Mainland Company Formation

Mainland companies offer numerous business opportunities as they give you the liberty to trade locally inside the UAE as well as on international markets. However, a mainland company formation in the UAE is accompanied by a number of legal requirements.

EBS is at your side with all its expertise to guide you through the process of mainland company setup. We help you to identify the best location for your business activity, take care of the documentation and assist you to acquire necessary permissions with the local authorities.

Benefits of mainland company formation

A mainland company setup comes with many benefits as it grants you the greatest flexibility among the different business models available in the United Arab Emirates. Mainland companies have no restrictions on trade and no limits on location. A mainland license enables its owner to do business with consumers from anywhere in the UAE, and even to offer services to the government.

Further benefits of a mainland company formation include:

  • 100% tax-free income
  • 100% foreign ownership for more than 120 activities
  • No currency restrictions
  • No minimum capital requirement
  • Unlimited number of employment visa
  • Permission to rent or buy physical office space
  • Permission to conduct business inside the UAE

Up to the year 2020, mainland company formation came with some additional complexity, as there was a requirement for a local partner who would hold at least 51% of the company. Nowadays, this is no longer needed in most cases. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has largely abolished the requirement for a local sponsor, allowing 100% foreign ownership for mainland company setup for more than 120 business activities. This gives international entrepreneurs much more flexibility and a great deal of new business opportunities on the mainland today. However, there are still certain strategic sectors that require a local partner, for example businesses related to oil or gas.

Areas for mainland company formation

The UAE consists of the seven emirates Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah. Each of them is a jurisdiction with its own regulations, and each of them has its own Department of Economic Development (DED). Businesses set up in the mainland must be licensed by the DED of the respective emirate.

Depending on the type of business activity, the regulations and license fees vary among the seven emirates. In order to benefit from the best conditions for your mainland company setup, it is advisable to thoroughly compare the requirements and restrictions of the different regions.

Types of mainland licenses

A mainland company formation requires a trade license. They are issued by the DED of the chosen mainland for various kinds of business activities. The most common types of trades licenses include:

  • Commercial license (e.g. logistics, real estate brokerage, car rental)
  • Industrial license (e.g. food processing, textile, petroleum products)
  • Professional license (e.g. artistry, medical products, printing and publishing)
  • Tourism license (e.g. travel agency, hotel management, cruise boat management)

Furthermore, there are a number of options regarding the type of business structure, e.g. the establishment of a sole proprietary business, a partnership firm, or an LLC.

Get in touch for a consultation on the various business opportunities that the UAE has to offer for your mainland company formation!

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