Beyond free zones: Dubai to issue Virtual Company Licences that don't require residency
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

Beyond free zones: Dubai to issue Virtual Company Licences that don't require residency

Dubai, as well as the UAE, have been introducing a number of initiatives and reforms to fees and structures that will strengthen the economy as we move forward.

Businesses as well as freelancers across the world, in 101 countries will now be able to get a ‘Virtual Company Licence’ in Dubai through which they will be able to conduct business digitally, without requiring a residency.

The announcement from His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, marked the launch of the region's first 'Virtual Company Licence’.

The move is in line with the third article of the 50-Year Charter of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, which aims to build a ‘Virtual Commercial City’ in Dubai.

The virtual licence will be available to businesses in three main categories — creative industries, technology and services — and allow businesses to operate in accordance with the highest international legal standards.

“Virtual Company Licence owners can manage all their business-related activities, including document signing and submission digitally, and the signatures are legally binding in the UAE.”

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, said, “The Virtual Company Licence is a testament to our commitment to eliminating barriers for the private sector, which is a strategic partner in sustainable development. The public and private sectors are integral to Dubai’s diversified economy and the Virtual Commercial City will further strengthen public-private partnerships in enhancing Dubai’s profile as a global business and investment destination.”

“The initiative is expected to attract more than 100,000 companies and offer new opportunities for innovators and local companies, accelerating economic activity and the knowledge economy in Dubai,” as per the statement.

Application and eligibility

Business owners, investors as well as freelancers from 101 countries will be able to apply for the Virtual Company Licence through its website: as well as through VFS Global offices across 11 locations in the world.

The programme only allows verified non-resident individuals to register a company. Moreover, they have to be the nationals or tax residents of countries that have implemented the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and share tax information about their citizens and residents.

The Virtual Company Licence is a great opportunity for companies as well as individuals across the world to take part in the Dubai economy, while exploring the world. The licence gives stands true to the changing trends of working from across the globe. In addition to reducing costs of residency, it could also allow expats to move back home while still continuing their business and careers in Dubai, as they go freelance. Moreover, it will also benefit international investors who want to partake in the growing economy without needing to set up offices in the country.