Business types of Dubai

Business Types in Dubai-UAE & Differences



There are plenty of business opportunities available in Dubai, as well as in the other Emirates of UAE. However, if you really want to start a business that must exploit the potential of Dubai then you need a locally registered LLC business. A UAE national must be taken as a 51% partner who is called a local ‘sponsor’.

Mainland Business in UAE:

Being registered as a Dubai mainland company means you have no restrictions regarding who you can trade with or where you can trade in Dubai. By setting up on the mainland, you can plan for any type of trade, without having to worry about overstepping your trade permission throughout Dubai and across the UAE

What is Free Zone in UAE?

Free zone Business by Saman Arslan in Dubai 2019/20/21

Also known as free trade zones – are essentially economic areas where goods and services can be traded, usually at preferential tax and customs rates. They were originally rolled out to boost international business in the region by offering benefits such as 100% foreign company ownership.

What is offshore in business?

Offshore Business Service by E B C G Corporate Services Provider in Dubai

An Offshore Company refers a corporation, LLC or similar class of entity formed in a foreign country foreign to that of the principals of the organization. It also refers to a company that can only operate outside of its country of formation.


MAINLAND: 49% of the shares can be acquired by foreign expats. A local sponsor would be acquired the remaining of 51 percent shares. You pay annually fix amount to UAE sponsor and get 100% your ownership.

FRREZONE: You can hold 100% of the company’s share. There is no need to create a local partner or a Service Agent for all business nature.

OFFSHORE: You will own the business in full if located outside the UAE. No physical presence in the UAE.


MAINLAND: Every business in mainland is obliged to get at least 200 sq. ft. physical office for maximum different type of business activities, it is called EJARI (a type of lease agreement). Some business activities need just 50 sq.ft of any office ESTADAMA (a type of lease agreement).

FREE ZONE: No need for an office space. These businesses may operate without an office or have virtual offices.

OFFSHORE: In the UAE you can’t have a physical office. You should do it outside the country.


MAINLAND: Free to operate anywhere in the UAE. They can also do business inside Free zone.

FREE ZONE: free zone company not permitted business activities outside Free zone. Just inside free zone and outside of UAE.

OFFSHORE: They are free to do business outside Emirates. They are not allowed to do business in the UAE.


MAINLAND: A business on the mainland is subject to minimum requirements for capital depending on its activity & type.


FREE ZONE: Depending on the emirate, a Free zone company has a minimum capital requirement

OFFSHORE:  There is no minimum capital requirement on an offshore company in the UAE.


MAINLAND: At the end of each financial year, mainland companies must prepare audit. & it mostly needs when companies apply for bank loan in Dubai-UAE.

FREE ZONE: Not every FZ business needs to be audited. Exceptions are also applicable but mostly free zone business ust need audit report at the time of its renewal after 12 months.

OFFSHORE: The offshore company has no auditing mandate.


MAINLAND: The public can obtain the information of a mainland business on request.

FREE ZONE: The public can obtain the information of a Free zone business on request.

OFFSHORE: The names and identities of owners, directors and shareholders of offshore companies are not public.


MAINLAND: Depending on the office size / workplace size a resident visa is issued and no limits of maximum visas in Mainland. (Visa Cost with work permit expensive as compare to others).

FREE ZONE: Depending on the office size/workplace size a resident visa is issued OR depending upon the package of free zone you selected for visa quota.

OFFSHORE: No residency visas are issued to an offshore company.


MAINLAND: Need to take permission from external authorities / additional UAE government departments.

FREE ZONE: Free Zones have their own laws for any organization within their jurisdiction to be licensed, and do not need authorities’ approval outside the free zone.

OFFSHORE: The authorities of the free zone of this competence shall ensure their approval.

EMARAAT BUSINESS CONSULTANT providing you a best quality service of all type of Business Setup/Registration Services in Dubai – UAE. Contact with us today at or by using mobile number/whats app at +971 56 952 9654.

Author: Arslan Rashid |&| Saman Arslan

11/12 December 2020 (Tough Time for SMA96)

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