Get to know the options of mainland and free zone companies.

Get to know the options of mainland and free zone companies.

You're all set to register your new business and the first question you are asking yourself is, where should my business be registered?

Given that the UAE has 7 Emirates and countless Free Zones, here 's 2 minute read that will save you a whole lot of time.

Free Zone or Mainland?

The easy answer is that if your customers are inside the UAE and they are themselves on the mainland, then you must be registered at the Department of Economy in one or more of the Emirates. If your customers are all outside of the UAE, then you can choose any one of the many Free Zones to get set up.

Of course, you can buy goods and services from the mainland regardless of whether you are registered on the mainland yourself, or in a Free Zone.

Great, now what about the type of business registration?

Company, Branch or something else?

If you are in the services sector and working alone, then a Freelance License would be the easiest and cheapest way for you to get up and running.

For more established businesses, you will be looking for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or perhaps a branch of a foreign, GCC or UAE entity. Some more complex combinations of Dual Licensing are also available for those with a mix of local and international business.

100% Foreign Ownership

The possibilities for expatriates to own their UAE businesses entirely have increased tremendously and are continuing to expand. These are the main routes to achieving 100% FDI currently:

Free Zones; these have always been, and continue to permit 100% foreign ownership,
Branches; foreign companies can register a branch on the mainland without the need for a National Service Agent,
Companies; mainland entities can be foreign owned for non-strategic activities. Each Emirate decides on their own list of such activities and at present, both Dubai & Abu Dhabi are permitting Industrial, Manufacturing, Contracting & Trading activities with Abu Dhabi going further to allow many service, retail and leisure activities also.

We're here to answer any questions, just reach out to OnPro Team anytime.