Main Land

The mainland refers to the areas outside the free zones in the UAE, and the Department of Economic Development (DED) serves as the regulatory authority responsible for granting mainland licenses. Mainland businesses are permitted to operate without limitations both within the UAE and internationally.

It is no longer mandatory to have a local sponsor to obtain a Dubai mainland license for approximately 1000 commercial and industrial activities. This comes with several benefits, including:


  • The freedom to lease commercial space in any location,
  • Conduct a broad range of business activities,
  • Trade anywhere in the UAE and internationally,
  • Have complete foreign ownership,
  • No currency constraints,
  • Streamlined employment visa processing,
  • Eligibility to bid on government projects,
  • Ease of opening a corporate bank account.

License Type & Activities

A Mainland company formation offers more than 3000 business activities listed in the UAE. The business activity, company structure and jurisdiction of operation will determine the license and other applicable requirements.

+Commercial License

A Commercial License is required in the UAE for businesses involved in trading and supplying of goods such as:

  • Mobile phones & accessories trading
  • Building material, cleaning and safety equipment trading
  • Oil & gas, chemicals trading
  • Automobiles, spare parts trading
  • Gold & precious metals trading

+Industrial License

An Industrial license is required in the UAE for manufacturing or other types of industrial activities such as:

  • Garments, uniforms manufacturing
  • Meat, dairy products manufacturing
  • Animal & birds feed manufacturing, fishing net making
  • Pastry & sweets manufacturing, mineral water bottling
  • Fabrics & textiles embroidery, carpets manufacturing

+Professional License

A Professional License is required in the UAE for individuals or business groups that deliver expertise as a service to the public such as:

  • Computer, IT infrastructure consultancies
  • Insurance, tax, legal consultancies
  • Marketing consultancies, public relations management
  • Auditing & accounting
  • Waste management & recycling consultancy

Process for mainland license

1Choose business activity
2Choose company structure
3Get trade name approval
4Get initial license approval
5Get external approval (if required)
6License issuance
7Open company bank account
8Get establishment card
9Labour file
10Process visa