WHO WE ARE

The Media Zone – Abu Dhabi is one of the fastest growing media markets in the world, and the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (the Authority) is committed to the continued development of the media industry in Abu Dhabi:   


MISSION: Facilitate the growth and development of the Abu Dhabi media industry through the implementation of conducive, transparent, consistent and effective regulations, and strategic media initiatives, which in turn positively contributes to Abu Dhabi’s GDP. 


VISION: A thriving world-class media industry that contributes significantly to the achievement of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s economic, social, and cultural objectives. 


The Authority, established by Abu Dhabi Decree Law No. 12 of 2007, is the regulatory body of the free zone, Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.


The Authority is ISO 9001:2008 certified. ISO 9001:2008 is an internationally recognized set of standards for quality management systems developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization. Being ISO 9001:2008 certified means that the Authority maintains an excellent level of quality and satisfaction, ensuring that it meets the needs of its customers.  

  • BOARD OF DIRECTORS
  • MZA INITIATIVES
    While the Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi is giving its greatest attention to develop the Abu Dhabi's media industry and the human capital that will lead it in the future, the Authority is also focused on developing a number of initiatives and supporting businesses that contribute to its strategic goals which benefit the media sector and develop its human resources.

what we do

 
The Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (the Authority) is responsible for overseeing all regulatory and licensing aspects of the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, which includes developing and ensuring compliance with the Authority’s regulations, codes and policies and procedures; registering and licensing companies, branches and sole proprietors (freelancers); and providing content-related guidance to its licensees. The Authority offers the following services in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi: 
 
  • Developing and maintaining the Media Zone’s regulations, codes and policies;
  • Incorporating and registering companies and branches;
  • Licensing companies, branches and freelancers;
  • Maintaining records of all registered companies, branches and freelancers;
  • Providing ongoing services such as facilitating changes to shareholders, directors and general managers and issuing certified copies, extracts of the Authority’s register and certificates of good standing;
  • Dissolving companies and closing branches;
  • Providing content-related guidance; and
  • Implementing mechanisms to ensure compliance with the Media Zone regulations and codes.
  • FAQs
      • What are the benefits of setting up a business in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?

        The Media Zone – Abu Dhabi is a media focused free trade zone in one of the fastest growing media markets in the world. The Media Zone offers: 

        • attractive fiscal benefits for companies, such as affordable and highly competitive costs for setting up;
        • 100% foreign ownership;
        • a simple and clear process for establishing an entity;   
        • an established, transparent and clear legal and regulatory framework, which follows international and regional industry best practices;
        • a burgeoning and thriving portfolio of leading international and regional media and entertainment entities; and
        • a sizeable portfolio of sole proprietors (freelancers) specializing in media and entertainment skills.  
      • Which laws and regulations are applicable in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?

        All federal laws of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are applicable in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi except for UAE Federal Law No.2 of 2015 concerning commercial companies.

        The Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi maintains its own legal and regulatory framework which applies within the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. This framework, which can be found here, governs companies, branches and sole proprietors (freelancers) operating from the Media Zone. 

      • How do I ‘set up’ in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?

        There are three ways to join the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, each with a simple and clear process for setting up:

        • incorporate a free zone limited liability company (FZ-LLC);
        • establish a branch of an already existing company; or 
        • license as a sole proprietor (freelancer).

        In order to operate from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, an entity (FZ-LLC or branch) and/or sole proprietor (freelancer) must hold a valid business license issued by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi.

        If an entity (FZ-LLC or branch) intends on carrying out a dissemination activity (such as publishing a print book, magazine, newspaper or broadcasting a satellite or terrestrial television channel or radio station) from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, the entity must also hold a valid dissemination license issued by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi. 

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

        An FZ-LLC is a legal entity incorporated in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. A branch is a representation in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi of the principal company, which is incorporated in another jurisdiction, and is a legally dependent part of the principal company. 

