MZA licensing

mza licensing

Proceeding from Abu Dhabi government's vision to strengthen the emirate as a content creation community, The Media Zone Authority was established by Abu Dhabi Decree Law No.12 of 2007. This establishes the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi as a free zone and empowers the Media Zone Authority.

The Authority has full independent and administrative capacity and is responsible for setting and implementing the regulations, policies and strategies for the operation of the free zone. These include issuing of Regulations governing the establishment and licensing of businesses within twofour54 and implementing and monitoring Codes of Practice governing business standards within twofour54  and specific standards in relation to the dissemination of content. twofour54 Abu Dhabi is the brand name of the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.

The MZA licensing team of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi oversees the incorporation and registration of companies within twofour54, as well as the licensing of their business and dissemination activities and carries out the following functions on behalf of the

Authority:

  1. Incorporation and registration of companies and branch offices
  2. Licensing of businesses
  3. Licensing Dissemination Activities
  4. Maintenance of Companies Register
  5. License renewals and amendments
  6. Ensuring consistent regulatory best practice across the zone

To find out more about how to register your company and obtain a licence from the Media Zone Authority
please click here

frequently asked questions:

1. What are the legal and regulatory benefits of setting up your business in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi (twofour54)?

The Media Zone –Abu Dhabi (or twofour54, its brand name) is a media focused free trade zone, offering attractive fiscal benefits for companies, 100% foreign ownership and an efficient and clear regulatory framework.

2. Which laws and regulations are applicable in the Media Zone (twofour54)?

All Federal laws of the UAE are applicable in the free zone except for the UAE Federal Company Law No. 8 of 1984.  There are also specific free zone regulations issued by the Media Zone Authority, the free zone’s regulatory and licensing body, which govern companies, licensing, employment and sponsorship. These regulations can be found at the links above.

3. How do I set up in the Media Zone (twofour54)?

The process is simple - please click to link to our “setting up at twofour54” guide 
There are three ways to set up in the free zone; you can either incorporate a free zone limited liability company (FZ-LLC), establish a branch of an already existing company or license as a freelancer (aka a sole proprietor).  To carry out business as an FZ-LLC or a branch you must also obtain a business license (and where relevant a dissemination license).

If you intend to license as freelancer (aka a sole proprietor) please click to our “freelancer licensing guide”.

4. What is the difference between an FZ-LLC and a branch?

An FZ-LLC is a separate legal entity incorporated in the Media Zone whereas a branch is a representation in the Media Zone of the principal company incorporated in another jurisdiction.

5. What are the regulatory requirements for incorporating an FZ-LLC in the Media zone (twofour54)?

  • SHAREHOLDER(S): You can incorporate your FZ-LLC with individual shareholder(s), corporate shareholders or a mixture of both individual and corporate shareholders. 
  • DIRECTORS/SECRETARY/GENERAL MANAGER: You must appoint at least two directors, a general manager and a company secretary; there are no restrictions on the same person fulfilling all of these roles within the company.
  • SHARE CAPITAL: There is no fixed minimum amount of paid up share capital and share capital can be in any currency.
  • REGISTERED OFFICE: An FZ-LLC must have a registered office within the Media Zone.

6. What are the regulatory requirements for establishing a branch in the Media Zone (twofour54)?

  • PRINCIPAL COMPANY: You must show that the principal company (either one incorporated in the United Arab Emirates or any other jurisdiction) has decided to set up a branch office in the Media Zone.
  • GENERAL MANAGER: The principal company must appoint a general manager of the branch.
  • REGISTERED OFFICE: A branch must have a registered office within the Media Zone

7. Are there any restrictions on FZ-LLC or branch names?

“Abu Dhabi” and/or “United Arab Emirates” cannot be used in the name of the FZ-LLC or branch.  We will inform you whether the name you intend to use has already been used in the Media Zone but you should also check whether the intended name has been registered with the Department of Economic Development. We can also provide you with some guidance on whether your intended name will be acceptable.

8. What is the role of the general manager of an FZ-LLC or branch?

The general manager is an employee of the FZ-LLC or branch empowered to manage the day to day operations and be the representative of the FZ-LLC or branch in all matters with the Media Zone Authority.  All non-GCC national general managers must be sponsored for a work permit and residence visa by the Media Zone Authority (regardless of whether they are already sponsored elsewhere in the UAE).

9. Why do I need a business trade license?

A company and branch cannot operate in twofour54 without obtaining a business trade license issued by the Media Zone Authority specifying the activities it will be licensed to carry out.  In order to be granted a business trade licence, you must have first either incorporated an FZ-LLC or established a branch in the Media Zone.

10. Do I also need a dissemination license?

A dissemination license is also required if you intend to publish a print book, print magazine, print newspaper or broadcast a satellite or terrestrial television channel or radio station.  Please ask your Business Development Manager for further details if you intend to undertake one of these activities.

11. What are the employment and sponsorship requirements for a business in the Media Zone (twofour54)?

  • EMPLOYEES: All non-GCC national employees of an FZ-LLC or branch office (including the general manager) must be sponsored for a work permit and residence visa by the Media Zone Authority in accordance with the Employment and Sponsorship Regulations (regardless of whether they are already sponsored elsewhere in the UAE).
  • DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS: It is only necessary for directors or shareholders to be sponsored by the Media Zone Authority if they are employees of the FZ-LLC or branch.
  • LICENSED FREELANCERS (AKA SOLE PROPRIETORS): All non-GCC national licensed freelancers must be sponsored for a work permit and residence visa by the Media Zone Authority (regardless of whether they are already sponsored elsewhere in the UAE).

Visa and government services queries are handled by twofour54 tawasol.

current regulations governing business within the Zone