Are you considering establishing a company in the bustling and economically thriving United Arab Emirates (UAE)? If so, you’ve made a strategic decision, as the UAE offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses of all sizes. One of the most popular options is mainland company formation in the UAE. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every aspect of mainland Company Formation in the UAE, ensuring you have all the information you need to embark on this exciting journey.

Understanding Mainland Company Formation in the UAE

Mainland UAE, also known as onshore UAE, provides numerous advantages for business owners. Here are some key reasons to consider mainland company formation:

Access to a Broader Market

One of the most significant advantages of mainland UAE is its unrestricted access to the local market. You can do business with government entities, other mainland companies, and free zone companies without any limitations.

Wide Range of Business Activities

Mainland UAE allows businesses to engage in a wide range of activities. Whether you’re in trading, services, manufacturing, or any other sector, you’ll find a suitable business activity to pursue.

No Currency Restrictions

Unlike some free zones, mainland companies can transact in any currency, making international trade seamless and efficient.

Bidding for Government Contracts

Mainland companies have the unique advantage of bidding for government contracts, opening up additional revenue streams.

Step-by-Step Guide to Mainland Company Formation in the UAE

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of forming a company in mainland UAE:

Determine Business Activity

The first step is to decide on your business activity and ensure it aligns with the UAE’s guidelines and regulations.

Choose a Local Sponsor

To establish a mainland company, you’ll need a local sponsor, who will hold 51% of the company’s shares. Your sponsor can be an individual or a corporate entity.

Reserve a Trade Name

Select a unique trade name for your company and get it approved by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Prepare Memorandum of Association (MOA)

Draft the MOA, which outlines the company’s activities, ownership structure, and other essential details. This document must be notarized.

Secure Office Space

You’ll need a physical office space to operate your mainland company. The office location should comply with DED requirements.

Obtain Initial Approval

Submit your application to the DED for initial approval. This involves providing all required documents and obtaining a tenancy contract for your office space.

Pay License Fees

Upon receiving initial approval, pay the required license fees to the DED.

Finalize Licensing

Once all fees are paid, you’ll receive your business license, allowing you to operate legally in mainland UAE.

Compliance and Ongoing Obligations

After setting up your mainland company, you’ll need to ensure ongoing compliance with UAE regulations. This includes renewing licenses, adhering to tax obligations, and following employment laws.


Company formation in mainland UAE offers unmatched access to a thriving market, diverse business activities, and a stable economic environment. While the process may seem intricate, it becomes manageable with the right guidance and support. As you embark on your journey to establish a mainland company in the UAE, remember that meticulous planning and adherence to regulations are key to your success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I own 100% of a mainland company in the UAE?

  • No, mainland companies require a local sponsor who holds at least 51% of the shares.

2. What are the benefits of mainland company formation over free zones?

  • Mainland companies have more flexibility in terms of business activities and can access a broader market.

3. How long does it take to complete the mainland company formation process?

  • The timeline can vary but generally takes several weeks to a few months.

4. Are there any annual fees or taxes for mainland companies?

  • Yes, mainland companies are subject to annual license renewal fees and may have tax obligations.

5. Can I change my local sponsor after the company is established?

  • Yes, it is possible to change the local sponsor, but it involves legal processes and should be carefully considered.

Hope you had an enjoyable read! Contact us for more information.

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