Dubai mainland business setup

How to Start a New Business on the Mainland in Dubai, UAE

The economy of Dubai is estimated to be worth $102.67 billion, which represents a fourth of the economy of the United Arab Emirates. It might surprise you to learn that less than 1% of the economy of Dubai is made up by revenues from oil. Dubai has grown to become a global centre of trade and commerce. It is now considered at par with the likes of New York, Singapore, and London. Two-thirds of the world’s destinations can be reached in eight hours or less by air from Dubai.

In Dubai, you have three options when establishing your company. You could choose to set up your company in Dubai on the mainland, in a free zone, or offshore. The mainland offers the greatest flexibility of these three – all types of business activities are allowed to be undertaken by a company on the mainland. It also offers you greater accessibility to your clients as well as the other way around – you are also more accessible to your clients. It is no wonder, then, that the mainland is the preferred choice of many.

It is recommended that you enlist the help of a business setup consultant experienced in matters of company registration in UAE for opening your company on the mainland in Dubai.

How to Open a Company on the Mainland in Dubai

  1. Choose a name for your company, albeit one that will be approved.
  2. Draw up the company formation documents, allocating shares to each owner.
  3. Get the company formation documents notarized by a Notary Public.
  4. Decide on a physical space for your company.
  5. Enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the owner of the premises.
  6. Register the Tenancy Agreement so that it becomes a Tenancy Contract.
  7. Apply for company registration and a Business License.
  8. Receive a payment voucher outlining the necessary fees to be paid.
  9. Make the payment, get company registration & business licence.

The first step involves zeroing in on a name for your company. A good business setup consultant can tell you that there are certain rules pertaining to the naming of companies in the United Arab Emirates. For instance, you cannot have terms like ‘Global’ or ‘International’ as the first part of your company name. You are also not allowed to have the names of countries in any part of your company’s trade name. However, nationalities and the names of geographical regions around the world are permitted.

You are also not allowed to have any religious names for your company. A company formation expert would be able to run a search to see if the name you have in mind has already been registered by another business entity. When it comes to opening a Branch Office or a Representative Office on the mainland, it is recommended that it have the same name as the parent company. Your business setup expert might recommend adding ‘Middle East’ to the parent company’s name to retain your corporate identity.

When you open a company on the mainland in Dubai, it is important that you have a physical address associated with it. This is so that you can receive all Government correspondence at this address. A virtual office address is permitted only for certain business activities. A business setup consultant can advise you on whether you need physical office space for the commercial activity you have in mind. If yes, he/she will help you find the right office space for your company on the mainland, based on your requirements.

You need to enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the owner of the premises. Only when this is registered does it become a Tenancy Contract and legally binding on both the tenant and the landlord. The Tenancy Contract is also called Ejari and needs to be submitted as part of the process for company registration. When your company is registered, the address of the office space you have rented out becomes the registered office address of your company.

In case you decide to scale up or down later, you can indeed move into a different premises. However, the change of registered office address can be effected only when you apply for renewal of your Business License every year.

When applying for company registration, you need to submit the notarized company formation documents. The company formation documents may be better known as Memorandum of Association in your country in case there is only a single owner for the company. It may also be known as Articles of Association or Articles of Incorporation if there are multiple owners for the company. The company formation documents outline the name of the company, the reason why it is being established, and the number of shares allotted to each owner.

As part of the process, you also need to submit an application for a Business License. There are some 2100 commercial activities to choose from, and you can apply for a Business License that covers multiple business activities. All the documents are submitted to the Department of Economic Development, Dubai (also known as Dubai Economy). Your application for company registration and a Business License is reviewed, and a payment voucher outlining the fees payable is generated. You can then make the payment.

Your company registration and your Business License are granted simultaneously. With that, you are ready to commence operations at your registered office address.

Need Help Opening a Company on the Mainland in Dubai?

At A&A Associate LLC, we have years of experience having helped entrepreneurs open companies on the mainland. We are experts when it comes to the art of business formation in Dubai and can be counted on for everything related to company registration and business licensing.  We have been of professional assistance to clients from 100 countries around the world. We also have a good client satisfaction rate, and the aim is to do even better.

For more information, please call +971 56 408 6728 or send us a message using the contact form below to get started.

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