Can Mainland Company Do Business in Freezone?

Many companies in the UAE often consider various options to set up their operations. One common question that arises is whether a mainland company can do business in a free zone. Let’s explore this topic in detail.

Understanding Mainland Companies and Free Zones

Mainland companies are those businesses that operate within the commercial jurisdiction of a specific emirate. These companies have more flexibility in terms of doing business across the UAE and internationally.

On the other hand, free zones are designated areas where companies can operate with certain benefits such as tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and customs privileges. Free zones are designed to attract foreign investors and promote economic growth.

Can a Mainland Company Operate in a Free Zone?

Yes, a mainland company can certainly establish a presence or operate within a free zone. However, there are specific regulations and procedures that need to be followed to ensure compliance with the legal framework.

Steps To Establish A Presence In A Free Zone For A Mainland Company:

  1. Obtain necessary approvals from the relevant authorities.
  2. Choose a suitable free zone based on the business activities.
  3. Register a branch or subsidiary in the chosen free zone.
  4. Ensure compliance with free zone regulations.
  5. Complete the licensing and visa processes.

Benefits of a Mainland Company Operating in a Free Zone

There are several advantages for a mainland company to operate in a free zone:

  • 100% Foreign Ownership: Free zones allow full foreign ownership, which is beneficial for
    mainland companies looking to expand their business.
  • Tax Exemptions: Companies in free zones are often exempt from corporate and personal taxes,
    providing cost-saving opportunities.
  • Customs Benefits: Free zones offer customs privileges, making import and export processes
    smoother and more efficient for businesses.
  • Access to Free Zone Infrastructure: Mainland companies can benefit from state-of-the-art
    infrastructure and facilities available in free zones.

Learn about benefits of mainland company formation in Dubai  here

Challenges and Considerations

While there are significant benefits, mainland companies considering operating in a free zone should also be aware of certain challenges:

  • Additional administrative requirements and compliance obligations.
  • Potential restrictions on conducting business outside the free zone.
  • Possibility of higher operational costs in some free zones.
  • Need for thorough research and understanding of free zone regulations.
  • Safeguarding intellectual property rights and data security.

Frequently Asked Questions For Can Mainland Company Do Business In Freezone?

Can A Mainland Company Operate In A Free Zone Business Setup?

Yes, a mainland company can establish a branch or subsidiary in a free zone.

What Are The Benefits Of A Mainland Company Operating In A Free Zone?

Companies in a free zone can enjoy 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and no currency restrictions.

Are There Any Restrictions For A Mainland Company In A Free Zone?

Mainland companies in free zones are generally prohibited from conducting business directly with the mainland market.


In conclusion, while mainland companies are traditionally based within the commercial jurisdiction of an emirate, they can expand their operations by establishing a presence in a free zone.

The benefits of operating in a free zone offer substantial advantages, including tax exemptions, foreign ownership, and customs privileges.

Companies should carefully assess the opportunities and challenges of operating in a free zone to make informed decisions that align with their business goals and strategies.


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