Setup Business One


We’re completely transparent when it comes to providing our clients with the expenses associated with the establishment of your business in UAE Mainland. The main reason for this is to ensure that we provide the flexibility to offer you the perfect package that will meet your requirements.


Advantages of MAINLAND Company Setup

  • The freedom to rent commercial space in any area
  • The ability to conduct a wide range of business activities
  • The option to trade anywhere in the UAE and internationally
  • The ability to open a corporate bank account easily
  • The advantage to bid on government projects

Mainland Company Setup License Types

Encompasses a wide range of service activities

Encompasses a wide range of Trading activities

Encompasses a wide range of Manufacturing activities

Mainland company setup process


Choosing your business activity

Our team of company formation specialists will ensure you choose the right jurisdiction and business activity when setting up your mainland company. We advise you on the most economical and suitable options.


Choose your company structure

Depending on your business activity, you can either select a sole establishment or an LLC. A sole establishment will allow you 100% shareholding whereas an LLC will be 51% owned by a local sponsor.


Getting the trade name approved

A our team of experts can secure the company name availability and registration. If the company name is not available, we’ll advise you on suitable alternatives.


Getting an initial license approval

Your dedicated company formation specialist in Dubai will ensure you complete the license application process – quickly and hassle-free.


Getting an external approval (if required)


Having a license issued

If you wish to process visas for yourself or your employees, your relationship manager can begin processing your Establishment Card and labour file.


Opening your company's bank account

We have an expansive network of banking experts who will assist you in opening a corporate bank account. 


Getting an establishment card

Once this is received the owner can apply for visas. 


Processing your visa

Our team of visa specialist will assist you with your visa related queries. 


Labour file

If you want to hire employees.


We’re completely transparent when it comes to providing our clients with the expenses associated with the establishment of your business in UAE Freezones. The main reason for this is to ensure that we provide the flexibility to offer you the perfect package that will meet your requirements.

mainland dubai

The UAE stands as an immensely favored center for businesses of various kinds. Visionary minds spanning the globe gather at our shores with aspirations of commencing their enterprises right here, a phenomenon partly attributed to its exceptional positioning bridging the gap between the East and West.

Upon reaching the UAE, they encounter a lively and inviting business community, coupled with a well-established and proven company establishment process. Nonetheless, there exist certain aspects of the business registration procedure that exhibit variations compared to other prominent business hubs.

Foremost among these distinctions is the obligatory nature of a trading license for every single enterprise operating within the UAE. While the process of acquiring this license is relatively straightforward, it necessitates some understanding of the business ethos prevalent in the UAE. This underscores the significance of enlisting the aid of a specialist in company formation, such as Sharjah Media City (SHAMS).

Hence, for those seeking to initiate their ventures in the UAE, presented here is a comprehensive compendium of essential information – accompanied by the ways in which our services can offer invaluable assistance.

Benefits of getting a UAE trade license

In addition to an exceptional strategic placement, businesses within the UAE also enjoy the advantage of the nation’s 0% tax rate applied to both corporate and personal earnings. Furthermore, the Value Added Tax (VAT) stands consistently low at 5%.

Entrepreneurs within the UAE are also granted the opportunity to establish their operations within a free zone, thereby reaping supplementary tax benefits, inclusive of complete exemption from customs tax, unrestricted currency transactions, and the liberty to remit all capital and profits abroad.

What Categories of Mainland Licenses are Available in Dubai?

Dubai offers three primary categories of mainland licenses, which are as follows:

  • Commercial License — Enterprises engaging in commercial trade activities involving commodities, products, or services are eligible for commercial licenses.
  • Professional License – Individuals or firms offering their expertise to the public as services are required to obtain a professional license. These licenses are granted based on the educational qualifications of the entities, allowing them to practice their proficient field. Foreign investors can possess complete ownership (100%) of their enterprise by securing a professional license.

  • Industrial License – Dubai permits manufacturing and other industrial pursuits through an industrial license. Entrepreneurs holding such licenses are authorized to manufacture goods utilizing both domestic and international raw materials.

Additionally, various other license types are issued, encompassing tourism licenses, craftsmanship licenses, and agricultural licenses.

Stages to Acquire a Business License in the UAE

With appropriate assistance, securing your trade permit in the UAE becomes a rapid and uncomplicated process. Following a brief consultation, your designated SHAMS account manager will lead you through the subsequent procedure.