      • What are the regulatory requirements for incorporating an FZ-LLC in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?
        • SHAREHOLDER(S): An FZ-LLC can be incorporated with individual shareholder(s), corporate shareholders or a mixture of both individual and corporate shareholders;
        • DIRECTORS/SECRETARY/GENERAL MANAGER: An FZ-LLC must appoint at least two directors, one general manager and one company secretary (there are no restrictions on the same person fulfilling all these roles within the company). The general manager of the company must be sponsored by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi at all times (unless the general manager is a GCC national);
        • 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 – Abu Dhabi at all times.
      • What are the regulatory requirements for establishing a branch in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?
        • PRINCIPAL COMPANY:  The principal company (either one incorporated in the United Arab Emirates or any other jurisdiction) must provide evidence that it has decided to set up a branch office in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. 
        • GENERAL MANAGER: The principal company must appoint a general manager of the branch. The general manager of the branch must be sponsored by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi at all times (unless the general manager is a GCC national); and
        • REGISTERED OFFICE: A branch must have a registered office within the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi at all times.
      • Are there any restrictions on FZ-LLC or branch names?
        During the application process, the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) team will provide guidance to entities on whether the proposed entity name will be acceptable. The entity should consider whether the proposed name is the same or similar to one already registered with any of the Departments of Economic Development within the UAE, and the MZA team will confirm whether the proposed name is the same or similar to one already registered in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.
        The proposed name cannot include “Abu Dhabi” and/or “United Arab Emirates” in it and cannot give the impression that the entity is connected with a government or government authority.  
      • What is the role of the general manager of a FZ-LLC or branch?

        The general manager is an employee of the FZ-LLC or branch and must be empowered to manage the day to day operations and be the primary representative of the FZ-LLC or branch in all matters with the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi.

        All non-GCC national general managers must be sponsored (i.e. UAE employment and residency visa) by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi at all times regardless of whether the individual has been sponsored elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.

      • Why is every entity (FZ-LLC and branch) and sole proprietor (freelancer) required to have a business license?

        Every entity (FZ-LLC and branch) and sole proprietor (freelancer) is required to have a business license issued by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi in order to operate from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.

        In order to be granted a business license, the entity must have first incorporated a FZ-LLC or established a branch in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi and the freelancer must have first properly applied for a sole proprietor business license.

        The business license will specify the activities the entity and/or freelancer may carry out from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. 

         

      • When does an entity (FZ-LLC or branch) need a dissemination license?
        A dissemination license is required if an entity (FZ-LLC or branch) intends on carrying out a dissemination activity from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. A dissemination activity includes activities such as publishing a print book, print magazine, print newspaper or broadcasting a satellite or terrestrial television channel or radio station. Please contact our regulatory team at the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi if you intend on carrying out a dissemination activity from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.
      • What are the employment and sponsorship requirements for an entity (FZ-LLC and branch) in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi?
        • EMPLOYEES: All non-GCC national employees of an FZ-LLC or branch (including the general manager) must be sponsored for a work permit and residence visa by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi in accordance with the Employment and Sponsorship Regulations 2011, regardless of whether the individual is already sponsored elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.
        • DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS: Directors and shareholders only need to be sponsored by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi if they are employees of the FZ-LLC or branch. 
        • LICENSED SOLE PROPRIETORS (FREELANCERS): All non-GCC national licensed freelancers must be sponsored for an employment and residence visa by the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, regardless of whether they have been sponsored elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.
        The government and travel services department of twofour54 FZ-LLC provides all the administrative and logistical support for employment and residency visas and all other government services that entities and freelancers may require. 

REGULATIONS

The Media Zone Authority- Abu Dhabi (the Authority) continually strives to ensure that a vibrant and successful media industry develops in Abu Dhabi and the region. As part of this goal, the Authority maintains a legal and regulatory framework of regulations, codes, policies & procedures and guidance notes which apply to all entities and individuals working within the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. The legal and regulatory framework in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi reflects best industry practice both locally and internationally and supports the growth of the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.

LICENSING

The Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (the Authority) is responsible for managing all entities (FZ-LLC and branches) and sole proprietors (freelancers) in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. The Authority provides the following licensing services to potential and existing companies and individuals in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi: 

  • Incorporating and registering FZ-LLCs and branches;
  • Licensing and renewal of FZ-LLCs, branches and freelancers;
  • Providing ongoing services such as facilitating changes to shareholders, directors and general managers and issuing certified copies, extracts of the Authority’s register and certificates of good standing; and
  • Dissolving FZ-LLCs and closing branches.
  • SETTING UP
    There are three ways to set up in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, each with a simple and clear process for setting up:
    • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC): incorporation of a legal entity in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi;
    • Branch: establishment of a branch in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi that is a legally dependent part of its principal company, a company which is incorporated in another jurisdiction (UAE or foreign); or 
    • Sole Proprietor (Freelancer): licensing of an individual to work in his/her personal capacity from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi as a media professional.
  • HOW TO APPLY
    FREE ZONE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (FZ-LLC)

    1. Fill in Form CR 4: Application to Incorporate a Company
    • Form CR 4:  In the Form CR 4, you will need to provide information such as the proposed name of the company, the share capital, names and shareholding of each shareholder, two directors and company secretary.
    • Supporting Documentation:  You will need to submit all required supporting documentation detailed in the checklist at the end of the Form CR 4. 
    • Registration Fee:  You must pay the registration fee and any bank transfer charges (if any).  
     
