LLC Company Formation in Dubai : Step-by-Step Business Setup Guide with Smart Zones® UAE

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Start your Liability Company (LLC) Business in Dubai, UAE - Smart Zones UAE

The most common form of business entity in UAE, mainland is the Limited Liability Company (LLC). The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the governmental authority responsible for granting licenses to LLCs and responsible for classifying and regulating the permissible economic activities.

Why LLC Company Formation in Dubai, UAE ?

An LLC in the Dubai or UAE mainland enjoys the advantage of being unrestricted in its choice of trading locations within the UAE (unlike Free Zone companies) and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Additionally, there are no restrictions on real estate ownership and no limits on the number of visas that can be obtained. There are no mandatory minimum share capital requirements, and mainland companies are exempt from the standard 5% customs duty on imported goods.

All mainland (onshore) UAE legal entities must obtain a license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) and operate in accordance with the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL).

The primary benefit for foreign investors who decide to establish a business in mainland UAE is that, unlike the Free Zones, there are no geographical restrictions on business activities or the location of offices/premises. A mainland company, therefore, enjoys the freedom to engage in trade anywhere within the UAE or the broader Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, including all Free Zones, and also has a much broader range of real estate options to choose from.

UAE Foreign Ownership Restrictions

In the UAE mainland, the predominant company structure is the Limited Liability Company (LLC). The Department of Economic Development (DED) holds the authority to issue licenses for LLCs and is responsible for categorizing and overseeing the permissible economic activities.

An LLC operating in the UAE mainland enjoys the flexibility of conducting business anywhere in the UAE (unlike Free Zone companies) or even within the GCC. Additionally, there are no constraints on real estate ownership, visa quotas, or minimum share capital requirements. Mainland companies are exempt from the standard 5% customs duty on imported goods.

Benefits of Establishing an Limited Liability Company (LLC) Company in Dubai - Smart Zones UAE

Benefits of Establishing an Limited Liability Company (LLC) Company in Dubai, UAE

There are several significant benefits of LLC Company formation in Dubai, UAE:

  • Shareholders' liability is limited to their investment in the company's capital.
  • An LLC has the flexibility to engage in any type of activity, except for insurance, banking, or investment.
  • An LLC possesses the legal authority to conduct business anywhere in the UAE, including the Free Zones.
  • There are no restrictions on the number of visas that can be obtained for employees.
  • The company faces no limitations on choosing its office premises' location, whether for rent or purchase.
  • The government has permanently eliminated any requirements related to paid-up capital.


  • Employee visas must undergo renewal every 2 years, except for Free Zones where the duration is 3 years.
  • The establishment process typically takes longer than that of a Free Zone company, usually spanning 8 to 10 weeks.
  • Obtaining necessary approvals from UAE government ministries, which incurs charges and consumes time, may be a requisite from external sources.

Steps to Launch a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai, UAE

Establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai involves several steps:

Embark on the journey of opening a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai by partnering with Smart Zones® UAE. Our adept company formation specialists will guide you through the business license application and setup process, liaising with relevant government and municipal authorities on your behalf.

Secure a business name for your enterprise, making certain it adheres to all government regulations regarding naming conventions.

Select your business location and secure the initial approval certificate from the DED. Keep in mind that your trade name must be approved to receive this certificate.

Ensure that you finish all necessary paperwork, such as the Memorandum of Association (MoA) and Limited Service Agreement (LSA) contracts. Collaborate with a trustworthy local sponsor who can assist you in meeting legal requirements.

Secure a trading license for your business by successfully verifying all the documents you have submitted to the relevant authority.

Submit an application to the labor registry for labor cards and manage your visa processes yourself and your business associates. Once this is completed, you will be prepared to operate a legitimate LLC company in Dubai.

Complete the process by opening your corporate bank account for your Dubai Business with Smart Zones® UAE. This final step paves the way for the successful opening of your Business.

Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen jurisdiction and business activities. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's business setup landscape is highly recommended.

Operating since 2013, Smart Zones® UAE provides on-going support to obtain Business Services License in Dubai, UAE including Limited Liability Company (LLC) License.

Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.

Documents Required to Start a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai, UAE

The key documents required for LLC formation in Dubai, UAE include:

  • Passport copy of the investor
  • Passport copy of the local sponsor
  • No Objection Certificate if the shareholder is working in a UAE company
  • Copy of Emirates ID
  • Application form of registration from DED
  • Attested tenancy contract for the office premises
  • Attested Memorandum of Association from a public notary

Submitting incorrect documents can lead to immediate rejection. Our consultants at Smart Zones® UAE ensure you have the right documents, avoiding any complications in the process.

Cost of Establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai, UAE

Starting at approximately AED 18,500, the cost of obtaining an LLC license in Dubai may vary. An additional AED 2,000 is incurred for foreign trade names or non-Arabic names. When it comes to renewing an LLC license in Dubai, the cost typically falls in the range of AED 8,000 to AED 15,000.

For most economic activities, the setup cost of a limited liability company in Dubai remains relatively consistent. Variations in cost may arise from factors such as the number of visa applications, the selected medical insurance, additional approvals from relevant government bodies, and the inclusion of foreign trade names.

For a precise quotation regarding LLC company formation, we encourage you to connect with Smart Zones® Dubai knowledgeable experts.

Asked Questions (FAQs)

In accordance with the new UAE Commercial Companies Law, it is now possible to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with just one shareholder. However, it is a common practice among foreign investors to have a minimum of two shareholders to fulfill the UAE's foreign ownership requirements.

While there is no strict requirement for a Registered Agent, it's crucial for foreign investors to seek guidance and engage a company with substantial experience and expertise in establishing UAE mainland LLCs due to the constraints related to foreign ownership.

Indeed, an LLC has the authorization to engage in trade across both the UAE and GCC regions. Furthermore, an LLC is eligible to acquire a Tax Residence Certificate from the UAE Ministry of Economy.

An LLC has the option to operate under various types of licenses, including:

  • Commercial License: Encompassing all forms of trading activities.
  • Professional License: Encompassing professions, services, and crafts.
  • Industrial License: Encompassing industrial or manufacturing activities.

Get in Touch

Want to know more, talk to Smart Zones® Dubai advisory team they will be happy to help. Ready to invest in your future?

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