We wouldn’t be wrong in saying that all the main commercial networks are built in the mainland of Dubai. The heart of Dubai where the economy flourishes has many leading areas like Sheikh Zayed road, Deira, Business Bay, etc. These areas have one of the most famous and futuristic corporate businesses and infrastructures. 

From budding entrepreneurs to business experts, Dubai mainland offers a space for everyone to achieve their mission in the city.

If you are planning to set up your business in the heart of the “ city of gold”, then the first and the most important thing that is the mainstay of Dubai business Setup is a Dubai Mainland License

In this article, you will get to know the entire licensing process and the necessary prerequisites for business setup in mainland Dubai. 

What is a Dubai Mainland License? Types and Examples

A Mainland License is an official document issued by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai(DED). It is a validation of your company as a legal entity in Dubai. A person cannot establish his business without the approval of the DED.

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Types of Licenses in Mainland Dubai: 

Professional License Companies that are setting up a professional service have to get this license to start their service-oriented business in Dubai. 
Commercial License Companies that want to set up a trading business that involves the import and export of goods or services are required to opt for a commercial license. 
Industrial License Companies that want to establish a manufacturing business in Dubai are required to get an Industrial license. Apart from DED approval, certain industries also require approval from External ministries and authorities.
Tourism License Companies that are going to set up a travel or tourism business need to get a tourism license from the DED.
Agricultural License Companies that perform farming activities like cultivating crops, running poultry or fish farms, greenhouse installations, etc. must apply for this license.

Steps to set up a Mainland Business: 

Dubai Mainland

  • Choose your Business type

Every type of business needs to be categorized into one of the six main categories as given by the DED. While selecting a license type, you must understand your current and future plans to make a sound decision. It’s best to consult an expert as they can help you make a suitable and cost-effective decision.

  • Business legal form

A business legal structure helps the authority understand the business operations and financial workings. The legal form includes- sole proprietorship, limited liability company, general or limited partnership, civil company, a foreign company, etc. 

  • Trade name registration

The purpose of selecting a unique trade name is to distinguish between companies. For a trade to get approved it must: mention the legal form of the company, must not violate any public sentiment, must not contain the name of any government or religion, and must not be identical to a company that is already registered, etc.

  • First Approval from UAE Government

An initial approval acts as proof that the company- is recognized by the UAE government and is eligible to commence its business activities once the DED issues a license to the entity.

  • Location of the Business

A business has the choice to select any office location for business operations. Finalizing the physical area of an office is of paramount importance in the long term.

Once the above steps are followed, a company can easily get the license from the nearest office in the emirate. Sometimes the license application process is not as simple as the one mentioned above, it is because your business might require additional approvals from the controlling bodies in the country, to be eligible for running the business. 

The UAE government makes sure all the conditions are met before a company gets a mainland license. Once the government grants you a license, they don’t have authentication or verification procedures at every step of the business activity. 

Documents Checklist for all types of Mainland Licenses:

  1. First Approval proof
  2. Tenancy contract proof certified and attested by RERA
  3. Approval proof from the ministry of the economy or any other authority as per the requirement
  4. Trade name certificate
  5. Memorandum of Association(if applicable)
  6. Service agent contract(if applicable)

Benefits of a Mainland License Dubai:

  1. While Freezone and offshore businesses have restrictions as to where they can operate, businesses with mainland licenses have enjoyed the freedom of setting up a business office anywhere in the country.
  2. Mainland companies have no trade restrictions and they can offer their services to anyone and everyone in the country, even the government.
  3. The Dubai government often declares contracts related to infrastructure and other development in the country. For this, they offer profitable contracts to mainland businesses which can be beneficial for the companies.
  4. The rules and regulations that are imposed on businesses by the UAE government are favorable and of a nature that promotes development and profit maximization.
  5. In the UAE, currency exchanges are strictly regulated and restricted by the UAE government. Mainland companies are exempt from such restrictions.

Best locations for mainland business setup:

With a mainland business license, you have the benefit of selecting your office location from the best business location in Dubai.

  1. Business Bay
  2. Diera
  3. Sheikh Zayed road
  4. Al Quoz
  5. Al Qusais
  6. Bur Dubai
  7. Jumeirah

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQS)

How do I start my business in Dubai?

  1. Select the suitable legal form
  2. Finalize a unique trade name
  3. Apply for the license with documents
  4. Select a business location
  5. Get additional approvals if required

How do I get a Dubai mainland license as a foreigner?

Any foreigner can open their business in mainland Dubai. The license application is the same for all business owners. You need to choose a business legal form and select a unique trade name, after which you can easily apply for a license.

What do mainland and Freezone mean in Dubai?

The free zone companies are restricted to do business in areas other than the free zones. However, mainland companies can settle in any area and establish their businesses.