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Dual Licenses – Free Zones and Onshore in the UAE


Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development recently announced the launch of the first phase of Dual Licenses Initiative.

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development recently announced the launch of the first phase of Dual Licenses Initiative. Dual Licenses Initiative enables the companies in free zone to also carry out activities onshore. Hence, the companies registered in Abu Dhabi free zones can carry out activities onshore in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

This initiative aims to encourage economic development across the emirate. On the launch of the second phase of this initiative, more companies will be qualified under this initiative.

The Dubai Department of Economic Development has already issued such schemes. For example, Dubai’s Airport Free Zone and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) had declared last year about signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Department of Economic Development that enables the companies incorporated in these free zones to operate onshore in Dubai.

These initiatives and agreements aim to increase levels of corporate governance, compliance and transparency within the free zones. This shall also help the authorities develop a central repository wherein data exchange will be transparent. However, the companies must still obtain the free zones’ registration and license first to qualify under these schemes.

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