A Comprehensive Guide to Dubai Mainland Licenses

Dubai, a global hub for commerce and innovation, continues to attract entrepreneurs worldwide with its progressive business policies and robust economic infrastructure. The government’s recent initiatives, such as reducing costs, introducing instant licenses, and allowing 100% ownership for commercial trading, have further bolstered Dubai’s appeal as a business destination. This article provides a detailed overview of the process, benefits, and types of licenses required for setting up a company in Dubai Mainland.

Benefits of Setting Up a Company in Dubai Mainland

Choosing Dubai Mainland for your business setup offers numerous advantages:

  • No strict requirement of minimum capital for incorporating a mainland company.
  • No restriction in business activities, unlike the free zones.
  • Owners of mainland businesses can open their offices anywhere in Dubai.
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits are allowed and exempted from corporate tax.

Understanding Business Licenses in Dubai Mainland

Before embarking on any business venture in Dubai, entrepreneurs must first secure a business license. Operating a company in Dubai Mainland without a trade license is a punishable offence. The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the regulatory authority responsible for issuing business licenses in Dubai Mainland. The DED offers three primary types of licenses:

1- Commercial License

A commercial license caters to businesses involved in trading activities, including importing, re-exporting, and trading of permitted goods. This license covers sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, construction, transportation, stockpiling, communication, financial intermediation, real estate, and leasing. Foreign investors with a commercial license are entitled to 100% ownership of their company.

2- Professional License

A professional license is designed for service-oriented activities and individuals who wish to utilize their expertise in a professional capacity. This license covers sectors such as education, health, social work, community, and social & personal services.

3- Industrial License

An industrial license is required for activities that involve capital investment, such as manufacturing, mining, quarrying, electricity, gas, and water.

Legal Structures in Dubai Mainland

Choosing the right legal structure is a critical decision for any investor planning to incorporate a company in Dubai Mainland. The legal structure is determined based on the number of shareholders and the nature of the business. The DED primarily allows the following legal structures:

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship can be established with only one shareholder, who is also the owner of the company. The owner is solely responsible for the profits and liabilities of the business. Foreign nationals are only allowed to start a sole establishment under professional activities.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a popular choice among foreign investors. An LLC can be set up with 2 to 50 shareholders, each liable to the extent of his or her shares in the company. Foreign investors can enjoy 100% LLC ownership on selected activities, including commercial licenses such as a General Trading License.

Civil Company

A civil company is a partnership business for professionals in fields like medicine, law, engineering, and accounting. Partners of any nationality can be involved, but a Local Service Agent (LSA) is required if the partnership doesn't include UAE or GCC nationals.

Single Person LLC

A 'Single Person LLC' is owned by an individual or a corporate body. Unlike a sole proprietorship, the liability is limited to the shares held by the entity that owns the One Person LLC.

Steps to Form a Company in Dubai Mainland

The process of setting up a company in Dubai Mainland involves several steps:

  1. Choose a business activity.
  2. Determine an appropriate legal structure.
  3. Get the company name approved.
  4. Obtain initial approval from DED.
  5. Obtain external approvals for special activities.
  6. Rent a space and submit the tenancy contract (Ejari).
  7. Obtain the license.
Dubai Mainland

Requirements to Get a Technical Services Business License in Dubai

Availing Business Setup Services in Dubai

While the process of setting up a business in Dubai Mainland is generally straightforward, the wrong choice of activities or legal structures can derail your business plans. To avoid such issues, it’s advisable to hire professional business setup consultants.

Need Assistance?

PW offers comprehensive services covering essential requirements such as visa processing, document drafting, government liaising, bank account opening, and more. Their team of business setup consultants, PRO service executives, and compliance advisers ensures a hassle-free company incorporation process in Dubai.

Umair Ahmad

Company Formation Specialist
  • +971 56 403 8600
  • info@privatewolf.ae
  • 06, 11B Happiness Street, CityWalk, Dubai