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Business Setup in UAE | Best Business in Dubai | Business set up UAE

There are mainly 3 type of operating jurisdictions in UAE:

  • Mainland/ Local Market/ LLC

  • Free Zone

  • Offshore

The difference between a limited liability company and a Free Zone company is that a free zone company cannot conduct business in a LOCAL MARKET OR NON FREE ZONE area without a local distributor or agent, whereas a mainland company can do.


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Mainland or Local Company UAE

A mainland in the UAE is also called as an onshore company. It is licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED), which is allowed to do business in the local market as well as outside the UAE without any restrictions.

Free Zone Company UAE

There are more than 45 free zones in the UAE. It is incorporated within a designated jurisdiction of the emirate where the company is allowed to do business inside the same free zone. Most of the entrepreneurs, who want tax optimization, opt for a free zone formation as the free zone authorities bring out various benefits and incentives to the businesses setup in the zone.

Offshore Company

In case you do not want to set up an office in UAE, but want to protect your assets and ensure complete privacy over your business transactions and profits, you can choose to start an offshore company. Being non-resident companies, UAE offshore companies cannot conduct business in the Emirates and only get a certification of incorporation.

Types of Mainland Business License

Generally, four major licenses are issued for businesses operating in the UAE mainland.

The licenses are issued based on the business endeavor and they are:

Commercial License

License issued for those business establishments that undertake buying and selling of goods or services or simply trading. Most traders opt for the general trading license in order to conduct more than one trading endeavor with a single license.

Industrial License

License issued for firms that are involved in the manufacture of goods like factories, industries etc. When it comes to Industrial License, you may need to seek the approval of External Ministries and government departments depending upon the type of industrial activity.

Professional License

License issued for firms that undertake service-oriented endeavors. Professional License are required for professionals who take part in any professional activity like consulting.

Tourism License

All tourism related activities require a valid Tourism License. A valid Tourism license is mandatory to conduct inbound and outbound tour related activities.

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