'Local sponsor' is a general term used in the UAE to refer to local service agents and nominee shareholders (sleeping partners) in mainland companies with foreign investment. A sponsor has to be an Emirati (UAE national) with a family membership card (Gincia). Operating a business in the Dubai Mainland area requires a local sponsor to be mandatorily appointed. As per the UAE Companies Law and UAE Civil Law, to start a company with limited liability in a mainland, that is, a non-offshore company in a non-free zone, a minimum of 51% local equity is a must. Despite foreign equity in such a company not exceeding 49%, the profit distribution from it can be mutually agreed upon by concerned parties. Complete operational powers can also be granted to the foreign partner(s) or a third party on the memorandum of association. Only UAE nationals or companies owned wholly by UAE nationals may be considered for being nominee partner and paid a lump sum amount per year.