Global Vision Management Consultancy

Mainland Company Formation

A local market in the United Arab Emirates is known as Mainland, and it includes all the areas that are accessible to all traders, these areas do not fall under any free zone designated for international import and export business. Licenses are issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the respective Emirate for the Mainland Area, and the categories of licenses are based on the business.


The following categories of trade licenses are issued by DED

  • Commercial
  • Professional
  • Industrial


Before an entrepreneur can obtain Local Market Access, the following ownership structures are usually allowed.

License CategoryDescriptionOwnership Structure
CommercialAll trading concerns dealing in physical goods come under the Commercial Category.LLC (Limited Liability Company) No, Local Sponsor Required- License 100% Own by an expat.
ProfessionalAll service providers come under the professional category.Expat Owner 100% Shares UAE National act as Local Service Agent
IndustrialAll Manufacturing concerns come under the industrial category.LLC (Limited Liability Company) Local/UAE National Partner: 51% Shares Expat Partner: 49% Share

Local/UAE National Sponsorship

For decades, Gulf States’ legislation allowed foreign businessmen to own only a portion of their businesses. The several Gulf States are now enacting legislation that allows expats to own their homes 100%. Although the majority shareholding status of their nationals is mandated in some states, the attitudes are changing with a clear understanding that the national partner, often referred to as “The Local” or “The Sponsor”, is a passive partner and is there solely to meet the legal requirements. Sponsors do not have any control over business management, profits, or turnover.

As the sponsorship system is being debated in all Gulf States and there is a clear desire to eliminate it, the legal system seems to barely move at all. There are, however, many business opportunities that cannot wait for the sponsorship system to change.

Our team can help you seize these current opportunities by connecting you with silent, dormant, and trustworthy partners. Humane individuals, as well as corporations owned by national individuals, provide sponsorships. As a result, the national partner removes all doubts from expats concerning the involvement of the national partner. To ensure that nationals are suitable to be local partners, we have a stringent vetting process. Sponsorships are only recommended to our clients from credible individuals and corporations with a well-established track record of non-interference and unequivocal commitment to supporting their businesses.

Whether you are looking for sponsorship for your new business or are unhappy with your current sponsor, we can help guide you through the maze. Consultations with our specialists are confidential.


A physical office is another legal requirement for obtaining a UAE mainland trade license. It depends on the type of business activity which determines the size of the physical office. A minimum of 220 square feet of office space is normally required for all Commercial/Professional licenses. There are some specialized licenses that have different requirements set by the Department of Economic Development, and the required minimum space ranges between 300 and 1000 square feet. Under GVMC’s Office Space Solutions section, we explain what the physical office needs are. We provide a variety of services for company formation in the UAE, including, but not limited to:

  • Legalization of the license.
  • Application and agreement drafting and submission.
  • Obtaining approval from government authorities.
  • Introduction to Local/UAE National Sponsors and preparation of Memorandum of Understanding between the Expat Partner and UAE National Sponsor/Service Agent. Issuance of trade licenses.
  • Processing of Company Immigration Card application.
  • Processing of Company Labor Cards, P.O Boxes, and Company Stamps.
  • Assistance with Bank Account Opening.
  • Import-export code (if required).
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