UAE MAINLAND

UAE Local Market is called Mainland and consists of all areas which are accessible to all local traders, distributors and suppliers. These areas do not come under any free zone designated for international import and export business. All Licenses in Mainland Area are issued by the respective Emirate’s Department of Economic Development (DED) and the available licenses are as per the related categories of the business. DED issues the trade license under following categories.

Commercial

Professional

Industrial

The following ownership structures are usually allowed before an entrepreneur decides to obtain Local Market Access.

License CategoryDescriptionOwnership Structure
CommercialAll trading concerns dealing in physical goods come under the Commercial Category.LLC (Limited Liability Company) Local/UAE National Partner: 51% Shares Expat Partner: 49% Shares
ProfessionalAll service providers come under professional category.Expat Owner 100% Shares UAE National act as Local Service Agent.
IndustrialAll Manufacturing concerns come under industrial category.LLC (Limited Liability Company) Local/UAE National Partner: 51% Shares Expat Partner: 49% Shares

Local/ UAE National Business Sponsorship

Historically, the legislation in Gulf States has only allowed partial ownership to expat businessmen. The tide is now turning and number of Gulf States are enacting legislation allowing 100% ownership to expats. Even in the states that mandate majority shareholding in favor of their nationals, the attitudes are changing with a clear understanding that the national partner, usually called “The Local” or “The Sponsor”, is a sleeping partner and is there only to fulfill the legal requirement. The sponsor has no rights on the business management, turnover or profits.

While the debate is raging in all Gulf States and there is a clear will to remove the sponsorship system, the wheels of legal system turn rather slowly. The business opportunities however are abundant and cannot wait for the change in the sponsorship system.

We can assist you to capture these current opportunities by introducing you to silent, dormant, trust worthy partners. These are individuals with basic human decency and corporates owned by national individuals providing corporate sponsorship and in return eradicating doubts in expats’ minds about the national partner’s involvement in their business. We have a stringent wetting procedure to assess the suitability of nationals as local partners. We only recommend credible individuals and corporates as sponsors who have a well-established track record of non-interference and unequivocally commitment to support the businesses of our expat clients.

If you are considering sponsorship for your new business or are not satisfied with your current sponsor, we can advise you how to navigate the maze. For confidential advice, clients can call our specialist consultants.

Physical Office

Another legal requirement to secure the trade license in UAE Mainland is a physical office. The area of the physical office usually depends upon the chosen business activity. All normal Commercial/Professional Licenses do require a minimum of 220 sq.ft office. Some specialized licenses do have different requirements by DED and the required range of minimum area space varies between 300 to 1000 sq.ft. The physical office requirement is explained in the services section under Office Space Solutions provided by WMS. WMS Company Formation Services for UAE Mainland include but not limited to:

  • Legalization of the license.
  • Drafting and submission of Application and Agreements.
  • Approvals 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.
  • Trade license Issuance.
  • Processing of Company Immigration Card application.
  • Processing of Company Labor Card.
  • P.O Box and Company Stamp.
  • Assistance in Bank Account Opening.
  • Import/export code (if required).

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