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Mainland Company Formation

Need to setup a company in mainland Dubai? 

Starting a business in mainland Dubai can be a very profitable investment option for investors and commercial establishments.

Above all, having a mainland license in Dubai will help you enjoy maximum freedom and flexibility to expand and operate your business. There are certain rules and guidelines that have been changed by the government that manages the operations of companies from the continent in the United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates continent incorporation law requires 51% of the total share of a commercial company for a United Arab Emirates citizen. The remaining 49% go to foreign national or foreign investors. This rule is binding for every company, regardless of the investment capital.

However, the aforementioned law is not applicable to certain business endeavors and they are.

  •  Free Zone businesses

  •  Businesses that have complete foreign ownership

  •  UAE national – GCC partnership firms

  •  Fully Local ownership business concerns

Establishing the mainland company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates gives you the freedom to expand your business operations to other parts of Dubai and throughout the United Arab Emirates. The main requirement for all commercial activity in the United Arab Emirates is a license in one of the categories: commercial, industrial and professional. We offer a wide range of expertise help in the setup of LLC offer business advice on obtaining a Dubai mainland license and setting up your business in the most needed locations in the United Arab Emirates. We will help you save time and money with your commercial license for Dubai and we will ensure that your mainland license in Dubai, United Arab Emirates corresponds to the economic department of Dubai.

Before you apply for a mainland license, first find a local partner? 

If you are new to Dubai or the United Arab Emirates, finding a reliable and proactive UAE national sponsor can be a daunting task. Without the right business contacts and experience, it is difficult to find the right person as a local sponsor for your project. Having the wrong person to do business with can negatively impact your business and state of mind.

Save your precious time and energy in finding the perfect national partner for the UAE. Let us do the company formation job for you. Our years of experience in setting up a business in the UAE will help you find the most suitable UAE citizen as a partner for your business.

Corporate Sponsorship

Mainland LLC companies can avail of corporate sponsorship services. Here the corporate sponsor would act on behalf of the individual sponsor. A corporate sponsor must be a company owned by UAE citizens.

Types of company formation in Mainland UAE

Incorporation of Professional Company

Professional companies rely on the professional or intellectual skills of their shareholders. Companies that provide all kinds of consultancy services can be included in the professional company category. Auditing firms, law firms, educational consultants, administrative and management consultancies fall under the category of professional firms. A professional business license is mandatory for all professional companies operating in the UAE mainland. In certain scenarios, professional corporate licenses require shareholder degrees to ensure quality of service. Foreign investors or shareholders can fully own a professional company. However, in order to start a business, the service of a UAE citizen is mandatory. 

Incorporation of branch office

You can start your branch office in Dubai. The branch company can operate as the child company of the parent company and carry out all the business activities and transactions belonging to the parent company. Activities include customer-oriented interactions and services, handling agreements on behalf of the parent company, etc. The branch office may not carry out any activity that the parent company is not allowed to carry out. Financial sector companies such as banks, financial institutions and insurance companies can open branches in Dubai.

Step by Step instructions for branch office incorporation in Dubai

  • Assigning a local service agent - is one of the most important tasks in the involvement of agencies. The local service agent must be a UAE citizen. You can even designate a UAE based company that is 100% owned by UAE nationals. The local service agent takes over the tasks related to the acquisition of licenses, visas and other important documents. And these tasks are started for a certain fee. The local service agent has no ownership rights and no say in day-to-day operations or in branch management.

  • Trade name reservation – Contact the Department of Economic Development (DED) to obtain your industry trade name registration.

  • Ministry of Economy - initial approval 

  • After the first approval from the Ministry of Economy, you must apply for a business license. The license is issued by DED and is valid for 1 year.

  • Find the right office space for your branch and confirm the location. 

  • Get a Corporate bank account 

  • Complete formalities related to the employee such as work permits and visas

  • Get the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry membership. 


Documents needed for MOE – Initial approval 

In order to get MOE – first approval, the following documents are required. 

  • Registration forms

  • Company name registration (proof)

  • MAA of parent company (Memorandum and Articles of Association)

  • Certificate of Incorporation of parent company

  • Copy of the director's passport

  • NOC of the parent company

  • Local service agent – Naturalization book and passport (copy)

  • The local branch manager requires power of attorney. 

