UAE is one of the best countries in the Gulf to start up a mainland company setup due to its strategic location takes less than 7 hours flying time to most countries, a vibrant economic policy, and multicultural lifestyle. The country also has zero corporate tax, encourages innovative business approaches, and easy to obtain licenses. Natural resources such as oil and tourism sectors have made the country a dynamic business hub.

If you are planning for a business set up in the UAE mainland, here is some basic info that can get you started.

A mainland Limited Liability Company (LLC) is registered with the government in one of the UAE Department of Economic Development (UAE DED). As per the government rules, you must register a business with the UAE DED to conduct the said business in the UAE mainland. You will then be provided with a business license to start doing business in UAE.

Mainland companies are not limited to free zones and can do business in any industry, tourism, commercial, professional or trading sector. UAE mainland companies can also get better deals with office spaces and rents.

A mainland company can only exist if sponsored by a UAE national as a Local Partner or a National Service Agent. Foreign investors can start their business where 51% ownership belongs to a UAE national and the 49% goes to the remaining owner or shareholders. In case you want complete control over the business you can opt for a Sole Establishment company creation to own 100% of the shares

Difference between Mainland and Freezone

An investor who invests in a mainland company in the UAE is permitted to trade in the UAE market as well as outside without any restrictions. A free zone company is designated within a special jurisdiction under a specific emirate and can only do business inside the same free zone. If an investor who wants tax optimization can opt for a free zone business set up as the free zone authorities grants various benefits and incentives to the businesses set up in the zone.

Benefits of owning business set up in UAE mainland

  • Having access to the UAE market and is not limited to just free zones

  • Registration process is simple and hassle free

  • Freedom to trade in and out of the country

  • Being able to establish a business in a variety of sectors

  • Affordable way of doing business


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List of Mainlands in UAE

Dubai Mainland

Dubai is one of the most glamorous places and hassle-free cities to set up a business.

Abu Dhabi Mainland

Abu Dhabi is a thriving city with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Sharjah Mainland

Sharjah is one of the most festive places in UAE with a hub of tourism

Ajman Mainland

Ajman is an emirate where a variety of businesses such as manufacturing, farming and fishing exist.

Umm-ul-Quwain Mainland

Umm Al Quwain is a developing state known for its stretch of desert, beaches and natural scenery making it a holiday destination for resorts and hotel lovers

Ras-al-Khaimah Mainland

RAK is known as the adventure emirate in the UAE for its highest mountain peaks, zip lines and hiking tracks making it one of the desired places to start a business due to tourism and low costs

Fujairah Mainland

Fujairah has become the go-to destination for tourism which in turn has attracted a lot of foreign investors and business owners

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