Getting started with Azure Active Directory Premium

Updated: September 11, 2015

Applies To: Azure


Please bear with us as we migrate this and other content to the Microsoft Azure website. This topic is no longer being updated and might become out of date. Please bookmark the updated Azure article on this subject, What is Microsoft Azure Active Directory licensing?.

Azure Active Directory comes in three editions: Free, Basic, and Premium. The Free edition is included with an Azure or Office 365 subscription. The Basic and Premium editions are available through a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement or the Open Volume License program. Azure and Office 365 subscribers can also buy Active Directory Premium online. Sign in here to buy it.


Azure Active Directory Premium and Basic editions are available for customers in China using the worldwide instance of Azure Active Directory. Azure Active Directory Premium and Basic editions are not currently supported in the Windows Azure service operated by 21Vianet in China. For more information, contact us at the Azure Active Directory Forum.

Azure Active Directory Premium is also included in the Enterprise Mobility Suite. Enterprise Mobility Suite is a cost effective way for organizations to use Microsoft Intune, Azure Rights Management and the Active Directory Premium services together under one licensing plan. For more information, see the Enterprise Mobility Suite web site.

To start using Azure Active Directory Premium features today, follow the steps below. The same steps apply to the Azure Active Directory Basic edition.

Step 1: Sign up for Active Directory Premium

To sign up, see the Volume Licensing web site.

Step 2: Activate your license plan

If this is the first time you have purchased a license plan through Microsoft’s Enterprise Volume Licensing program, you will need to first activate your license plan before you can start assigning licenses from within your Azure Active Directory directory. To do this, you must click on either the Sign In or Sign Up link found in the confirmation email (see below) you will receive after your very first license plan purchase has been completed. On any subsequent purchase for this directory the licenses will automatically be activated in the same directory.


If you have an existing tenant, select the Sign In link to sign in with your existing administrator account. It’s important that you sign in with the global administrator credentials from the directory where the licenses must be activated.

If you want to create a new Azure Active Directory tenant to use with your licensing plan then you should select the Sign Up link which will take you to the following screen.

Account profile

Once you are done with either the sign up process or the sign in process that was initiated from the email, you will see the following screen confirming that the license plan is being activated for your tenant.


Step 3: Activate your Azure Active Directory access

Once the licenses are provisioned to your directory you will be receive a Welcome email (see below) that confirms you can start managing your Azure Active Directory Premium or Enterprise Mobility Suite licenses and features. If you have used Microsoft Azure before, you can proceed to to assign the new licenses (see Step 4 below for further instructions). If you are new to Microsoft Azure, selecting the Sign In link on the email, or going to the Access to Azure Active Directory activation page will take you through a series of steps to help you access your directory through the Azure Management Portal.

Azure AD Email

Once you have signed in successfully, you will need to complete a 2nd factor authentication screen (below) by providing a mobile phone number and validating it. After this you will be able to activate your access to Azure Active Directory by selecting Sign Up.

Sign Up

The activation may take a few minutes, as illustrated below, once your access is active the brown bar will disappear and you will be able to click the Portal link in the top right corner or navigate to to access the Azure Active Directory management portal.


In this case, your Azure access will be limited to Azure Active Directory.


You may already have had access to Azure from prior usage; in addition, you can upgrade your Access Azure Active Directory to full Azure access by activating additional Azure subscriptions. In these cases the Azure Management portal will have more capabilities as in the following.


If you attempt to activate your access to Azure Active Directory prior to receiving the Welcome email above you may experience the following error message. Please try again in a few minutes once you have received the email.

Sign Up

New administrators in your subscription can also activate their access to the Azure Active Directory management portal through this link.

Step 4: Assign licenses to user accounts

Before you can start using the plan you purchased, you’ll need to manually assign licenses to user accounts within your organization so that they can use the rich features provided with Premium. Use the following steps to assign licenses to users so they can use Azure Active Directory Premium features.

To assign licenses to users

  1. Sign into the Azure Management Portal as the global administrator of the directory you wish to customize.

  2. Click Active Directory, and then select the directory where you want to assign licenses.

  3. Select the Licenses tab, select Active Directory Premium or Enterprise Mobility Suite, and then click Assign.

    Contoso license plans

  4. In the dialog box, select the users you want to assign licenses to, and then click the check mark icon to save the changes.

    Assign licenses

License restrictions

Some license plans are subsets or supersets of other license plans. In most cases, a user cannot be assigned a license plan that has already been assigned to them. If it’s your intention to assign a license plan that is a superset, you’ll need to first remove the subset license plan.

License requirements

When you assign a license to a user, you can specify a primary usage location in the properties of their account as shown below. If a usage location is not specified, the tenant’s location is automatically assigned to the user.

Usage location

The availability of services and features for a Microsoft cloud service varies by country or region. A service, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), may be available in one country or region, and not available in another. Features within a service can be restricted for legal reasons in certain countries or regions. To see if a service or feature is available with or without restrictions, look for your country or region on the service’s license restrictions site.

See Also


Azure Active Directory editions

Other Resources

Azure Active Directory Service Description
Azure AD Pricing Details