Top 10 Advantages of
Establishing a Mainland Company
in the UAE

Features of a mainland company in the UAE

A mainland company is an onshore organisation created outside of the Free Zone areas. It can be run by a single owner or have anywhere from two to 50 partners. This type of company can engage in nearly all types of business-related activities.

Previously, opening a mainland company required a sponsor — a UAE citizen or a local legal entity — who would own at least 51% of the shares. However, as of 1 June 2021, legislative amendments were enacted, allowing foreign investors to fully own their company. A local sponsor is only needed when conducting business in a strategically important sector, such as national security, telecommunications, banking and finance.

Why you should open a mainland company

Operating through a mainland company offers several advantages.

1. No territorial restrictions for business operations

The main competitive advantage of a local company over other types of organisations in the UAE is the ability to conduct business anywhere in the world, including in all of the emirates. In comparison, Free Zone companies can only trade and conduct other activities abroad or within a specific area, and offshore companies can only operate outside the country.

A mainland company can rent property anywhere in the emirate that it is registered in. It also has the option to purchase real estate in the company's name.

2. Broader opportunities for various activities

A mainland company that is 100% foreign-owned can engage in more than 1,000 types of commercial and industrial activities — all you need to do is obtain the appropriate licences. For example, if you want to open a beauty salon or a veterinary clinic, operating through a local company would be the optimal choice.

3. Participation in state tenders and contracts

Local companies can apply to participate in large-scale projects by the UAE government, which annually offers private businesses the opportunity to sign contracts for substantial amounts of money. As a result, you will not only earn good profits but also strengthen your company's reputation at both the local and international level.

4. No restrictions on the number of work visas

The number of resident visas the company can provide depends only on the amount of office space available — approximately 97 sq. ft should be allotted per person in an office environment, whereas 161 sq. ft per person is the minimum requirement for warehouses.

To obtain more visas, all you would need to do is buy or rent a more spacious property.

5. Opportunity for company expansion

You can easily expand your business in the UAE by opening new branches or offices in different emirates to cover a larger customer base.

6. A wide choice of legal forms for the company

Depending on the type of activity the mainland company will engage in, you can choose the optimal legal form:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Single Owner Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Private Joint Stock Company
  • Private Joint Stock Companies
  • Public Joint Stock Company
  • Civil Company
  • Sole Proprietorships

7. No minimum capital requirement

There is no set requirement for the minimum capital investment — it depends solely on the legal form of the organisation. For companies in Free Zones, capital requirements are determined by the legislation of the specific Free Zone.

8. More favourable banking conditions

Banks in the UAE are generally favourable towards foreign businesses. A mainland company has several advantages when opening a bank account, as they typically have a physical office in the UAE and active staff, which is a major benefit when applying for a corporate account. A successfully operating mainland company can obtain loans and other financial services on more favourable terms than other types of organisations.

9. Business process automation

Dubai has implemented a reliable Smart City system. The use of innovative services simplifies and accelerates many processes in regards to business operations. Mainland companies have broader access to these types of opportunities than organisations registered in Free Zones.

10. Unlimited profit and capital repatriation

This is an advantage that all types of companies in the UAE have access to — being able to repatriate all business profits and company assets abroad without restrictions.


A mainland company is the optimal choice for large business owners who wish to operate in the UAE and other countries around the world. You will be able to effortlessly open new offices and branches, apply for work visas for any number of employees and have contracts with the local government. Moreover, you will not require a local sponsor for a majority of business activities— you will have full control over the business and the company's assets.