What is a mainland Dubai visa?

The mainland visa is one of the most popular types of visa in Dubai (along with the free zone visa). In order to apply for a mainland visa, you’ll need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Your company must be owned by yourself, and a UAE national.
  • Your UAE partner must own at least 51% of the company (to begin with).

The visa lets entrepreneurs set up a company in Dubai and enjoy access to the UAE’s main market. It’s also useful to note that your UAE sponsor can pass over the power of attorney completely to you, which means you can manage the business set-up without their input.

Your mainland visa is valid for two years, and after this time, you’ll need to renew it. The application process falls under UAE labour law, whereas the free zone visa is governed by its own set of laws.

How to obtain a mainland Dubai visa

Getting a Dubai residency visa can take a while, and this is especially the case if you try to obtain one without professional help. On average, anticipate the entire process to take around three months, sometimes a little longer.

Here are the steps required to get your mainland Dubai visa:

  1. Register. The first step is to register for E-Channel services. This enables you to complete your application online, and to keep within UAE government laws. Charterhouse Lombard can undertake this on your behalf.
  2. Get an entry permit. Next, you’ll need to apply for an entry permit; sometimes referred to as an employment visa. This is valid for 60 days.
  3. Get a medical test. Dubai’s government requires you to get a medical test before you can receive a mainland visa. This is usually straightforward, and you’ll receive the results within a few days.
  4. Apply for an Emirates ID card. Once you’ve completed the medical test, you can apply for an Emirates ID card. This useful card enables you to do a variety of things within the state, including opening a bank account.
  5. Receive your residence visa. Finally, you’ll be given your visa, which comes in the form of a stamp in your passport. Once you have your residence visa, you’ll be able to apply for a family visa, or visas for your employees.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost?

There are a variety of fees involved with getting a Dubai residency visa; from the medical test, to processing fees for the ID card and the visa itself. For more information, get in touch with us today.

Can I have 100% ownership of my company?

The Foreign Direct Investment Law permits you to purchase back the shares from your UAE sponsor, and obtain 100% ownership. However, this only applies to businesses operating in the following sectors:

  • Administrative services
  • Agriculture
  • Arts / entertainment
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • IT / communications
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional services
  • Renewable energy
  • Space
  • Transport

Which is better – a free zone visa, or a mainland visa?

This depends on the nature of your business, as both offer different benefits. Refer to our free zone visa page to make a comparison, or alternatively, get in touch with our team to learn more.

Why do I need a mainland visa in Dubai?

If you’re setting up a company in mainland Dubai, a visa is a legal requirement. In addition to letting you set up a business, you’ll also be able to do other things, such as get a tenancy contract, obtain a driving licence and more.

Charterhouse Lombard – Dubai mainland visa experts

We have several years’ experience helping clients get their residency visas in Dubai, and in establishing their company in the state. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with getting your enterprise up and running in this key business zone.