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The difference between Dubai Mainland and Free Zone 

Are you looking to start your own business in the UAE but puzzled on whether to do it in Dubai Mainland or UAE Free Zone?

Setting up a company in Mainland or Free Zone provides several exceptional benefits to individuals and businesses. Smart Zone has listed some of the areas you should look into before choosing which one is more beneficial.

The details below are based on requirements, such as business scope, ownership and visa eligibility and others. Let’s dig down the difference between Mainland and Free Zone.

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Free Zone

Mainland

Market Restrictions

With a Free Zone license, you are restricted from doing business only within the free zone authority. But it gives you support to prepare you for that big transition in the future as you grow your company.

Mainland license gives you the flexibility to conduct business anywhere in the UAE. You can also scale up your business without restrictions in the future. You can freely trade with the government and maximize your company’s potential to reach even the emerging markets.

Company Ownership 

With a Free Zone license, a foreign national can own 100% company and have full control over your business.

Mainland license requires you to designate a Local Partner or Local Service Agent. 51% of company ownership must be held by a UAE National or your designated Local Partner, and 49% is yours depending on business activity.

Visa Eligibility 

Some Free Zone licenses have certain limitations on the number of visas you can apply for. So, it is recommended that you consider your visa requirements when choosing the right free zone for your business.

Mainland license allows you to apply for an unlimited number of visas for as long as your office space meets the required size.

Office Requirements

Free Zone license does not require an office space. However, if you need one, you should have it within your chosen UAE Free Zone.

Mainland license requires an Ejari or office space. This should be presented to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) for the trade license issuance.

Smart Zone – Business Setup Experts

These are just some of the major differences between Mainland and Free Zone company setups in the UAE. If you are looking for more company registration information, feel free to schedule a free consultation with one of our business setup experts.

Let Smart Zone guide and assist you in choosing the right jurisdiction for your business. Whether you are looking to set up in a Mainland or a UAE Free Zone, Smart Zone has a team of business setup experts, who are willing to understand your requirements and help you decide, based on our expertise and knowledge, what’s best for your business. Call +971 55 233 0077 today.

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Terms & Conditions

This offer is valid until
30th September 2020 only.

• Sponsorship fee is waived off for the first year only
• 24-hour license issuance is subject to approval from Government entities
• License fee, PRO service fee, office charges & Government disbursements to be paid
separately