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What Are the Benefits of Having a Mainland License in Dubai?

mainland license in dubai

Setting up a business in Dubai is an exciting venture that offers numerous opportunities for growth and success. One of the key decisions you need to make when starting a business in Dubai is whether for a mainland license or a free zone license, Understanding of mainland license in Dubai, its benefits, requirements, procedures, and costs so that you can make an informed decision for your business. 

Benefits of Setting Up a Business in Dubai Mainland

Dubai mainland offers several advantages for entrepreneurs looking to establish their presence in this thriving business hub. One of the primary benefits is the unrestricted access to the local market. Unlike free zone companies, businesses with a mainland license can cater to the UAE market without any limitations. This provides a significant advantage in terms of customer reach and business opportunities.

Another advantage of setting up a business in Dubai mainland is the ability to engage in government contracts. Mainland companies can bid for government projects and tenders, which can be a lucrative source of revenue. Additionally, mainland businesses have the freedom to operate in any part of Dubai, unlike free zone companies that are confined to a specific geographic area.

Furthermore, mainland businesses enjoy a higher level of credibility and trust among local clients and partners. Having a mainland license signifies that your business is registered with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and complies with all the necessary regulations and requirements. This can enhance your reputation and open doors to new business collaborations.

Understanding Mainland License in Dubai

A mainland license, also known as a commercial license, allows businesses to operate in the mainland areas of Dubai. To geta mainland license in dubai, you need to register your company with the DED and comply with their regulations. This license enables you to conduct business activities within the UAE market and engage in both local and international trade.

There are several types of mainland licenses available, depending on the nature of your business. These include professional licenses for service-oriented businesses, commercial licenses for trading activities, and industrial licenses for manufacturing and industrial operations. It is essential to choose the right license category that aligns with your business activities to ensure compliance and smooth operations.

Mainland License Requirements and Procedures

Obtaining a mainland license in Dubai involves a series of requirements and procedures that need to be followed diligently. Here are the key steps involved in the process:

  • Choose a Local Sponsor: As a foreign business owner, you are required to have a local sponsor, who will hold a 51% share in your company. The local sponsor can be an individual or a corporate entity, depending on the type of your business activity.
  • Select a Business Activity: Determine the nature of your business activity and select the appropriate license category. This will determine the trade name and activities mentioned in your license.
  • Draft a Memorandum of Association (MOA): Prepare a detailed MOA that outlines the share structure, roles, and responsibilities of shareholders, and the distribution of profits and losses.
  • Choose a Business Location: Find a suitable office space for your business. The location should comply with the regulations of the DED and fulfill the minimum space requirements.
  • Submit the Application: Compile all the necessary documents, including the MOA, passport copies, visa applications, and tenancy contract, and submit them to the DED for review.
  • Pay the Fees: Pay the required fees for the license issuance, trade name reservation, and other administrative procedures.
  • Obtain Approvals: Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive the necessary approvals from the DED, along with your mainland license.

Choosing the Right Business Activity for Your Mainland License

When applying for a mainland license in Dubai, it is crucial to choose the right business activity that aligns with your goals and objectives. The DED has classified business activities into various categories, including professional, commercial, and industrial activities. Each category has its own set of requirements and restrictions.

To determine the appropriate business activity, you need to consider factors such as the market demand, competition, and your expertise. Conduct thorough market research to identify the most profitable and viable business activities in Dubai. Additionally, consider your long-term business plans and scalability. Choose an activity that allows for future growth and expansion.

It is also important to ensure that your chosen business activity is in line with the UAE’s laws and regulations. Certain activities may require additional approvals or licenses from specific government authorities. Consulting with a business setup consultant or legal advisor can help you navigate through the complexities and make an informed decision.

Steps to Get a Mainland License in Dubai

Getting a mainland license in Dubai involves a systematic process that requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Step 1: Research and Planning

  • Conduct thorough market research to identify the most viable business opportunities.
  • Determine the demand for your products or services.
  • Analyze the competition and assess your competitive advantage.

Step 2: Choose the Right Business Activity

  • Identify the category of your business activity (professional, commercial, or industrial).
  • Ensure that your chosen activity is in line with the DED’s regulations.

Step 3: Find a Local Sponsor

  • Identify a reliable and trustworthy local sponsor.
  • Discuss the terms and conditions of the sponsorship agreement.
  • Sign the necessary legal documents.

Step 4: Draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA)

  • Prepare a detailed MOA that outlines the share structure, roles, and responsibilities of shareholders.
  • Consult with a legal advisor to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Step 5: Choose a Business Location

  • Find a suitable office space that meets the requirements of the DED.
  • Consider factors such as accessibility, proximity to your target market, and infrastructure.

