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Mainland License in Dubai

Due to its flexibility of licensing and scaling corporate success – Dubai is considered to be the hub of successful businesses. The mainland company is an ideal option for several commercial operations, including trade, eCommerce, logistics, etc but you will need a license for your business. 

The Emirate’s Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for issuing business licenses in the UAE. An immediate virtual license for a year is available to investors from DED Dubai if you follow all the guidelines specified for setting up your business in the UAE. 

For investors looking for a simple way to set up a firm, obtain a residency visa, create a bank account, and begin operations, a mainland company setup is the best option. So, if you’re considering growing your business in Dubai, explore all the data about applying for a mainland license in Dubai. 

dubai mainland license

Why Business Setup in Dubai Mainland?

The UAE mainland is the region that serves as the center of most commercial activity. As a location for onshore business establishments, the area is pretty famous. Therefore, DED has granted permission for all commercial organizations to conduct their operations freely across the entirety of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The following are the main benefits for businesses using Mainland licenses:

  • There is no minimum capital needed to create a firm.
  • The straightforward and speedy registration process.
  • Flexibility to open offices and do business within the UAE.
  • Ability to accept employment in both the public and private sectors.
  • No limit on the number of awarded visas (subject to office size).
  • Up to 100% of capital and profit can be repatriated.
  • Exemption from income and corporation taxes.
  • No yearly audits are necessary.
  • Flexibility to diversify the company into other markets.

On the other hand, Free Zone businesses are restricted to operating within the industry that their zone specializes in and only transact business with the private sector. As a result, many businesses find Mainland company formation potential in Dubai more appealing.

Types of Dubai Mainland Licenses

There are three types of Dubai mainland licenses you can apply for, depending on the type of your business. 

1. Commercial Trade License

A commercial trade license is necessary for mainland businesses to conduct any form of trade activity, including the purchasing and selling of products and commodities, in the UAE. This business license may be used in the UAE for both specialized trading and general trading operations, and it can be used to establish a limited liability company (LLC) or a single establishment.

2. Industrial License

You will require an industrial license if your business intends to engage in industrial operations, such as producing items. As a result, it’s the best choice for companies and manufacturers. However, additional authorization from certain authorities is required.

3. Professional License

A Professional License is the best choice for businesses that engage in activities linked to services. For instance, consulting is the most frequent activity connected to this license. In addition, however, you can use this license to conduct various additional commercial operations.

dubai mainland license

How to Get a Dubai Mainland License? (Step-by-step)

Following the below steps, you can quickly get your Dubai mainland license:

  • Select your business activity
  • Finalize the location
  • Identify the legal structure of your business
  • Look for a sponsor
  • Finalize your business name
  • Apply for a trade license
  • Finalize the office space
  • Apply for visa
  • Partner with a business setup company

Step 01 – Select your business activity

Before forming a business on the UAE mainland, you must choose the sector in which you will operate. The Department of Economic Development lists thousands of allowed business activities (DED). Trade, agriculture, hospitality, and manufacturing are a few of these. 

Mainland enterprises are permitted to engage in more than 2000 DED-listed activities, in contrast to many free zone businesses that are limited to certain activities based on location.

Step 02 – Finalize the location

The next stage is choosing where you want to operate after deciding on your company activity. There are no location limitations for businesses operating on the UAE’s continental territory. 

The ideal site will rely on various elements, including your company activity and budget. Setting up business close to one of the popular ports in the UAE, such as Jebel Ali, Mina Khalid, or Mina Zayed makes perfect financial sense if your firm relies on imports and exports. 

The simplicity of building branch offices is another benefit of setting up a mainland firm in Dubai. This implies that companies are open to many places and can gradually establish a significant local presence.

Step 03 – Identify the legal structure of your business

Legally speaking, international company owners are permitted to establish a variety of firms on the UAE mainland. 

A Limited Liability Company is the most typical company structure on the mainland (LLC). A limited liability company is a separate legal entity with two or more shareholders. 

To establish a business in the UAE mainland, a firm must create an LLC if it wants to engage in the commercial or industrial activity (including manufacturing and industrial operations). 

You’d need a local sponsor for this. On the other hand, a professional service firm can be established without a foreign sponsor and with 100% foreign ownership. 

Step 04 – Look for a sponsor

Foreign company owners could previously only run mainland businesses in Dubai by collaborating with a sponsor or a local service agent. However, a local sponsor is necessary if an LLC operates under a commercial or industrial license. 

A UAE citizen or a business with a UAE address can serve as your local sponsor. The local sponsor will hold 51% of the company in both scenarios.

Step 05 – Finalize your business name

Choosing a company name is an essential first step in launching a business in the UAE. There are a few things to think about while making this decision. First, strict naming guidelines apply for selecting a suitable name for your business and you need to refer to these guides. An expert in the business establishment can assist you throughout this stage.

You should consider the following factors while deciding on the name of your business.

  • Do not use offensive or profane titles.
  • Avoid using acronyms.
  • Don’t use another company’s name without permission.

Step 06 – Apply for a trade license

 It’s time to contact the Department of Economic Development to request a mainland trading license. A trade license application requires several different papers. A few examples of these include:

  • A license application.
  • A statement outlining sponsor agreements.
  • The ownership is split between all partners.
  • Shareholder visas.

Step 07 – Finalize the office space

After getting the license, it is time to choose an office space after you have a business trade license. Serviced offices on the mainland of the UAE are often owned and managed by a third party and come fully furnished. Typical items include desks, phones, internet access, and reception services. Additionally, your lease payment would consist of electricity costs, rent, and the usage of office supplies.

Step 08 – Apply for a Visa

Business owners in the UAE mainland are not subject to any restrictions when applying for visas. However, the office space needed should align with the number of visas requested. The standard is 100 square feet of office or warehouse space per visa. 

You will be allowed to sponsor dependents, such as family members and domestic employees (maids or drivers, for example), for their visas as the owner of a UAE mainland firm.

Step 09 – Partner with a business setup company

 A thorough grasp of the legal and business formation procedures is necessary to set up a mainland firm in the UAE. 

For international business owners, working with UAE-based business setup experts helps reduce the burden of starting a firm and here is where Airzone comes into action!

Rather than finding the document and offices, you can contact Airzone to find you the perfect business setup company. As business setup professionals know every in and out of setting up a company in the UAE, you can rest assured that you are availing services from experts!

Requirements to obtain a Dubai Mainland license

There are specific documents needed to obtain a mainland license in Dubai. To fill out the license application form, you will need to provide the following: 

  • A copy of the business owner(s)’ passport.
  • Filled-out application.
  • Two passport-size photographs in color.
  • A license application.
  • A statement outlining sponsor agreements.
  • The ownership split between all partners.
  • Shareholder visas.

Cost of Dubai Mainland License

The cost to register a mainland Dubai corporation ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 35,000. The type of license, the size and type of the firm, the sort of commercial activity, and other factors may all affect it, which can increase the cost of a mainland license in Dubai.


Applying for a mainland license in Dubai opens the door to prospects and achievement. In the UAE, it is lawful for you to work for or provide your services to any client, customer, or employer, and you are free to pursue endeavors consistent with your training and area of specialization.

Instead of an industrial or commercial license, a professional license permits foreign investors to control the company entirely and gives them the same rights as a limited corporation.

Partnering with a business setup company in the UAE can help you deal with all the legalities and documents so you can focus solely on profit. So start your process toward success now!