Abu Dhabi introduces dual licensing for onshore, free zone firms

The Department of Economic development said dual licensing would allow businesses to work and partner with other government entities



Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has announced plans to introduce dual licences allowing firms to operate both in free zones and onshore, according to reports.

The National said the first phase of the initiative was open to companies headquartered in Abu Dhabi and based in one of its free zones, which include media zone Twofour54, Abu Dhabi Global Market and Khalifa Industrial Zone.

Read: Abu Dhabi Global Market launches $700 start-up licence

Later phases will be open to more types of businesses.

“In its first phase, the initiative will offer companies more opportunities to do business and grow, such as allowing them to work and partner with other government entities,” DED chairman Saif Al Hajeri was quoted as saying.

The licence programme comes under Dhs50bn (($13.61bn) of stimulus measures announced by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in June.

Read: Abu Dhabi crown prince approves Dhs50bn in economic stimulus

In order to apply, companies must present a no-objection certificate from their free zone, stating they have no branches outside of the zone, and a photocopy of the parent company’s free zone licence.

DED said most licences would be issued within 20 minutes but others could take two or three days if further approvals are needed.

The cost of the dual licence was reported to be 80 per cent less than a standard licence.

The Department of Economic Development also announced cuts to business setup and licence fees last week to improve their emirate’s competitiveness.

Read: Abu Dhabi cuts business setup, licencing fees