Setting Up a UAE Mainland Company: Finer Points and Advantages
Setting Up a UAE Mainland Company: Finer Points and Advantages

Setting up a mainland company will provide your business with an access to the domestic market, give you the right to establish multiple branches in the UAE, or offer services to the government.

Besides, it is easier for local companies to open and maintain corporate accounts in local banks and, especially in case of cross-border transactions, pass the economic substance test.

As you are aware, starting from June 2021, there is no more requirement for a UAE national to hold 51% share in the local company: now investors may – with a few exceptions as outlined below – enjoy 100% foreign ownership of mainland companies, which drastically changes the ways of doing business in the Emirates.

Here is a brief summary of changes and key facts:
- In most cases, there’s no more need for a local sponsor (i.e. an Emirati citizen holding 51% of the company’s shares)
- Mainland company incorporation is not only possible, but also swift and transparent (can be completed in 1-2 business days)
- For certain commercial activities, you may still need a local service agent (Note: a local service agent is a UAE national who acts as your representative and bears no civil or financial responsibilities; he assists a foreign entrepreneur to register a business in the Emirates but has no legal interest in the company’s operations, administration, profits, or assets)
Certain commercial activities (including those related to oil & gas sector) remain excluded, meaning an investor would still require a local partner

That’s how we at Arnos Group can help:

- First and foremost, we shall analyze your business plan and activity type, assessing your chances for obtaining a mainland license in the Emirate of your choice

- We can provide you with local agent services for as low as AED6.000 per year

- We can assist with the setting up and licensing of your new mainland company at very competitive fees, starting from AED13.000 (prices may vary depending on the license type / number of licenses)

- Since it is mandatory for a mainland company to have a physical office and acquire an ‘Ejari’ (i.e. the confirmation of your tenancy contract being duly registered by the RERA), we can assist you with finding a right office in Dubai area (prices start from about AED5.000 per month

- We can help you with bank account opening, and since banks favour mainland companies more, compared to free zone or offshore ones, the procedure will be less costly and time-consuming

- We would be glad to assist you with residency visas for all eligible participants (shareholders or investors as well as managers, employees and their family members)

All in all, whether you are looking to expand to the UAE domestic market or considering the switch from a free-zone entity to a mainland company, we are here to help. Please contact us to learn more or schedule a free consultation.

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