  • The decision of the board of the parent company

  • The opening of a new office in Dubai requires the approval of the head office management.


Documents needed for DED - Commercial License issuance

  • MOE – Initial approval 

  • The parent company must make a statement about the business activities of the branch

  • Audited annual financial statements of the parent company (Previous 2 years)

  • Property rental agreement (copy)

  • Initial approval documents (Copy)

Setting up a Branch office in Dubai

If your company requires an office branch in Dubai, you can be guided through the process of setting up that branch by Approved Auditors. We assist you with questions about:

  • Documentation services

  • Find a reliable local service partner

  • Coordination of the various government agencies for permits

  • Support at branch locations

  • Support in opening a company bank account

  • Limited Liability Company Incorporation – Establishing a limited liability company is one of the mainland's preferred business priorities. LLCs can accommodate multiple shareholders from 2 to 50. A wide variety of business activities can be grouped under the LLC, with the exception of financial companies such as insurance or banking. Regarding the company's stake, the foreign shareholder holds 49% of the share capital and the remaining 51% goes to the national or local sponsor of the United Arab Emirates.

Instructions to set up a Limited Liability Company in Dubai

  • Reserve the trade name

  • Registration of Office space

  • General information on shareholders - name and nationality. 

  • Participation in the capital of the individual shareholder.

  • Manager identity information, such as name and nationality

  • Participation in profits and losses for shareholders.

  • Representative office – An international company is allowed to open a representative office in Dubai on its behalf in order to be represented in all UAE. The representative office mainly serves to promote the business. Sometimes the international company can set up a representative office to complete all business transactions with its customers. The representative office is not authorized to do business in the UAE.


The approval of the Ministry of Economy is required for registration as a representative office. Get in touch for more guidance.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an audit?
    Auditing is an official, impartial review of an organization's accounting books by an independent body to determine whether they are in compliance with the organization's policies and procedures, regulations, and laws.
  • What documents are needed by auditors to conduct the audit procedures?
    The auditor can request the following documents to carry out the audit. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that additional documents may be requested depending on the type of company activity, company size, scope of business activity, etc. Purchase documents and related information Sales documents and related information Expenses documents and related information Ownership documents of an audited entity Bank statements Verification sample documents Operational information, if applicable Accounting software reports Independent third party confirmations
  • The audit process
    Initial meeting with client and audit engagement sign-off. Developing audit program and planning schedule. Visiting client, obtaining audit info. Performing substantive and analytical tests. Sending observations, queries and major issues to client and obtaining client feedback. Incorporating client feedback and submitting audited financials for client approval. Issuing final audit report.
  • What is the final deliverable at the completion of an audit and what it contains?
    Once the audit is complete, an auditor will publish a series of financial statements that include: Statement of comprehensive income (commonly known as an income statement) Statement of financial position (commonly known as the balance sheet) Cash flow statement Statement of changes in equity Notes to the above financial statements And Independent Auditor’s Report
  • What are the uses of an audit report?
    An audit report can have many purposes and uses. Some are stated below: Required as part of the documentation for immigration purposes UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) may request a business to submit audited financial statements as part of their procedure in some cases. Audited accounts are considered more reliable and can be used to settle disputes between Shareholders of a business to resolve disputes, being a third-party professional opinion about accounts. An audit report is accompanied by a “management weakness letter (MRL)” that states major issues and observations Auditors have observed during the course of the audit. This report can help the management to identify pitfalls and opportunities for business process improvement. It can fulfill the statutory requirements to submit audited financial statements i.e. submission of annual audited accounts to Free Zone Authorities in UAE. Commercial banks can ask for historical annual audited accounts as a part of their procedure during an assessment of the financial position of the loan applicant company.
  • Is every auditor eligible to conduct a particular Free Zone audit?
    No. An auditing company must meet certain requirements and be registered and listed with each individual free zone authority in order to be able to carry out an audit of companies in that particular free zone. The report of an unlisted auditor will not be accepted by the Free Zone Authority. We at Approved Auditors meet the requirements and are registered and listed to provide auditing services in Dubai, UAE.
  • Do all companies in the UAE mainland and Free Zone need to be audited by external auditors?
    No. While the statutory audit is not required by law for all companies in the UAE, there are certain jurisdictions and areas where the statutory audit is required by local regulations.
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