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A mainland company is a legal entity that can operate inside the UAE market and internationally without any restriction.
The main benefits of establishing a mainland company include:
  • The freedom to choose premises in any area of Dubai
  • The ability to conduct a wide range of business activities
  • The freedom to trade anywhere in the UAE or outside the country
The UAE recently announced the elimination of the local partnership for all foreigners choosing to open in Dubai or the rest of the UAE, also known as the "49-51" rule.
Federal Decree-Law No. (26) of 2020 (“New Decree”) took effect, eliminating almost all foreign ownership restrictions on companies in the UAE. From now on, foreign investors of any nationality will be allowed to hold 100% of the shares of a mainland company. These changes apply to any entity choosing to operate onshore, whether it be an LLC or a joint-stock company in the UAE on June 1st, 2021.
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:
Branches of foreign companies do not require an Emirati agent.
Full ownership does not apply to commercial agencies, as they are regulated by the Commercial Agencies Law

Here are the different options that we offer in Dubai Mainland:



Experts in company formation

Registering Your Company

Full Administrative Management of Your Company

SFM offers a full A-Z of services, not just company registration. Our Account Managers specialise in company law and are at your disposal throughout the year:

  • To answer all your general questions
  • To add or remove a company shareholder or director
  • To sign contracts on behalf of the company
  • To change your company’s name
  • To open bank accounts on behalf of the company
  • To produce additional company documentation (Certificate of Incumbency, Certificate of Good Standing, etc.)
  • To dissolve a company
  • To increase or decrease your company share capital
  • To transfer the company from another agent
Experts in company formation

Immigration services

Before issue of a UAE residence visa, you are required to go through several mandatory formal steps. We can guide our clients step-by-step through these immigration formalities. Our specialised team of public relations aim to streamline this process on your behalf, allowing valued clients to focus on their company’s performance. We will also provide you with immigration advice concerning your family and staff if required.

There are two steps to the immigration process. The first is residency; the other is the process of combining that residency with the work permits allowing you to work in the country. The various entities involved are the Naturalization and Residency Departments and the Department of Labour, but The Ministry of Interior is also part of these formalities.

Once a company is formally incorporated in any UAE jurisdiction, we may then start the residency visa process. This is quite simple and includes a mandatory medical exam.

Generally, the medical examination takes a maximum of 5 working days. In most cases. this can be expedited with an urgent medical application.

Once the residence visa is approved, your passport will receive an authorising stamp. After this, one may obtain an Emirates Identification Card. Persons wishing to take up employment must apply for a mandatory labor card from the Ministry of Labour.

SFM’s dedicated Account Manager is on hand throughout to assist you and speed up the process where possible.

Click here for a detailed description

Experts in company formation

Company Activity

UAE is one of the world’s biggest international business hubs and a friendly environment for all kinds of start-up businesses. Its commercial interests include real estate, airlines, financial services and, of course, tourism. Also, UAE has a vision to become a center of health tourism. Today, business developments in UAE are geared towards a growing technology sector, artificial intelligence, and renewable energy.

Business activity

Below is an outline of the major business activities available in the UAE:

Holding License:

To hold your assets, properties, shares or other interests in a company name.

Industrial License:

UAE is moving towards renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint in the environmentally-friendly Masdar city Abu Dhabi, Jabal Ali free zone JAFZA, and Ras Al Khaimah economic and industrial zone RAKEZ

Commercial License:

As a business hub, UAE is a leader in international trade, for example food (such as fruits & vegetables), refined oil trading, automobiles, heavy machinery and general trading with a view to becoming a leading business hub. Dubai is the only commodities and gold trading free zone in the region. This is located at Dubai multi commodities center (DMCC).

Consultancy License:

For qualified professionals it is important to operate as an entity and to offer professional services without restrictions that they might encounter on individual level. UAE offers a very wide range of professional consultancy activities such as management consultancy, engineering consultancy, educational consultancy, human resources consultancy, investment consultancy, legal consultancy and events management. All may be operated freely in the free zone or on the mainland.

Logistics License:

UAE is a regional market leader in logistics and cargo businesses as Dubai Ports manages over 30 ports internationally. This success story makes UAE an attractive logistic hub for large multinational companies. If your preference is for air freight, UAE also operates a free zone specialized in this service in Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA), Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAIF) and Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone, For sea freight business, UAE is a leader in the region’s ports at Hamriya Free Zone, Jabal Ali Free Zone, KIZAD, Fujairah Free Zone, Ajman Free Zone (AFZ) and Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

Educational License:

Education is a major focus for the UAE government; they have instructed a dedicated authority (Knowledge and Human Development Authority KHDA) to check and authorize the function of schools and universities in the UAE. UAE now has over 500 educational institute and over 30,000 students in higher education.

Technology & IT License:

UAE is moving towards artificial intelligence and has created a free zone to serve present and future technology needs. The main technology hubs in UAE are Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Center (DTEC), Dubai Internet City (DIC)

Marketing & Media License:

The vision of the National Media Council is to make UAE the region’s media hub and home to the biggest international marketing, media, production, and broadcasting companies. Therefore, UAE has opened high-standard free zones such as TwoFour54, Dubai Media City (DMC), Dubai Studios City (DSC) and International Media Production Zone (IMPZ)


Tourism is one of the leading business sectors. in UAE thanks to some top amusement parks such as Dubai parks and resorts (motion gate), Desert safari, Ferrari world, Warner Bros and, of course, Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world.

Hospitality & Retail:

Hospitality & retail Licenses cover mainly food and beverages, as well as retails shopping in different sectors in malls across the UAE licensed under Economic Departments in UAE (DED) or in a specific free zone in the UAE as required.