Step 6: Compile and Submit the Application

  • Gather all the necessary documents, including the MOA, passport copies, visa applications, and tenancy contracts.
  • Apply for the DED along with the required fees.

Step 7: Obtain Approvals and Licenses

  • Await the review and approval of your application by the DED.
  • Pay the necessary fees for license issuance, trade name reservation, and other administrative procedures.
  • Once approved, you will receive your mainland license and necessary approvals.

Differences Between Mainland and Free Zone Business Setups

Dubai offers two primary options for company setup: mainland and free zone. While both options have their own advantages, there are significant differences between the two.

Ownership and Shareholding: 

In a mainland setup, you are required to have a local sponsor who holds a 51% share in your company. This means that you have limited ownership and control over your business. In contrast, free zone setups allow 100% foreign ownership, giving you full control over your company.

Business Activities:

Mainland setups offer a wider range of business activities compared to free zones, which have specific industry-focused zones. If your business requires direct access to the local market or government contracts, a mainland setup is more suitable. Free zones, on the other hand, are ideal for businesses that operate internationally and do not require local market access.

Customs Duties and Taxes:

Mainland companies are subject to customs duties and taxes for trading activities within the UAE. Free zone companies, however, enjoy exemption from such duties, making them more cost-effective for businesses involved in import-export activities.

Flexibility:

Mainland setups offer more flexibility in terms of office locations and the ability to conduct business anywhere in Dubai. Free zone setups restrict businesses to specific geographic areas, limiting their operational flexibility.

Costs and Fees for Mainland License in Dubai

When considering a mainland license in Dubai, it is essential to factor in the costs and fees associated with the setup. Here are some of the key costs involved:

  • License Issuance Fee: The license issuance fee varies depending on the type of your business activity. Commercial licenses have different fees compared to professional or industrial licenses. These fees are payable to the DED.
  • Trade Name Reservation Fee: Before getting your mainland license, you need to reserve a trade name for your company. This incurs a separate fee, which is payable to the DED.
  • Sponsorship Fee: Engaging a local sponsor comes with a sponsorship fee, which is typically an annual payment. The fee varies depending on the agreement with the sponsor and the nature of your business.
  • Office Space Rental: Renting an office space for your business is an additional cost that needs to be considered. The rental cost varies depending on the location, size, and facilities of the office.
  • Administrative and Legal Fees: Throughout the setup process, you may incur various administrative and legal fees, such as document attestation, translation, and visa processing fees. These costs can vary depending on the service providers you engage.

Renewal and Compliance for Mainland License in Dubai

Once you have obtained your mainland license in Dubai, it is important to ensure timely renewal and compliance with the regulations. Mainland licenses need to be renewed annually, and failure to do so can result in penalties and disruptions to your business operations.

To renew your mainland license, you need to submit the necessary documents to the DED along with the renewal fees. These documents may include an updated MOA, tenancy contract, and other relevant certificates. It is advisable to start the renewal process well in advance to avoid any last-minute delays or complications.

Compliance with the regulations is also crucial to avoid penalties and legal issues. Mainland businesses are required to maintain proper accounting records, submit annual financial statements, and adhere to labor and immigration regulations. Regular audits and inspections may be conducted to ensure compliance. Engaging the services of a professional business setup consultant can help you navigate through the compliance requirements and avoid any traps.

Mainland license in Dubai offers numerous benefits and opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to establish their presence in the UAE market. The freedom to operate in any part of Dubai, unrestricted access to the local market, and the ability to bid for government projects make it an attractive option for many businesses.

However, it is important to carefully consider your business requirements, goals, and budget before making a decision. If your business requires direct access to the local market, government contracts, and flexibility in office locations, a mainland license may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if your business operates internationally and does not require local market access, a free zone setup may be more suitable.

To make an informed decision and navigate through the complex setup process, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional business setup consultant. They can provide you with expert guidance, handle the paperwork, and ensure compliance with the regulations.

Connect with Neeja Corporate Services

Are you looking to start your company in Dubai but feeling overcome by the registration process? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Setting up a business in a foreign country can be challenging, but with the right guidance and support, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Neeja’s business setup offers complete support and serves as a one-stop shop for company setup in Dubai. We provide a wide range of value-added services, such as license applications and VAT registration. Over the years, we have successfully advised many new entrepreneurs to make their business dreams a reality.

To book a free consultation, call on +971 43243031. You can also send a WhatsApp message at +971 50 465 2843. To connect over email, send us your query at [email protected].

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