Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

About Abu Dhabi Mainland Company

Abu Dhabi provides numerous company formation opportunities to locals and foreigners alike. Over the years Abu Dhabi has emerged as an economic and commercial hub. The emirate has an efficient and globally integrated business economy. This has been primarily due to the government’s favorable policies encouraging economic development. Abu Dhabi specializes in a number of areas including financial services, legal services, real estate, aviation, industrial development, and education. Mainland companies provide wider access and broad range of business activities to their investors, making them a lucrative option. Mainland companies can operate anywhere in the UAE and internationally. The flexibility to adapt and grow a business is one of the significant reasons why investors are attracted towards mainland company formation in Abu Dhabi. 

Advantages of company formation in Abu Dhabi

  • Well-developed and stable government fiscal policy with manageable levels of inflation
  • Infrastructure – State of the art infrastructure that supports economic development.
  • Resilient financial market – Abu Dhabi has a strong independent financial market that can fund new projects and companies
  • Access – Mainland company set up gives you the freedom to operate anywhere in the UAE and internationally.
  • Opportunity to expand – Setting up a mainland company allows investors to grow their business in the future. Mainland companies can apply for unlimited visas and open new office locations.
  • Type of business activities – Mainland companies can conduct business throughout the UAE on a range of business licenses.
  • Tax exemption– Mainland companies are exempt from corporate and income tax.
  • Can take up lucrative government contracts and bid on government projects.

Types of licenses for Mainland company set up in Abu Dhabi

Commercial licenses – Covers all trading and market activities. Businesses involved in real estate, construction, retail, and transport require this type of license.

Industrial licenses – Required for conducting production and manufacturing activity.

Professional licenses – Required by businesses that provide a professional skills-based service.

Steps for Mainland company set up in Abu Dhabi

There are various steps involved in mainland company formation in Abu Dhabi such as navigating through government approvals, registration, and license requirements. LegalWorks can assist in each step to make the process easy and straightforward for business owners.

1. Choose a business activity.

This is an important first decision and determines the type of license needed by the company. Our team of experts will take you through the licenses available and help you choose the one best suited to your needs.

2. Choose your company structure.

There are many legal structures a Mainland company set up in Abu Dhabi can take, such as LLC, sole proprietorship, civil company, and branch. We will assist you in choosing the company structure that is in line with your business activity.

3. Choosing a tradename

UAE has certain rules and restrictions regarding the trade name of a company. It is essential to check with the Department of Economic Development regarding the permitted trade names to prevent any unforeseen setbacks. A general list of rules regarding trade name are:

  • The name must not violate the public morals or the public order of the country
  • The name must be followed by the legal form of the company, for example (LLC)
  • The name should not have been previously registered
  • The name should be compatible with the type of activity and legal status
  • Trade name should not contain names with religious significance, or governing authority, or logos of any external bodies.

4. Obtain Initial Approval

Companies must obtain initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This conveys that the UAE government has no objection in allowing the business to be established. Foreign investors also need the approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs before they can get the initial approval.

Our team will assist you in the collection of the required documents for approval which include passport copy, No Objection Letter from your sponsor and a business plan.

5. Get external approvals

Many government institutions work in tandem with the Department of Economic Development to issue a business license. These include the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Economy and Local health departments. Depending on the nature of the business activity approval from these institutions is also required.

6. Get your license

This is the final step in the incorporation process. Obtaining a license requires the submission of the license application documents and legal documents. These include

  • Initial approval receipt and all the previously submitted documents
  • Duly attested memorandum of association
  • Approvals from other government entities concerned
  • Shareholder details and passport copies


At LegalWorks, our experts will assist you in every stage of the business set-up process. This includes determining the type of license and business structure, regulations compliance, selection of the right Mainland company set up plan, acquiring your visas and leasing your office space. We will guide you from start to end in the incorporation process.

Cost of setting up a mainland company

Initial approval AED 100
Trade name approval  AED 620
Foreign trade name approval  AED 2000
E- channel fee AED 2200 
commercial license  AED 7000 – AED 14,000
Administrative costs  AED 3000
visa  AED 4600  

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