difference between-mainland and free zone license

Monday February 4, 2019

Difference Between Mainland And Free zone Companies

If you are planning to start a business in UAE, this article may help you to understand the scope of which type of company you should form. Mainly there are two main categories which you need to understand, before start company registration in UAE. we try to cater Difference Between Mainland And Free zone Companies.

Many Investors who are planning to invest in UAE Market usually ask us: What is the difference between mainland and free zone companies?

Difference Between Mainland And Free zone Companies.

Foreign Ownership:

A Mainland company in Dubai must require a local partner with 51% Share in the company and remaining 49% Share can be divided up to maximum 49 shareholders, while a Free Zone Company can be 100% owned by foreign Investors individual or a foreign Company.

The number of Employee Visa Allowed:

There is no certain limit in Mainland Company to acquire employment visa under your company, as long as you have a proper office and required documentation to higher employment. While Free Zone has several packages according to the number of visas required.


A mainland company Setup in Dubai, allow you to take office anywhere in the mainland city, as per your choice, budget and business modules. While free zone Company restricted to get their office with free zone area only.

Office Space Requirement

A Mainland Company required minimum 200 Square foot area for office space to get Trade License Issuance, While a Free Zone company registration can be done without a proper office, it can use a Flexi Desk office / Shared Desk office address to complete the license registration formality.

The Scope of the Doing Business with Mainland & Free Zone.

A Mainland Company gives maximum freedom to do business all across the UAE. On the Other hand, A free Zone Company has the restriction to do business within the Free Zone Area. A Free Zone Company can trade outside the Free Zone as well, but they have to appoint a distributor (A Local Company) to distribute in local market/ outside the free zone.

Factors which make difference Cost of a Trade License:

A Mainland Company License Registration process required the following things:

  1. Trade Name Reservation
  2. Initial Approval for all partners (from DED).
  3. MOA / Agreement Typing & Notarization
  4. Office Rent
  5. Trade License Fee as per business activity and office rent.
  6. Additional Approvals may require to depend on Business activity.
  7. Immigration Card Fee
  8. Labour Card Fee
  9. O. Box Fee

While a Free Zone Company License Registration cost depends on flowing factors.

  1. Trade Name
  2. Trade License Package (depend on Number of Visa required & Business activity).
  3. E-Channel Fee (for accessing immigration Services).
  4. Establishment Card.


Well, this article helps the Investors to choose a right option, for the company startup in UAE. We try to figure out the common factors that everyone should know.


This article is shared for information purpose, any rule or fees may change at any instant we are not responsible for any change occurs in the process, fee or Law.