in the UAE mainland, a company that wishes to trade under a commercial or industrial license (including industrial and manufacturing activities) must form an LLC. A local sponsor would be required. A professional service business, on the other hand, does not require a foreign sponsor and can be 100% foreign-owned. More on that later!

Find a Name For Your Company

One of the most crucial business decisions an entrepreneur can make is naming their firm after their brand and professional ideals. There are a few things to bear in mind before visiting the UAE. Offensive language, religious references, and inferences to other groups are all prohibited. In your company name, you can only use your complete personal name. When writing your company name in other languages, all names must be spelled out rather than translated. Check out our Choosing a Company Name in the UAE guide to learn everything you need to know about naming your business.

Get a License

It’s now time to submit an application to the Department of Economic Development for a mainland trading license. An application for a trade license must include a number of documents. To name a few, there’s a license application, a memorandum of sponsor agreements, and ownership percentages among all partners and shareholder visas.


If you want to start a mainland business in the UAE, make sure you read this article properly to know what are the steps to establish a good flourishing business. All the best!

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