6th June 2018
Does your business currently operate within one of the Abu Dhabi free zones but need to operate onshore? Gateway Group can assist to ensure your business is legally compliant.
Licenses for free zones and licenses for onshore companies
There are some misconceptions that you can operate throughout the Emirates with one commercial license. This is incorrect. Licenses are issued by jurisdiction. Operating in more than one jurisdiction requires multiple licenses. Free zone licenses restrict operations to within the specific free zone and with companies overseas. For more information about Abu Dhabi free zones CLICK HERE. Free zone companies are not permitted to operate on the Abu Dhabi mainland except via a company licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). For Dubai-based free zone entities which are operating onshore, they could face a fine of up to AED100,000. So, if your free zone company is expanding its operations into mainland Abu Dhabi, it's important to be legally compliant.
How can an Abu Dhabi free zone company get licensed onshore?
Free zone companies providing services can branch onshore. Free zone companies selling goods are required to setup a Limited Liability Company (LLC) when stepping onshore. In both instances, Gateway Group can assist with the onshore company setup in Abu Dhabi. Our expert team can manage the registration process. We also provide corporate service agent and local partner services, if required. The process takes approximately one month. For companies registered with TWOFOUR54 or Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) free zones, special agreements in place with Abu Dhabi's DED negate the requirement for an onshore commercial premise.
What are the benefits for an Abu Dhabi free zone company stepping onshore?
- Work directly with Abu Dhabi government and semi-government entities
- Tender for Abu Dhabi government projects
- Can apply for Supreme Petroleum Council approval to work directly with the ADNOC group in the oil and gas sector. (Approval is at the discretion of the Supreme Petroleum Council.) For more information about the Supreme Petroleum Council CLICK HERE.
- Increased opportunities in a larger geographical market
- VAT return compliance
- Fast onshore registration process
If your free zone company is currently working onshore without a DED-issued license, contact Gateway for assistance to get compliant. Gateway are expert company formation specialists in Abu Dhabi. For more information about how Gateway can help you setup your business onshore, please email us: Info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO, Gateway Group of Companies
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By providing bespoke business setup, corporate local sponsorship, and visa processing in Abu Dhabi, award-winning Gateway Group uses its on-the-ground experience and knowledge to help companies make informed decisions that are right for their business and in line with their goals.