Choosing the right licensing option is a critical decision for entrepreneurs looking to establish a business in Dubai. International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) and Dubai Mainland licenses represent two distinct choices with unique features. Here’s a comparison to help you make an informed decision: Find here useful information about DIFC free zone license.

Ownership and shareholding:

  • IFZA: IFZA offers 100% foreign ownership, allowing entrepreneurs to have full control of their business without the need for a local partner.
  • Dubai mainland: Dubai Mainland typically requires a local partner or a local service agent, resulting in shared ownership. However, certain activities may allow for full foreign ownership under specific conditions.

Business activities:

  • IFZA: IFZA caters to a wide range of business activities, including trading, services, and industrial activities. It is particularly suitable for businesses engaged in international trade and commerce.
  • Dubai mainland: Dubai Mainland allows businesses to engage in various activities across different sectors. It is well-suited for businesses targeting local markets and those requiring a physical presence in the city.

Geographical restrictions:

  • IFZA: Businesses operating under IFZA licenses are generally restricted to conducting their activities within the free zone boundaries.
  • Dubai mainland: Businesses with Dubai Mainland licenses have the flexibility to operate anywhere in Dubai and can establish a presence in any part of the city.

Office space requirements:

  • IFZA: While physical office space is required in the free zone, IFZA offers flexibility with options such as virtual offices, flexi-desks, and traditional offices.
  • Dubai mainland: A physical office space within Dubai is a mandatory requirement for businesses in the mainland. The type and size of the office depend on the business activities.

Cost considerations:

  • IFZA: Setting up a business in IFZA can be cost-effective, especially with options like flexi-desks and virtual offices. The free zone offers competitive pricing for licenses and services.
  • Dubai mainland: Establishing a business in Dubai Mainland may involve higher costs due to the mandatory physical office requirement and other associated expenses.

Operational flexibility:

  • IFZA: IFZA provides businesses with operational flexibility and ease of doing business within the free zone. The streamlined processes contribute to a more agile operational environment.

Dubai mainland: While Dubai Mainland allows for a broader market reach, the regulatory processes may involve more administrative steps compared to free zones.