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Licence Information

d3 provides individuals and companies with the choice of operating either as a free zone entity or as an on-shore business. Each set up has its own merits and the team at d3 will be able to talk about which way forward might be best suited to your needs. We also provide freelance permits so that talented and ambitious young artists and designers can get a foothold on the commercial ladder and work in an environment that reflects their needs. The physical spaces at d3 are designed to provide this kind of flexibility.


Freezone licences are often a preferred option for companies that wish to retain 100% foreign ownership. Operating with a Freezone licence means that you have the freedom to work within the zone. There are a number of different types of Freezone licences, each attracting zero tax and full repatriation of profits:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC)
  • Branch of a UAE company
  • Branch of a foreign company
  • Freelance permit

Commercial and freelance

All Freezone licenses come under either a commercial licence or a freelance permit. Commercial licences can either be a Freezone Limited Liability Company (owned by a natural or a corporate) or a Branch Company (a branch of either an existing UAE company or a foreign company). Freelance permit enable individuals to work as a sole proprietor for the specified activity.

Definitions of each Freezone licence

  1. FZ-LLC
    • Wholly owned by the Company – an independent legal entity
    • Zero corporation or income tax for employees
    • Ability to repatriate 100% of profits
    • Can only operate within the Freezone itself
    • Must have at least one Director
    • A minimum capital requirement for incorporation is required
  2. Branch office of an existing UAE company
    • 51% locally owned
    • Zero corporation or income tax for employees
    • No share capital required
    • Not a separate legal entity from its parent
    • Conducts all or some of the operations inherent in the parent’s business
  3. Branch office of an existing foreign company
    • Zero corporation or income tax for employees
    • No share capital required
    • Not a separate legal entity from its parent
    • Conducts all or some of the operations inherent in the parent’s business
  4. Freelance licence
    • Offers the ability to operate as a freelance professional
    • Identified as a sole practitioner
    • Enables practitioner to conduct business under birth name as oppose to a brand name


For more information or enquiriesContact our Team


Benefits of an onshore licence

Unlike other free zones, d3 allows on-shore companies to be licenced at d3 so that they can be part of the unique d3 community and benefit from all of the commercial, retail and lifestyle facilities available within the district.

Companies operating with an on-shore (DED) licence are 51% locally owned and allowed to operate in the mainland and inside the zone.

For more information or enquiriesContact our Team


Licencing and regulations

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the independent regulator in mainland Dubai for commercial licencing affairs. The DED and its agencies develop economic plans and policies, identify and support the growth of strategic sectors and provide services to domestic and international investors and businesses.

For more information on licence categories for Dubai Design District, download the PDF.

Where are the DCCA License details?

For more information on DCCA licence categoriesDownload PDF



Getting your licence is easy. All you have to do is apply on this website and our team of account managers and legal advisors will take you through the process step-by-step. We will help you correctly submit your documents, advise you on how to set up a bank account and help you find the perfect office space. This process can be completed within only a couple of weeks, which means you’re only a few conversations away from becoming part of the design community at d3.

Become a part of d3

Apply for a Freezone License

Start your business in Dubai

Apply for a DED License

Dubai Design District® is a member of TECOM Group.