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  • Alben Group of Companies

The Leap Towards the UAE – Mainland Company Edition



The United Arab Emirates represents a lucrative location for businessmen, women and investors seeking operations there. Whether it’s the strategic positioning, cross-border opportunities or tax laws, the UAE is an attractive destination for business. But before investors dip their toes in the sea of benefits the Emirates have to offer, it’s imperative to decide between three types of business jurisdictions: Mainland, Free Zone and Offshore.


As we’ve helped investors navigate between each jurisdiction and its attributes, we’re here to offer further guidance by paving the way towards setting up each company. So, for those that have made their choice, it’s time to tackle the setup process.


This is ‘The Leap Towards the UAE’ series, Mainland Company Edition!


Why Mainland?


Here’s a little refresher before diving into it. A Mainland, or ‘Onshore’, is a company licenced by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Out of the three jurisdictions, Mainland companies offer the broadest set of benefits, such as location flexibility, zero trade restrictions, 100% ownership and a broad working scope.


With a Mainland company set in place, investors can operate freely in the UAE and beyond its borders as long as they abide by the UAE laws. While higher on the cost scale, it brings out great returns.


Mainland Company checklist


Setting up a mainland is a straightforward process that depends on getting all the required documents and structuring your company according to your own needs. The checklist includes the below steps:


· Choosing your business activity: as mainland businesses are free to trade in over 2,000 DED listed activities, investors need to, first and foremost, choose their desired activity.


· Finding your ideal location: once the business activity is chosen, it’s time to determine from which Emirate investors will be operating. Here, investors must evaluate costs and business goals to establish the best fit. For example, most shipping companies may prefer to operate closer to ports in Jebel Ali, Mina Zayed or Mina Khalid than anywhere else in the UAE.


· Determining the legal structure: sole proprietorship, limited liability company or private liability company? The possibilities are endless here.


· Searching for a local service agent: since mainland businesses enjoy 100% ownership, they don’t necessarily need a sponsor. But they still require a local service agent to act as a representative in business dealings and in front of the government.


· Naming the company


· Applying for a mainland trade licence: applying with DED requires various documents. These include a licence application, memorandum of sponsor arrangements, and ownership percentage among all partners, just to name a few.

· Determining your office space: is it a physical space or a virtual one? Either way, now it’s time to determine where your office space will be.


· Applying for relevant visas


· Partnering with Benial! As a company specialised in setup processes and formation, we’re here to make your life easier. Our consultants are present to help you map out your path towards the UAE with ease.


Because setting up a mainland company in the UAE requires a deep understanding of the market, legal processes and logistics, Benial has got your back. We’ll take the stress off you and help successfully set up your business overseas without a hassle.


If you’re ready to set up a mainland company, then get in touch with our team here!



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