Company Formation

In the United Arab Emirates, a "Mainland Company" is a business that has been authorized by the relevant emirate's Department of Economic Development. For investors who want to commence a business in the UAE, the Department of Economic Development offers a variety of business licenses. For investors looking to establish a significant local presence in the UAE, a mainland business setup in the country is the ideal choice. Onshore companies are businesses that are registered on the mainland. Businesses on the UAE mainland are permitted to conduct operations and trade both domestically and abroad, as well as in the free zones. A mainland license can be obtained for any of the 7 emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain) as the investor sees fit.

Steps involved in obtaining a mainland license –
Selection of business activity

On the mainland an investor can choose from more than 2000 business activities to start their business & they can choose multiple activities for conducting their business.

Choosing the legal form

An investor can choose from the following legal status’s matching to their needs:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Sole Establishment
  • Branch of a local company
  • Branch of a GCC company
  • Branch of a foreign company
  • Branch of a free zone company
  • Civil company
  • General Partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Public Joint Stock Company
  • Private Joint Stock Company
  • Holding company
Registration of trade name

A trade name needs to be selected for the company being setup in order for it to be distinguished from other companies.

The following factors need to be kept in mind while choosing a trade name –

  • It should not violate the public morals or the public order.
  • It should be appropriate for the relevant activity type and the company's or business entity's legal status.
  • It should not include the names of any religions, governments, or other external organizations, nor should they include their names or logos.
  • It should not have been registered before.
  • It should be followed by the acronym of the legal status of the company such LLC, EST etc.
Initial approval

This is the approval given by the relevant UAE government authority that it does not have any objection for the company to be formed in the country. However this does not allow the company to start its operations. For foreign investors a further approval from the GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs) is required prior to the initial approval.

Preparation & submission of company Memorandum Of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent agreement (LSA)

Preparing an MOA or LSA is an important step during the incorporation of a business. Such documents only need to be created for entities with specific legal statuses such as LLC, Limited Partnership, PJSC & PrJSC.

Selection of business location

In order to operate, any company in the UAE needs a physical location. The business location and space must adhere to both the land planning laws of the municipalities and the specifications established by the Department of Economic Development of the relevant emirate.

Get additional approvals from government authorities

In the case of some entities further approvals maybe required such as in the case of legal consultancy, approval from Ministry of Justice is required.

Obtaining the final business license

The investor can acquire their final license at the relevant government authorities after successfully completing all the aforementioned stages, possessing the necessary documentation and making the final payment.

Types of licenses available for business setup on mainland –


Issued to a business that intends to engage in specific trading activities, such as the buying and selling of products and commodities. In the UAE, there are several different kinds of commercial trade licenses. To engage in business-specific trading activities, you must apply for the appropriate kind.


Issued to investors that want to carry out industrial or manufacturing-based activities in the UAE, like processing natural resources or incorporating them into their final products. Additional approvals might be required depending on the manufacturing activity carried out.


Professional licenses are granted to those investors who prefer to start a service based business. Verifying an individual's or organization's competency to offer services in a particular field is the goal of professional licensing. These licenses often require the applicant to provide proof of a specific set of abilities or education.


A general trading license enables an investor to engage in trading of all kinds of goods that are permissible in the U.A.E legal system such as selling electronics, accessories, furniture and other goods at retail and wholesale prices.

Benefits of setting up a license in mainland U.A.E –

  • Can easily conduct business within U.A.E.
  • 100 % ownership is possible.
  • Various options to choose from for leasing & storage facilities.

We assist our clients to do business setup in

Why appoint us as your business setup consultants?


We have a diverse experience in setting up companies in mainland & offer complete assistance to our clients. A thorough understanding of the legal and business formation procedures is necessary to set up a mainland company in the UAE. For international business owners, working with UAE-based business setup experts helps reduce the burden of starting a firm. A business setup consultant can work with you and comprehend your company's objectives. This would give you more assurance that you may launch a prosperous business on the UAE mainland.