Dubai Free Zone Companies Now Permitted to Operate On the Mainland

Dubai Free Zone Companies Now Permitted to Operate On the Mainland


Free zone companies have typically been restricted to their respective free zones. Earlier, if a free zone company wanted to have a presence on the mainland, it could either open a Branch Office; or it could register another business entity on the mainland. It was also necessary to submit an application to the respective Department of Economic Development and get it approved if one wanted to expand his/her sphere of economic activity to the mainland.

This situation is now changing. The Department of Economic Development proposes to allow free zone companies to operate on the mainland without opening a Branch Office or registering another company with its address on the mainland. The plan envisages a permit system, restricted to companies located in free zones in Dubai. In other words, Dubai free zone companies can apply for a permit and expand their operations to the mainland without opening another office or company on the mainland.

At the moment, this is applicable only for the following business sectors

Your company needs to be actively engaged in these areas of business – that is to say, it must be one of the primary business activities of the company and not an allied business activity – for you to be eligible to apply for the new permit.


*Otherwise, you have no choice but to open a Branch Office on the mainland.

Documents Required

You will need to attach along with your application for a permit a copy of your Business License, and a No Objection Certificate from the Free Zone Authority which manages the free zone that you are presently located in.

Although there are more than 30 free zones in Dubai, the scheme currently covers only the following free zones.

If you would like to know more, please Contact Us

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