How to Set up a Business in Mainland Dubai

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Thinking of starting a business in Dubai? Well, you have chosen one of the best business environments in the world! As you already know, the main decision is to choose the right jurisdiction whether it be Free zone or Mainland. Learn more about the key differences here.

Today, let us know more about how to set up a business in Mainland.

Why set up a Business in Mainland?

Along with free access to do business in any part of the world and the UAE, here are a few benefits one can get from Dubai Mainland business setup:

  • No limitations on visas
  • No limitations in office space requirement
  • Great opportunity to expand by forming branches
  • New permit to grow the business in the mainland without establishing a branch office
  • No minimum capital investment required
  • Permission to undertake government projects

Step-by-step procedure

If you want to commence your operations in this jurisdiction, you have to register your company with the Department of Economic Development (DED). Here is a step-by-step procedure to establish a company in Dubai Mainland.

  • Choose Business Category. If you are confused about it or cannot find your type in the official lists of business activities as provided by DED, you can inquire directly at their official website.

  • Identify Business Activity. Business activity is the basis for selecting the legal form and type of license. There are six types of licenses: industrial, commercial, professional, tourism, agricultural and occupational. Businesses can have more than one business activity. Currently, there are more than 2,000 business activities to choose from in the UAE.
  • Select Legal Form. The legal form is the basis for identifying applicable laws and regulations. It must match the business activity. In the UAE, an entrepreneur can select one of the following legal forms: General partnership, Limited partnership, Limited liability company (LLC), Public joint stock company (PJSC), Private joint stock company (PrJSC), Civil company, Local company branch, GCC company branch, Foreign company branch, Free zone company branch, Sole Establishment, Holding companies.
  • Register Trade Name. An entrepreneur can apply for the trade name through the economic department in each emirate, through its website or mobile application. During the application process, you will be issued a payment voucher or a transaction number, which you will need to use as a reference when you pay. Note that the local department of economic development registers the trade name, while the Ministry of Economy registers the trademark.
  • Get Initial Approval. It allows the entrepreneur to proceed with the next steps in setting up a business, meaning that the UAE Government has no objection to the business being established in the country. It does not, however, grant the authority to run or practice the business activity. Some activities like legal affairs, security affairs and financial securities, and commodities require additional approvals from government entities.
  • Draft MoA. After you get the approval, you will need to approach an authorized entity (like DED) to draft the Memorandum of Association, and then sign your LSA or Corporate Agent Agreement. These requirements depend on the legal size of the business.
  • Select Your Ideal Location. Regulations for selecting the ideal business location vary with emirates. To get the area from where you can operate your business, you need to comply with all the set requirements by the concerned emirate’s Department of Economic Development. Besides that, permission for land planning regulations of local municipalities is also needed. 
  • Get Additional Government Approvals. A business requires additional permissions and approvals from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Executive Council, Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), Local municipal department, Ministry of Economy, Supreme Petroleum Council, and finally from the Local health departments. 
  • Colllect Your Business Licence. After completing the above steps, you can collect the business license from the service centers of the economic departments or download your trade license from the financial department website.

Where one might face some business restrains in Free zone business setups, the UAE Mainland offers possibilities for expansion and growth. Starting a business in the UAE mainland offers multiple opportunities for entrepreneurs. However, documentation and approvals along with business licensing need to be taken into careful consideration. 

We at Palladium Group can help you in shaping your future by simplifying the business setup process. Contact us today - we are happy to assist you!