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Basics of Dubai Mainland Licensing For Startups

dubai mainland licensing

The United Arab Emirates, with Dubai leading the charge, is a prime destination for entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to explore the immense opportunities within the Middle East and further afield. Dubai Mainland stands out with its welcoming economic policies, pivotal location, and extensive market reach. This blog by Choose UAE delves into the nuances of registering a business in Dubai Mainland, covering aspects such as the licensing timeline, trade name registration, legal forms, and crucial steps for a streamlined business setup process.

Overview of Business Registration in Dubai Mainland

Licensing Timeline

Registering a business in Dubai Mainland is a structured process, designed to be transparent and efficient. Here’s a typical timeline for obtaining a license and other key permits:

  • License Applications: 7-9 Business Days
  • Establishment Card: 1-2 Business Days
  • Entry Permit/Evisa: 3-4 Business Days
  • Change of Status: 1-2 Business Days
  • Medical Test: 3-4 Business Days (With fast track, it’s 1-2 working days)
  • Emirates ID Application: 1-2 Business Days
  • Emirates ID Biometrics for New UAE Resident: On an appointment basis (With Fast track, it’s 2-3 working days)
  • Residence Visa Approval: 2-3 Business Days
  • Emirates ID Card Released: 7-10 Business Days for a physical copy (For electronic copy 2-3 days)
Trade Name Registration

Selecting a trade name is the first step in the business registration process. The trade name must adhere to specific criteria, reflecting the nature of the business without violating public morals or the order of the country. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai oversees trade name registration, which can be initiated through its website or mobile application.



Identifying Business Activity

Dubai offers more than 2,000 business activities to choose from, classified under various licenses like industrial, commercial, professional, tourism, agricultural, and occupational. An investment can encompass multiple activities, making it crucial to select those that align with your business model.

Selecting the Legal Form

The legal form of your business dictates the applicable laws and regulations. Options include Limited Liability Company (LLC), Sole Establishment, Civil Company, and various types of partnerships and branches. The chosen legal form should match the selected business activities and meet the investor’s requirements.

Key Steps in the Registration Process
  • Initial Approval: This is an acknowledgment from the UAE Government that it has no objection to establishing your business. It allows you to move forward with the setup process but does not permit business operations.
  • MOA and LSA Agreement: Depending on your business’s legal form, a Memorandum of Association (MOA) or a Local Service Agent (LSA) agreement is required. This document outlines the company’s structure and operations.
  • Selecting a Business Location: All businesses must have a physical address. The chosen location must comply with the DED and local municipality’s regulations.
  • Additional Government Approvals: Certain business activities may require approvals from specific ministries or government entities.
Advantages of Setting Up in Dubai Mainland
  • No Restrictions on Business Operations: Unlike Free Zones, mainland companies can conduct business anywhere in the UAE or abroad without limitations.
  • Access to a Diverse Market: Dubai’s dynamic economy offers access to a wide range of sectors and customer bases.
  • Flexible Legal Forms: Entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of legal forms that best suit their business model and activities.
  • Ease of Visa Procurement: There’s no cap on the number of visas a mainland company can apply for, subject to office space requirements.

How Can Choose UAE Help

At Choose UAE, we streamline the journey of establishing your business in Dubai Mainland, offering a suite of services from business formation to residence visas, and banking solutions. Our expertise and 5-star ratings reflect our commitment to providing dependable and efficient support, ensuring your venture not only takes off but also thrives in the UAE’s competitive landscape. Let us be your guide in navigating the legal and procedural pathways, allowing you to focus on innovation and growth. Start your success story in Dubai with Choose UAE today.

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