Health and Medical license:

UAE has already attracted some of the biggest and most famous hospitals, clinics and internationally recognized doctors, leading today’s health care sector to a high standard compared to other countries. Supervised by the Dubai Health Authority and Abu Dhabi Health Authority, the Ministry of Health (MOL) and licensed by either Dubai Health Care City (DHCC) or Economic Departments in UAE (DED)

Freelancer license:

Whether you are a musician, artist, photographer or a website developer, UAE gives you the opportunity to develop and benefit from your talent.

Corporate Banking for Mainland sectors in the UAE

Corporate Banking for Mainland sectors in the UAE

UAE is one of the region’s leading business centers which makes a safe, secure, advanced banking system vital.

The UAE has a stable and strong banking sector regulated by the Central Bank. Established in 1980, The Central Bank supervises monetary, credit and banking policies and its implementation in accordance with UAE rules and regulations. It reinforces the national economy and boost the reliability and stability of the local currency. It also maintains the UAE government’s reserves of precious metals and foreign currencies and regulates banks operating inside the UAE

Type of Banking in UAE:

  • Commercial banking: This leading banking service is dedicated to start-ups and SMEs in the UAE, offering the best and most flexible banking facilities to start a business. UAE’s banking vision is to support these two important sectors and provide them with all necessary solutions to improve the national economy.
  • Retail Banking: it is a standard personal banking in which individual customers use the branches of larger commercial banks. There are over 50 retail banks in the UAE. This banking system provides wide range of services such as : personal savings and current accounts, auto and personal loans, debit and/or credit cards. The focus of retail banking is on the individual consumer level more than on a corporate level.
  • Investment banking: UAE banks offer one of the highest ROI (Return of Investment) rates starting at 3% interest., With its political and economic position, UAE is a leading global investment center
  • Islamic banking: UAE banks offer Islamic banking governed by Shari'a Law and Federal Law No. 6 of 1985. The strategic plan of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum includes the establishment of Dubai as a global center of Islamic banking

Benefits of Banking Within UAE

  • UAE banks provide swift transfer for international markets and IBAN numbers for the European markets.
  • UAE banks deal with multi-currency accounts such as (AED, USD, Euro, GBP …etc)
  • UAE banks provide a friendly online portal system for e-banking transactions
  • UAE banks provide the facility to obtain credit and debit cards
  • UAE banks provide cheque books as well as a token device to secure your transactions
  • UAE banks provide support for letter of credit, bank guarantee, and other commercial banking facilities
  • UAE banks provide a easy phone banking system and mobile applications for internet banking transactions
  • UAE banks have an excellent international reputation of security and confidentiality

Process of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

Opening a bank account in the UAE is easy, safe and regulated by the Central Bank. SFM’s expert team will make a pre-evaluation of your profile and provide a list of potential banks suitable for your requirements. Once the bank is selected, SFM will contact the chosen bank and organize a meeting in Dubai which you are required to attend personally.

After meeting the bank, providing the documents required and signing all the bank forms, the bank will need around 15 days to process the account opening. Finally, once the account is opened, the bank will provide your banking details and access for you to fund your account and start your business activity.

Documents required for company formation

Documents required for UAE company formation

Company registration in the UAE is a relatively simple process and does not require complicated documentation, especially when it comes to comparing the process to other countries.

However, the documentation required would vary and depend on different factors, namely: the business activity, the shareholder type (individual or company) and the selected location. The exact requirements will be communicated to you upon submission of our proposal, or you may inquire about this aspect through our contact form .

Here are the typical documents requested for forming your company in the UAE:

  • Clear color copy of the passport
  • Clear color photograph with white background
  • Clear color copy of Latest UAE entry stamp or latest UAE residency visa

In some cases, additional documents might be requested from the authorities such as (birth certificate, bank reference letter, business plan, educational degree … etc)

Documents required to start the license application for companies (branch or subsidiary of foreign entity)

  • Attested and notarized copy of the mother company license
  • Attested and notarized copy of the mother company MOA
  • Attested and notarized copy of the mother company board resolution
  • Clear color copy of the director’s passport
  • Clear color photograph of the director with white background
  • Clear color copy of the director’s Latest UAE entry stamp or latest UAE residency visa

In some cases, additional documents might be requested from the authorities such as (birth certificate, bank reference letter, business plan, educational degree … etc)


UAE Taxation

In 2016, UAE established the Federal Tax Authority under H.H Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (the president of the UAE) via Emirati decree no 13 of 2016 for the following reasons:

  • Achieving economic variety
  • To enhance the UAE’s economic stability
  • To increase UAE’s non-oil income
  • Reducing dependency on oil resources

VAT is the newly-implemented tax law, introduced in January 2018 in the UAE. All companies located in UAE either in free zone or mainland operating inside the UAE market, are considered subject to VAT regulation. However, only offshore companies operating outside the UAE are exempt from the VAT regulation.

Income tax:

UAE is one of the few countries which offer zero percentage on individual and corporate income tax.

Excise Tax:

Excise Tax is a form of indirect tax on specific goods. These goods are harmful to health or the environment. The intention of the tax is to reduce consumption of these goods such as (Tobacco products, Energy and carbonated drinks), while also raising revenues for the government that can be spent on beneficial public and health sectors.

Value Added Tax:

Value-Added Tax or VAT is a tax on the consumption or use of goods and services raised at the point of sale. VAT is a form of indirect tax and is applicable in more than 150 countries around the world. All countries have VAT (or similar regulation). While it feels similar to Sales Tax generally imposed on end-consumers, VAT is a more advanced tax system and overcomes many challenges that affect the general sales tax.

VAT is charged at each step of the supply chain where end consumers bear the VAT cost while professional entities collect and act in a way as a tax collector on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority.

Click here to know more about VAT