Companies involved in any sort of commercial trading activity can avail of this license. Both general and specialized traders need to obtain the license to carry out business operations safely throughout Dubai. Under this license 100% of shares can owned by the expat owner
In a professional license, 100% of the shares belong to the foreign partner and a UAE national is used as the local service agent. The license is acquired for non-physical services such as consulting
The industrial license in Dubai is issued to companies that convert natural materials or natural resources into other end products or engage in any other type of manufacturing activity. Under this license, 51% of the shares are owned by a UAE national and 49% are owned by the foreign owner
Travel agency licenses are available in three types: Travel agency licenses as operators of inbound tourism, travel agency licenses as operators of outbound tourism, and travel agency licenses as travel agents.
As per the guidelines published by Dubai Economy on its website, 100% foreign ownership is available for more than 1,000 commercial and industrial activities excluding economic activities with a strategic impact, which are in seven sectors only. The full list of activities open for 100% foreign ownership can be viewed on:
Determining an appropriate legal structure is one of the most critical decisions an investor needs to make while incorporating a company in the Dubai mainland. The legal structure of a Dubai mainland company is defined based on the number of shareholders. The DED mainly allows the following legal structures for companies in Dubai mainland.
A sole proprietorship or sole establishment can be established in Dubai mainland with only one shareholder. Both the owner and the shareholder will be a single individual who can completely own the company. A sole proprietorship must be owned by an individual, which means a company cannot be the owner. The owner is solely responsible for the profits and liabilities of the sole establishment in Dubai mainland. Foreign nationals are only allowed to start a sole establishment under professional activities.
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the most popular forms of legal structures in Dubai mainland. Foreign investors can set up an LLC in Dubai mainland with 2 to 50 shareholders. Each shareholder in LLC is liable to the extent of his or her shares in the company. Foreign investors are entitled to 100% LLC ownership on selected activities laid out by the DED, including commercial licenses such as a General Trading License.
A civil company is essentially a partnership business for professionals engaged in approved fields such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants. Partners of any nationality can be involved in a Civil Company, but a Local Service Agent (LSA) is needed if the partnership doesn’t include UAE or GCC nationals.
A ‘Single Person LLC’ is a legal structure owned by an individual or a corporate body. It differs from a sole proprietorship as the liability is limited to the shares held by the entity that owns the One Person LLC.
Companies registered in the UAE or foreign jurisdictions can open a branch in Dubai mainland. The branch must undertake one or all of the activities included in the parent company’s license. Business setup consultants in Dubai can assist both foreign and local companies to open their branches on the mainland.
MARKEF works with the Department of Economic Development (DED) to facilitate company formation on the Dubai mainland, offering comprehensive company formation services to fulfill all required government formalities and legal documents. Establishing a DED company ensures that businesses have access to the entire UAE market to increase brand awareness and drive growth.