Mainland Licence

Choose Licence &
Start Your Company

A mainland company is a company licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the relevant Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. Mainland companies offer a broad scope of trade, 100% ownership and location flexibility.

What is a Mainland Licence &
And What Does it Include ?

A mainland company is a company licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the relevant Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. Mainland companies offer a broad scope of trade, 100% ownership and location flexibility. It offers the same perks as a freezone company, but is more lucrative due to its flexibility and lack of limitations
Problem solving-rafiki

popular Mainland activities

Determine Business Activity


If you are looking to start a Gym or a health club in Dubai, it can be formed as either professional licences or LLCs.


Hospitality licences mainly covers the following fields, food and beverage activities such as cafes, bars and restaurants.


These licences gives you the opportunity to trade freely with mainland clients without having to use distributors.


Retail licences cover shops in malls and other boutiques and in a wide range, from clothing to book stores.

Event and Entertainment

These Licences include event management, event planning and everything in between for private and public events.


Manufacturing licences cover the manufacture of goods in the UAE for distribution both globally and local


Healthcare licences require special approval from the Dubai Heath Authority, We will make sure to guide you through this process

The first thing you have to decide is what kind of company you would like to open, to figure out which industry you will trade in. There are many permitted business structures listed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Some of these includes hospitality, manufacturing, agriculture and trading. Unlike free zone companies that are limited from certain activities based on their location, mainland businesses are free to trade in any of the listed activities.

Once you have decided your business structure, the next step is to decide where you want to operate. Companies in the UAE mainland incur no restrictions on where they can set up. The right location will depend on many factors such as business structure and budgeting. Should your company rely on imports and exports, then setting up near one of the UAE’s ports makes best sense. Another advantage of setting up a mainland business in Dubai is the ease of opening branch offices. This means businesses are not limited to one location and can build a large local presence over time.

From a legal standpoint, there are different types of businesses that can be set up by foreign entrepreneurs in the UAE mainland. The most common mainland business structure is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). An LLC is an independent legal entity owned by two or more shareholders. A company who want to trade under a industrial or commercial licence must form an LLC to set up a company in the UAE mainland. This would require a local sponsor. Setting up a professional service company does not require a foreign sponsor and can be 100% foreign owned.

Earlier foreign entrepreneurs could only manage mainland company formation in Dubai by associating with either a local sponsor or service agent. If operating under a commercial or industrial licence as an LLC then a local sponsor is required. Your local sponsor can either be a UAE national or a UAE based business. In both cases, the local sponsor will own 51% of the company.

Choosing a name for your business in Dubai can have a significant impact on your success. The wrong name can result in you failing to connect with customers and even worse it can result in insurmountable business and legal problems. In Dubai there are several considerations to keep in mind. Offensive language, religious references or inferences to other organisations are all forbidden. Only full personal names can be included in your company name. To know all the guidelines on choosing a name for your company, check our blog post about naming your business in Dubai.

Now it is time to apply for a mainland trade licence with the DED. Several documents are required as part of a trade license application. These include a licence application, memorandum of sponsor arrangements and ownership percentage among all partners and shareholder visas, just to name a few.

Once you got a business trading licence, it is time to obtain an office space. In the UAE mainland, serviced offices are usually owned and maintained by a third party and involve everything you need to move in right away. Phone, desks, internet access and reception services are usual included. Your lease payment would usually cover rent, use of office equipment and utility bills. The opposite solution typically requires a full fit-out and decoration, with bills on top of rent costs. A middle solution is possible as well, with office spaces pre-fitted, where the company owner simply provides their own equipment and pays bills separately.

There is no limit regarding visa applications for company owners in the UAE mainland. But the number of applications should match with the amount of office space required. Normally the rule is 100 square feet office space per visa, but there are circumstances where this may not be the case. As the owner of a UAE mainland company, you will also be able to sponsor dependents. Such as family members and domestic staff. Foreign entrepreneurs who establish a business on the UAE mainland are also entitled to an investment visa which gives them and their families the right to live and work in the UAE for up to three years.


Why Aston Advisory Group ?

+10 Years Experiece

At Aston Advisory we have more than +10 Years of experience with assisting business owners like you establishing their company in the UAE. We are experts at business setup within Dubai and can promise a seemless and smooth registration of your company.

#1 Customer Service

We strive towards excellence, which means delivering good customer service in the registration process as well as afterwards. Aston Advisory takes pride in treating each case on a personal level and maintaining easy contact to our consultant via your preferred platform.

No Hidden Fees

Unlike many other business setup companies in Dubai, UAE that promises you prices too good to be true, just to later in the process present you with another price, we make sure to be upfront about the cost and requirements of starting a business in Dubai

Help With Settling

At Aston Advisory we make sure you get the help you need after the registration so that you, your company and loved ones can settle in without worry, this means taking you to registration meetings, helping with UAE phones, and finding a suitable home or office

Customer Reviews





April 25, 2022


Working with Aston Advisory Group has been great. Everything was delivered in one month as planned. Also they went the extra mile to get me an appointment to do the Emirates ID and even...

opened the office on a Saturday for me to be able to meet the bank and do everything on time. So I want to say I am extremely happy and thankful with Aston Advisory Group! Best regards! Martin


September 12, 2021


When taking the decision to re-locate to Dubai and open up a business, I was recommended by several individuals to contact Gareth at Aston, as he and the team are experts at not only...

registering businesses but also in helping to obtain bank accounts and assist with becoming a UAE resident. Without Aston, I can honestly say that I would still be in the application stage. I too, will recommend Gareth and the the team to anyone needing their services.


July 5, 2021


My overall feeling during the whole company setting up process has been that I am in ‘good hands’, all of you could answer any of my questions immediately. You’ve been super responsive at...

any time of the day Gareth’s expertise was a great help during the bank account opening process and I’ve got lot of information about business life in Dubai. Emma was super nice and professional during the visa application process and helpful in any kind of administration issues.

Dr Helen Maffini

May 27, 2021


Aston Advisory Group has been extremely helpful in creating a smooth company opening and move to the UAE. Gareth is very knowledgeable about all areas of freezone companies and life in Dubai...

From our first call until today he and his team have been very helpful, answering all my questions, meeting with me and taking me to all my appointments. It makes things so much easier to have them to help navigate all the parts from start to finish and being able to ask questions and get guidance along the way. Not only was everything done, but it was all very quick and efficient. Highly recommended for anyone looking to set up a company in Dubai. 


March 25, 2021


Thank you for your excellent help when starting a company in Dubai. You fulfil this job extremely well and quickly. We truly appreciate your reactivity and easy communication for the job we ...

hired you and also by getting important information about potential changes in the UAE as you did pro-actively in December with potential tax issue for corporation.

Start Your Business Today &
Get Settled in Dubai

Getting started doing business in the UAE and feeling the benifits of it, requires going through a what can seem like an impossible amount of steps, which is why we exist. We make sure your business will be up and running in no time within the UAE, all while you can lean back and focus on what you are best at, managing your company
Contact us today
for a FREE Consultation