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What is a mainland company & why you should consider establishing one?


A mainland company is a company licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the responsible Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. The main factors to consider in choosing whether to getting a mainland business license or its alternatives (Freezone and Offshore) are:

  • Proposed business activity
  • Location of your customers
  • Type of customer (individual, business, government, etc.)
  • Proposed physical location
  • Number of employees required


A mainland business license is unrestricted in terms of whom it can trade with and where it can be located in Dubai. If your company wishes to offer services to the government or trade directly with your consumers, then it is quintessential that you get a mainland business license . Freezone companies do not enjoy the same benefits as the ones mentioned above

In addition, a mainland company has no limitation on the number of visas that can be issued. The Visa quota is approved based on your commercial space. The more office space you have, the greater number of visas you can issue, even to an unlimited number.

Location Flexibility

If you have a mainland business license, your company can be set up anywhere in the Emirate that it has been licensed to operate in. It is also possible to start a mainland company without a physical space if you do not require this at the outset.

Widest Activity Offering

Mainland companies have the widest selection in terms of activities that one can choose from. Compared to the Freezone, Mainland has no limit to the activities one can select.

100% Ownership Control

It is a common misconception that all Mainland Companies must have a Local Partner who holds shares in their business, and often for this reason alone, investors opt for a Free Zone company. If you have a mainland business license with a professional activity (e.g. project management, accounting, or technical services), it is possible to own 100% of the company in the legal form of a Sole Establishment (one shareholder) or as a Civil Company (more than one shareholder).

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