Mainland Company Setup in the UAE


Company Setup in the UAE

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Why set up a mainland company?

If you are an aspiring business owner who wants to freely trade within the UAE and overseas, then a mainland company is a great option for you. Setting up a mainland company puts you in a position to reap a number of benefits that will help your business grow faster, whilst establishing a strong presence in the local market.

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Advantages of a mainland company

Types of UAE mainland company structures

Limited Liability Company

For limited liability companies, the UAE Commercial Companies Law states that investors need to partner with a local sponsor. We understand that, as a business owner, you prefer to have 100% control and ownership of your company.

That is why we provide you with a corporate nominee service, wherein ExpressPRO will take on the role of your local sponsor. Through our corporate nominee sponsorship programme, you can ensure to have 100% beneficial ownership and 100% operational and financial control of your mainland company.

Civil Company

Similar to a sole establishment, a civil company allows 100% foreign ownership by two or more individuals. A civil company can conduct professional activities in the Emirate where it is registered, including consultancy, healthcare and training services. The partners owning the civil company will have 100% liability of the business.

Both sole establishment and civil company require a local service agent (LSA) to facilitate the paperwork and other requirements on behalf of the business owner(s).

ExpressPRO will act as your local service agent to ensure a smooth and efficient company setup for you.

Sole Establishment

A sole establishment is a mainland company structure that allows 100% ownership by a single individual. The individual will have full control over the sole establishment’s operations, profits and liabilities. A sole establishment can carry out professional and commercial activities in the Emirate where it is registered.


Business owners or companies looking to establish their presence in the UAE can set up a branch office in the UAE mainland. A branch office guarantees 100% ownership of the business and acts as an extension of the parent company. Branch offices can only engage in business activities that are similar to that of their parent company.

Representative Office

A representative office also acts as an extension of an existing company, except that it is not licensed to generate profits. In addition, its activities are limited to promotions, marketing and research for the parent company.

Types of mainland licences

If you are planning to set up a mainland company, there are three licences you can choose from, depending on your business activity:

Commercial licence

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Allows a mainland company to engage in general and specialised trading activities.

Industrial licence

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Allows a business to conduct industrial and manufacturing activities.

Professional licence

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Allows a business owner to provide professional, craftsman and artisan services.

Popular business activities in the UAE mainland



Event management

Food and beverage

General trading

Gyms and health clubs



Import and export


Professional services


Applying for residence visas in the UAE

A private company can apply for new employment entry permits for its employees. However, this must be done within 30 days of the employee’s entry into the UAE. A mainland company can issue employment visas with a two-year validity.
Requirements for sponsoring family residence visas:
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Set up a mainland company with ExpressPRO

Please fill out the form below so our team can get in touch with you and guide you through the complete process.