One of the most common types of business registration in the UAE is a local (mainland) company. The minimum number of shareholders is 2 and the maximum is 50. At the same time, it is possible to open a legal entity with just 1 shareholder. The average registration period is 1-2 weeks from the date of filing.
These types of companies have a significant competitive advantage, since they can operate not only abroad, but also in the UAE.
There are plenty of reasons for setting up an onshore company. That being said, they are required when it comes to retailing in the main territory of the UAE, running beauty salons, clinics, etc. These companies can participate in public tenders on request.
Following the 2021 changes to the 'Commercial Companies Act', foreign nationals are no longer required to have a local sponsor to register a mainland company. Expats can now act as 100% owners of the business. Please, bear in mind that this amendment does not apply to all businesses, and there are over a thousand different licenses on the Dubai Economic Department's (DED) list.
For local companies, licenses can be commercial, professional and industrial (manufacturing).
Companies specializing in consulting, auditing, legal support, services in the field of the beauty industry and others, require a service agent (a local citizen), whose responsibilities for a fixed yearly amount will include communication with the state registration authorities solely in the process of setting up the company and the annual renewal of the license. The entire company will be under control of the foreign shareholder.
Mainland companies have a number of advantages over those registered in a FEZ. Among the undeniable benefits are the possibility to rent properties in any part of Dubai, unrestricted conduction of business in the emirate and most importantly, these companies are considered more beneficial by the UAE banks.