    2. Fill in Form LR 5: Application for a Business License  
    • Form LR 5:  In the Form LR 5, you will need to provide information such as the name of the proposed general manager, the business activities your company intends on carrying out from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi and indicate whether you intend on disseminating (publishing or broadcasting) information from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.  
      • If you intend on conducting a dissemination activity, you will need to fill in Form DL 2: Application for a Dissemination License and supply all required supporting documentation. . 
    • Supporting Documentation:  You will need to submit all required supporting documentation detailed in the checklist at the end of the Form LR 5. 
    • Licensing Fee:  You must pay the business licensing fee. 

    BRANCH

    1. Fill in Form CR 6: Application to Establish a Branch
    • Form CR 6:  In the Form CR 6, you will need to provide information such as the details of the principal company, including the shareholders and directors of the principal company and the authorized signatory of the principal company.
    • Supporting Documentation:  You will need to submit all required supporting documentation detailed in the checklist at the end of the Form CR 6.  
    • Registration Fee:  You must pay the registration fee and any bank transfer charges (if any).
     
    2. Fill in Form LR 5: Application for a Business License 
    • Form LR 5:  In the Form LR 5, you will need to provide information such as the name of the proposed general manager, the business activities your branch intends on carrying out from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi and indicate whether you intend on disseminating (publishing or broadcasting) information from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. 
      • If you intend on conducting a dissemination activity, you will need to fill in Form DL 2: Application for a Dissemination License and supply all required supporting documentation. 
    • Supporting Documentation:  You will need to submit all required supporting documentation detailed in the checklist at the end of the Form LR 5. 
    • Licensing Fee:  You must pay the business licensing fee.

    SOLE PROPRIETORS (FREELANCERS)

    1. Fill in Form LR 5A: Application for a Sole Proprietor Business Trade License
    • Form LR 5A: In the Form LR 5A, you will need to provide your personal information, the requested duration (three (3), six (6) or twelve (12) months) of your business license, your CV, the business activities you intend on carrying out from the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi, job references for those business activities and either a business plan or letter(s) of intent from entities in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi.   
    • Supporting Documentation:  You will need to submit all required supporting documentation detailed in the checklist at the end of the Form LR 5A.
    • Licensing Fee: You must pay the business licensing fee. 


    SERVICES FOR EXISTING ENTITIES
     
    For all of our existing entities, the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (the Authority) provides ongoing support and services, which include: 
    •  Processing business license renewals and variations to business licenses; 
    •  Facilitating the filing of annual returns and corporate accounts;
    •  Facilitating changes to the issue or transfer of shares and alterations to the articles of association;
    •  Facilitating changes to shareholders, directors, general manager, company secretary and an entity’s name; 
    •  Reviewing content for compliance with the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi Content Code; 
    •  Issuing certified copies, extracts of the Authority’s register and certificates of good standing; and
    •  Facilitating the liquidation of a FZ-LLC and closure of a branch. 

    Once you have decided on the type of entity you wish to set up, you will need to work with the relevant twofour54 FZ-LLC commercial teams to agree an appropriate space to fulfill your needs. Obtaining a leased space is not a requirement if you are setting up as a sole proprietor (freelancer). 

    PLEASE CONTACT OUR REGULATORY TEAM WHO CAN ASSIST YOU WITH ALL OF YOUR ONGOING REQUIREMENTS: regulatoryaffairs@mzaabudhabi.ae or +971 2 401 2454
  • FEES & FORMS

    COMING SOON!

     

    In 2016, the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi will upload its forms and fees to the website.

     

    In the meantime, please contact our team who can provide you with the forms you require and any questions you have regarding our fees: regulatoryaffairs@mzaabudhabi.ae  or +971 2 401 2454

     

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