Exact Steps to Setup Dubai Mainland License in UAE

Start Business UAE Dubai Company Formation
Start Business UAE Dubai Company Formation

An investor can apply online within a maximum of 15 minutes to start their business in the mainland UAE. Starting a business in the ordinary way requires a series of steps, procedures and approvals from the Ministry of Economy and other government agencies. This page describes those steps and the investor’s journey to start a business in mainland UAE.

Starting a business online

The UAE government has introduced the Bashr service to start a business. Bashr is an integrated eService that allows investors to establish their business in the UAE in 15 minutes through a unified online platform. This platform is connected to federal and local government agencies, which provide business licensing services. Read more about Bashr.

Abu Dhabi Business Center offers investors a direct licensing service to start their online business and obtain business license without having to visit the service center. Apply directly for a license in Abu Dhabi by clicking here.

Starting a Physical Business in Dubai, UAE

Starting a business in ordinary ways involves a series of steps, including:

  1. Identifying a business activity
  2. Selecting an appropriate legal form
  3. Registering the trade name
  4. Applying for an initial approval
  5. Drafting a Memorandum of Association and local service agent agreement
  6. Select a business location
  7. Get additional government approvals
  8. Submit documents and pay fees

Choosing Type of Business Activity

Commercial activity is the basis for selecting the legal form and type of license, be it commercial, industrial or professional, etc. There are six types of licenses. They are: industrial, commercial, professional, tourism, agricultural and occupational.


  • An investment/business can have more than one business activity.
  • There are more than 2,000 business activities to choose from in the UAE.

Legal Structure of Your Business Setup

The legal form mainly depends on operational requirements. In addition, the legal form serves as the basis for identifying applicable laws and regulations. In the UAE, an investor can choose one of these legal forms:

  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Public joint stock company (PJSC)
  • Private joint stock company (PrJSC)
  • Civil company
  • Local company branch
  • GCC company branch
  • Foreign company branch
  • Free zone company branch
  • Sole establishment
  • Holding companies.

Choosing a Trade Name for your Business

A trade name separate one company from another. It also reflects the nature and shape of the company. An investor can implement for the trade name through the economics department of any emirate, via its website or mobile application.

Provisions for selecting the trade name:

The trade name must:

  • be followed by the business structure acronym (legal form of the company) such as: LLC, EST, PJSC, PrJSC
  • not violate the public morals or the public order of the country
  • be compatible with the required type of activity and the legal status of the company or business entity
  • not contain names of any religion, or governing authority, nor names or logos of any external bodies
  • not have been previously registered.

During the application process, you will be issued a payment voucher or a transaction number, which you will need to use as a reference when you pay.


  • The local department of economic development registers the trade name, while Ministry of Economy registers the trademark.
  • Trade name certificates are renewable.

Getting Initial Approval for your Trade License

A first approval means that the UAE government has no objection to the establishment of the company in the country. It also allows the investor to proceed with the next steps in setting up a business. However, it does not confer authority to conduct or carry out the business.

Foreign investors must obtain approval from the Directorate General for Residence and Foreign Affairs before receiving initial approval.

Some activities require additional approvals from government agencies associated with that particular activity before requiring first approval. These include activities related to legal affairs, security affairs and financial securities and commodities.

Further Documents Memorandum of Association ( MOA)

Depending on the legal form of a company, a completed and signed Memorandum of Association (MoA) or Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA) of the company is required. The articles of association are mandatory for the following legal forms:
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Public joint stock company (PJSC)
  • Private joint stock company (PrJSC).


  • UAE-based law firms, courts and notary public prepare and attest MoAs and agreements.
  • Businesses owned completely by non-GCC residents require a local service agent from the UAE. Appointing the local service agent will be under an agreement attested by the notary public or the court.

Choosing a Physical Office Location.

All companies in the UAE must have a physical address in order to trade. The premises and location of the business must comply with the requirements established by the Ministry of Economic Development of the relevant emirate, as well as with the planning regulations of the local municipalities.

A lease agreement for the office and warehouse must be provided. Some emirates require attestation of agreements. In Dubai, the agreement must be registered with Ejari.

Final Step-Collecting your new Company Formation Business License

After completing the above steps, investor can collect the business license from service canters of the economic departments or through their websites.


Documents required for getting a license for all legal forms

The following documents are required for getting a license for all legal forms:

  • Initial approval receipt and all the previously-submitted documents
  • Copy of the lease contract duly attested by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in Dubai
  • Duly attested memorandum of association (for all types of companies)
  • Approvals from other government entities concerned, as may be required
  • Duly attested service agent contract (for civil establishments and companies that are 100% owned by non-GCC nationals), the UAE involving a local service agent.



  • You have to pay for your trade license within 30 days of receiving the payment voucher.
  • In the event of non-payment in a specific period, the application will be cancelled.
A few Helpful links to set up Business in other Cities:-
Setting up a Business in Sharjah- Click Here
Setting up Business in Ajman- Click Here
Setting up Business in Ras Al Khamiah- Click Here
Setting up Business in Fujairah- Click here
For Easy Hassle free setups, You can contact us here and we will offer you a free consultation to choose your exact business license.