Stage 1 – Defining your Business Activities

The UAE boasts numerous flourishing sectors encompassing an array of commodities and services. To gain your trade license, you must specify those activities you intend to undertake.

Your authorized actions are confined to those explicitly mentioned on your license. However, rest assured, if you choose to expand or diversify your offerings later on, you retain the ability to incorporate additional activities.

Stage 2 – Selecting your Company Name

Opting for a company name holds immense significance when establishing a business in the UAE. Several considerations are pivotal in this decision-making process. It’s imperative to adhere to a precise yet straightforward set of naming guidelines. Once more, a specialist in company establishment can aid you in this phase.

In essence, you should steer clear of any offensive or sacrilegious terminology. Refrain from using names of well-established organizations, and if you opt for a name derived from your own, avoid abbreviations – for example, “Dave Mann Consulting” instead of “D Mann Consulting.” It’s also essential to verify the availability of your chosen name for registration.

Stage 3 – Application for your Trade License

Now, the pivotal stage emerges – the application for your trade license. Your designated SHAMS representative will expertly oversee this entire progression on your behalf, engaging with governmental entities and free zone authorities.

For those establishing in the mainland, your license is issued by either the Department of Economic Development or the local Municipality. In the case of a free zone setup, the managing authority issues the license.

In either scenario, you must furnish the subsequent documentation:

  • Completed application form
  • Copy of the passport of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two passport-size color photographs.
Stage 4 – Application for your Visa

Securing a residency visa to operate within the UAE is another requisite. The visa application entails multiple steps, including biometric scanning, a blood test, medical examination, and a chest x-ray.

Moreover, as a holder of a UAE trade license, you possess the capability to sponsor other individuals for their visas as well. This encompasses spouses, parents, children, and domestic workers such as housekeepers.

Business License in the UAE

Why choosing SHAMS?

shams icon

Armed with the correct understanding, initiating a business establishment in Dubai need not become excessively intricate.

Having said that, it demands a certain level of pre-existing awareness of the procedure. Furthermore, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the application process maintains its simplicity only when your license application is comprehensive upon submission and devoid of errors.

To ensure this condition, it’s a prudent choice to collaborate with a specialist in company formation, such as Business Incorporation Zone (SHAMS), when commencing a fresh enterprise in the UAE.

Our team consists of adept professionals in company registration, driven by a fervor to actualize the aspirations of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs.

In addition to overseeing your license application, SHAMS is also proficient in aiding the establishment of corporate bank accounts and advising on the optimal financial institution tailored to your specific requirements.

Moreover, we provide services encompassing visas and immigration, skillfully managing governmental formalities, permissions, work permits, and visa applications requisite for trading within the UAE.

In essence, our experts can oversee your company establishment, handle your license and visa requests, and efficiently manage all essential administrative tasks – affording you the liberty to concentrate on the operations of your business.

Mainland Locations

If you’re pondering upon the most suitable area within Dubai for your enterprise, it’s worth noting that you’ve arrived at the right source. Here, we aim to enlighten you and those akin to your pursuit of counsel concerning the optimal location for business endeavors within Dubai. Join us as we embark on an exploration of the prime spots in Dubai Mainland for establishing businesses.

From arid sands and a modest village centered around pearl-fishing, the city has transformed itself into a metropolis and a global nucleus for business, beckoning foreign tourists and investors, regardless of the time of year. Within this amalgamation of opportunities, everyone finds their niche, irrespective of their business domain – be it tourism, commerce, or real estate. Undeniably, Dubai showcases its merits across almost every facet of an advanced nation. Beyond any doubt, opting to establish a business in Dubai is an irrefutably prudent choice, one that you’re unlikely to rue.

Sheikh Zayed Road

Sheikh Zayed Road

Adorned with a multitude of prominent global enterprises and numerous landmarks like Dubai World Trade Centre and Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road elegantly traverses the city’s core. Abu Dhabi and Ras-al-Khaimah are also linked to this primary thoroughfare of the Emirate. Referred to as the E11 route as well, Sheikh Zayed Road stands as the lengthiest highway, pulsating as the vital core of Dubai. Overflowing with diverse business ventures, international establishments, renowned corporations, towering architectural marvels, Sheikh Zayed Road emerges as the liveliest district at the center of Dubai, playing a substantial role in the nation’s thriving economy.

