Entrepreneurs eyeing the UAE often encounter myths surrounding business ownership, particularly in Dubai. Let’s unravel these misconceptions and explore the real opportunities for expats looking to establish their ventures.

Myth 1: 100% Exclusive Ownership Isn’t Possible in Dubai Mainland

Contrary to popular belief, 100% ownership is applicable in professional, commercial, and industrial licenses. However, there are still a few categories left where 51% Emirati sponsorship is mandatory.

Myth 2: 51% Local Emirati Ownership is Mandatory

The notion that 51% local Emirati ownership is a prerequisite for Dubai Mainland businesses is outdated. While professional licenses require Local Service Agents (LSAs), they don’t entail ownership transfer to Emiratis. This allows entrepreneurs to maintain full control of their enterprises.

Myth 3: Freezone Licenses are the Only Option for Exclusive Ownership

Freezone licenses aren’t the sole path to 100% ownership. Dubai Mainland licenses offer comparable or even lower costs, rendering them a viable alternative for entrepreneurs seeking full control while opening a company in Dubai.

Myth 4: Northern Emirates Freezone Licenses are Cheaper

Although Northern Emirates Freezone licenses might seem cost-effective, they come with drawbacks, especially concerning banking facilities. Entrepreneurs may encounter challenges in opening bank accounts without an Executive Office, limiting their operational flexibility.

Debunking the Myths: Understanding the Real Opportunities

Since June 2021, the Dubai government has introduced measures to facilitate business setup for expats. These initiatives aim to attract foreign investment and foster entrepreneurial growth in the region.

100% Ownership for Trading and Professional Licenses

Entrepreneurs can open a company in Dubai Mainland with 100% ownership for trading and professional licenses. This option eliminates the need for local Emirati involvement, offering autonomy and control over business operations.

Competitive License Costs

Contrary to misconceptions, Dubai Mainland licenses are competitively priced, with some options even cheaper than their Free Zone counterparts. This affordability enhances the appeal of setting up businesses in Dubai Mainland for expat entrepreneurs.

Opening a Company in Dubai

Streamlined Visa Issuance Process

The visa issuance process in Dubai Mainland is significantly faster compared to Freezone options. With processing times ranging from 2 to 5 days, entrepreneurs can expedite employee recruitment and onboarding, contributing to operational efficiency.

Simplified Bank Account Opening

Opening a bank account for Dubai Mainland businesses is simpler and more straightforward than Freezone alternatives. This streamlined process reduces administrative hurdles, enabling entrepreneurs to access banking services efficiently.

Key Considerations for Entrepreneurs

When establishing a business in the UAE, entrepreneurs must consider various factors to make informed decisions:


  • License Type :

Choose the appropriate license type based on your business activities and ownership preferences.

  • Cost Analysis:

Conduct a comprehensive cost analysis to compare licensing, visa, and operational expenses across different jurisdictions.

  • Local Service Agents:

Understand the role of Local Service Agents for professional licenses and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

  • Banking Facilities:

Evaluate banking options and requirements to facilitate financial transactions and business operations seamlessly.

Final Thoughts

Dispelling common myths surrounding business ownership in the UAE reveals promising opportunities for expat entrepreneurs. With favorable regulations, competitive costs, and streamlined processes, Dubai Mainland emerges as a compelling destination for business setup. By understanding the real opportunities and navigating regulatory frameworks effectively, entrepreneurs can setting embark on successful ventures in the vibrant landscape of Dubai. Syed Aadil’s expertise can guide and ensure a smooth and successful company opening process in Dubai.

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