Dubai mainland is one of the most sought-after destinations in the UAE with great business potential and rewarding possibilities. The government policies and the growing corporate landscape makes it a highly attractive space, pulling aspiring investors and established enterprises to the arena. The government also promotes these investments and supports incoming businesses by offering incentives. However, any company looking to establish their business in Dubai mainland or any or Emirates, they must go through an elaborate Mainland company formation process and register themselves with the government.

Off the various options, being a mainland business has its benefits.

  • The company can acquire office space at any location within the UAE territory. 
  • You have the freedom to form trade relations with any business within or outside the UAE. Thus offering extensive business opportunities.
  • You require no capital for local Dubai mainland license
  • The process for employment visas, permits and license are fairly simple for mainland businesses
  • The company can participate in and undertake governmental projects without restrictions.

Policies and requirements

There are 2 main categories of mainland business licenses in the UAE – Commercial business license and professional license. While both of them require a local sponsor or representative, each of these hasits prerequisites and policies

  1. Commercial business license – A company applying for a commercial license needs to appoint a UAE national as a sponsor. The sponsor holds 51% shares of the company while the remaining are shared by the company owners, in the UAE.
  2. Professional business license – In case of professional business license applications, 100% ownership is held by the existing owners, while the UAE national operates as a service agent within the UAE.

In either case, the UAE national bears no obligation or responsibility to handle the day-to-day operations of the company. It is up to the organisation’s discretion and the agreement between the expat and the local agent.

A professional business license is provided to a singly owned organisation. If the company is owned by a group or shared, it qualifies as a civil corporation. Also, professional licenses are offered for a very specific skill set like – Financial advisors, designing professionals, IT services, advertising companies, business and legal consulting professionals etc.

Although Dubai is open to foreign investments and ventures across all industrial verticals, special permits are needed for offering services like Engineering consulting, educational services, money exchanges and health care.

Branch or Representative office

Most companies feel it an uneven trade to share ownership with a UAE national to enter the UAE market. And so are reluctant to offer ownerships for commercial licenses. An alternate to this is in registering the business in UAE as a branch office. This means that the company is registered in another country while the UAE office is just a branch of the parent company.
A branch is slightly different from a representative office in terms of business activities. While a representative office’s roles are strictly limited to marketing and promotions of the services, branch offices can perform all sorts of business activities as in any other company.

Zeiqs is a renowned name in the business consulting domain. Holding an elaborate portfolio of numerous corporations that have appointed our services to enter the UAE market. We can help you build your case specific to your business needs and assist with all the necessary paperwork for registrations and permits. Our team of certified consultants can formulate effective action plans for a smooth transition into the Emirate corporate network.