Mainland License Dubai


Encompassed by Dubai Creek, Sharjah, and the Arabian Gulf, Deira stands as Dubai’s eldest commercial precinct nestled within the historic confines of old Dubai. This area hosts a myriad of traditional enterprises of the Emirate, infused with a contemporary touch. Showcasing the cultural essence of downtown, the Deira vicinity bridges the gap between new and historic Dubai. Brimming with vintage allure, Deira ranks as one of the top choices within the Emirate for both residence and business operations. Housing the dazzling Gold Souk, Spices Souks, Perfume Souks, Textile Souk, as well as numerous quaint eateries and dining establishments, Deira emerges as a pivotal trading center and a preferred shopping haven for tourists. As the fifth most sought-after location for flat rentals, this locality also holds favor among expatriates due to its availability of budget-conscious accommodations.

Business Bay

Business Bay

Situated on the southern edge of captivating Downtown Dubai, Business Bay stands as an amalgamation of residential, commercial, and business domains, all intertwined harmoniously. This translates into the fact that the city’s most renowned attractions, such as Dubai Mall, Dubai Mall Fountains, Burj Khalifa, The Museum of the Future, City Walk, and Dubai Opera, are all within proximity. Adorned with bustling avenues, mesmerizing panoramas of Dubai’s skyline and Dubai Creek, as well as the glistening waters of Dubai Canal, Business Bay becomes a delight for every sense, catering to both tourists and professionals alike. With convenient connections to other neighborhoods and seamless access to Sheikh Zayed Road, its proximity to Burj Khalifa and the Downtown vicinity, not to mention the impressive new JW Marriott Marquis hotel, mark just a few of the numerous advantages of selecting Business Bay as your preferred business hub. Providing an array of activities throughout the day, Business Bay takes its place as one of the most densely populated residential and commercial areas in the metropolis.


Bur Dubai

Nestled on the western bank of Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai emerges as the earliest commercial precinct, radiating the essence of Dubai’s heritage. This historical quarter hosts a plethora of noteworthy landmarks such as The Ruler’s Court, Dubai Museum, heritage villages, historical sites, and some of the most ancient souks, showcasing the cultural legacy and traditions of the Middle East. The abundance of stylish cafes, galleries, hotels, and a diverse array of enticing shops render this urban and trade-oriented locale an impeccable selection for ventures in the hospitality sector. Setting it apart from the central city of Dubai, Bur Dubai stands as an optimal business destination for aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into industries such as hotels, tourism, textiles, spices, and trading.

Smart Zone – Specialists in Business Setup

These are just a few of the notable distinctions between Mainland and Free Zone company formations in the UAE. When embarking on business endeavors here, individuals typically face two primary alternatives – establishment of a free zone company or a mainland company in Dubai.

Both avenues offer advantages, and the choice suitable for your enterprise hinges on your location and intended operations. In this article, we will delve into the attributes and merits of setting up a mainland company in Dubai, encompassing:

Market Scope

Free Zone: A Free Zone license confines business activity solely to the bounds of the respective free zone authority. Nonetheless, it positions you for the significant shift in the future as your company expands.

Mainland: A mainland license grants you the flexibility to conduct business across the entire UAE. It allows unencumbered future scaling of operations. Trading with government entities becomes unobstructed, maximizing

Company Ownership

Free Zone: Under a Free Zone license, foreign nationals can retain 100% company ownership, retaining full authority over their business.

Mainland: A mainland license mandates the inclusion of a Local Partner or Local Service Agent. 51% ownership of the company must be held by a UAE National or the appointed Local Partner, while 49% remains under your ownership, contingent on the nature of your business.

Visa Eligibility

Free Zone: Specific Free Zone licenses come with limitations on the number of visas that can be applied for. Hence, it’s prudent to align your visa needs with the appropriate free zone choice for your enterprise.

Mainland: A mainland license provides the freedom to apply for an unrestricted number of visas, conditioned on your office space fulfilling the stipulated criteria.

Office Prerequisites

Free Zone: A Free Zone license doesn’t necessitate dedicated office space. Yet, if required, the office should be situated within your chosen UAE Free Zone.

Mainland:A mainland license mandates an Ejari or office space. This prerequisite should be satisfied when presenting your application to the Dubai Department of Economic