The Department of Economic Development is the regulatory authority for the issuance of mainland licenses to operate business out of the territory of freezones in UAE. Mainland licenses give an advantage to entrepreneurs for carrying out their business activities throughout the UAE and internationally.

Mainland companies can also do business in freezones by getting NOC from Freezone Authorities. UAE’s new initiatives are allowing entrepreneurs to register companies for many commercial and industrial activities in UAE without local sponsor or local agent.

Advantages of Mainland License:

  • Freedom to rent commercial space in any area.
  • Ability to conduct a wide range of business activities.
  • Option to trade anywhere in the UAE and internationally.
  • 100% foreign ownership (For selected activities).
  • No currency restriction.
  • Easy employment visa processing.
  • Advantage of bidding on government projects.
  • Ability to open a corporate bank account easily.


Free trade zones are special economic areas where goods and services can be imported, traded, manufactured, stored, etc. under specific customs regulation and usually at preferential tax rates. In the UAE, there are 46 free zones across the country, operating with the aim of boosting international trade in the region.

Companies incorporated inside these areas in the UAE are called free zone companies. Those companies are offered free trade zone benefits from the Government.

Advantages of Free Zone License:

Several remarkable advantages include:

  • A vibrant and diverse economic community with many unexplored business opportunities for international investors.
  • 100% foreign owned tree trade zone company.
  • Fairly easy incorporation process in UAE’s free zones.
  • World-class infrastructure, convenient locations - near sea/airports.
  • Strong banking system, stable politics.
  • Favorable tax rates for businesses operating inside free zones.
  • Strategic location, as the UAE is the gateway connecting to the Middle East and Africa markets.
  • Some designated free zones are also exempt from VAT implications for trade within or with designated free zones.


Offshore companies are permitted to open a bank account in the UAE; however, they cannot issue work visas or have a physical office within the country. Offshore licenses are typically used as holding companies and are mainly incorporated for operations in foreign countries with financial, legal and tax benefit purposes. Offshore companies under free zones can own real estate in the UAE.

Advantages of Offshore License:

  • Low startup cost.
  • Speedy incorporation process.
  • 100% tax-free.
  • 100% foreign ownership permitted.
  • No paid-up share capital or audit requirement.
  • Multiple bank accounts.