UAE Free Zones

What are the Free Zones in UAE?

Free Trade Zones are the special designated zones in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that are 100% tax free with custom and imports benefits. Moreover, these zones are independent working authorities with their own rules and regulations. However, there are many UAE free zones which are situated across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah(RAK), Fujairah and Umm al Quwain. Since each free zone in the UAE is established to serve specific types of business categories.

Best UAE Free Zones
Best UAE Free Zones

Thus, all those business investors looking for full ownership can select a license and location in one of the several free zones in the UAE. As the UAE free zones are created to encourage foreign investors with easier business start-up process, immigration and hiring employee’s procedures. However, each free zone has its own conditions and work under its own authority.

What are the different types of free zones available in the United Arab Emirates?

Since each free zone provide business license to investors within specific categories. Moreover, an independent authority governs each free zone and is thus responsible for issuing “Free Trade Zone” operating licenses and also support companies with establishing their business in the FTZ.

Some of the special benefits of the best UAE free zones are:

  • 100% foreign ownership in the business license
  • 100% tax free import and export
  • Full repatriation of capital and profits
  • Corporate tax exemption for up to 50 years
  • No personal income taxes

Full support with labour recruitment, such as sponsorship and housing.

Also a new company license can be registered by an investor in the form of a Free Zone Establishment (FZE), a branch or representative office of their existing parent company within the UAE or abroad.

What is FZE?

It is a limited liability company governed by the rules and regulations of the free zone in which it is established. Moreover, the provisions of the commercial companies law do not apply to the FZEs.  Free Zones as per Emirate (State) in the UAE  As of now, there are more than 45 Free Zones in the UAE. Below are the free zone authorities as per emirate/state in the UAE:

Free Zones as per Emirate (State) in the UAE

  • ADAFZ-Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone
  • Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM)
  • Khalifa and Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
  • Twofour54
  • Industrial City of Abu Dhabi
  • Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones
  • Masdar City Free Zone
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
  • DAZ-Dubai Auto Zone
  • Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DCAZ)
  • Dubai Design District (D3)
  • DFC-Dubai Flower Centre
  • Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
  • Dubai Healthcare City
  • DIC-Dubai Industrial City
  • Dubai International Academic City
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
  • DIC-Dubai Internet City
  • Dubai Knowledge Park
  • Dubai Logistics City
  • DMCA-Dubai Maritime City Authority
  • Dubai Media City (DMC)
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
  • DOZ-Dubai Outsource Zone
  • Dubai Science Park
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis-DSOA
  • DSC-Dubai Studio City
  • Dubai Techno Park
  • Dubai Textile City
  • Energy and Environment Park
  • International Humanitarian City
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority-JAFZA
  • Jumeirah Lakes Towers Free Zone
  • Dubai Production City
  • Dubai World Central Free Zone-Dubai.
  • Hamriya Free Zone
  • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
  • U.S.A Regional Trade Centre (USARTC) Free Zone
  • Sharjah Media City-SHAMS
  1. AFZA-Ajman Free Zone Authority
  2. Ajman Media City Free Zone
  1. RAK Investment Authority Free Zone
  2. Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone
  3. RAK Media Free Zone
  4. Rak Maritime City
  • Fujairah Free Zone
  • Creative City Fujairah
  • International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone

The capital investment requirements also vary depending on the type of business activity and the governing free zone authority in the UAE.

 

Mostly free zone need minimum paperwork and time. However, below are some of the initial basic steps to set-up business license in the UAE Free Zone.

 

  • Choose a trade name
  • Apply for a free zone business license, thereafter
  • Select an office space also as per requirement
  • Upon pre-approval, register your business and then receive your business license
  • It is important to note that, there are mainly two types of legal entities in the UAE Free Zones.
  • Free Zone Company-FZCO or Free Zone Limited Liability Company-FZ LLC
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

It is important to note that, there are mainly two types of legal entities in the

As the capital requirement may vary depending on the free zone, below are some of them:

  • There is no minimum capital requirement for twofour54 free zone business license as of now
  • On the other hand, KIZAD offer a free zone LLC license with a minimum paid-up capital of AED 150,000
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone also provide FZ Co with a minimum share capital of AED 100,000. However, each share should be in the value of AED 1000
  • Additionally, the minimum share capital for DMCC free zone license is AED 50,000 with AED 10,000 per shareholder
  • Also one can setup a FZE license with a share capital of AED 150,000 in Hamriya Free Zone
  • Free Zone Company-FZCO or Free Zone Limited Liability Company-FZ LLC
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
  • Commercial Trade License
  • Consultancy License
  • Warehousing & Distribution
  • Manufacturing and Industrial
  • Educational and Media
  • e-Commerce
    Offshore License or a Freelancer

Types Of Business Activities In The Free Zones

  • Advertising
  • Animation
  • Film Production
  • Gaming development
  • Content Production
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Software development
  • TV production
  • Web design and development
  • Mobile media
  • Music production and recording
  • Music videos
  • Digital Content
  • Production
  • Educational content material
  • Photography/video making
  • Print content production
  • Radio content production
  • Script writing
  • Electronic content production
  • Performing arts and theatre
  • Some other types of business:
  • Branding agency
  • Post Production
  • Professional association
  • Public relations
  • Events/Festivals
  • Marketing communications
  • Media content management
  • Exhibitions and conferences
  • Information services
  • Training (media related)
  • Book, Magazine and Newspaper
  • Broadcast a satellite television channel or broadcast a satellite radio channel


Similarly you can select from more than 600 business activities ranging from over 20 sectors such as energy, commodities, gold and diamonds, technology, FMCG, constructions, healthcare, aviation, shipping, education, media, professional services, financial services, personal as well as community services in Dubai multi commodity centre. On the other side, you can also conduct financial and non-financial businesses in DIFC. Financial business also includes banks, insurance, wealth management and capital markets. Whereas non-financial businesses are such as shops, restaurants five star hotels, art galleries as well as academic institutions.

Firstly, there are mainly two options to get office space, either buy or rent. Therefore, office requirements depend on the number of employees and type of business activity of the company.

For instance, in DMCC you have the following options:

  • Flexi desk with 20-30 sq.m area
  • Flexi desk with 200-265 sq.m area
  • Offices with 2000 sq. m area
    Additionally, Dubai
  • Airport free zone also offer following office options:
  • Office package
  • Smart desk office
  • Executive office
    On the other side, Hamriya free zone offer and serve over 100 executive offices ranging in size from 15 square meter to 42 square meter with conferencing as well as internet facilities.

Firstly, the UAE free zones have their own rules and the companies registered in these free zones are bound to follow these rules and regulations. Subsequently, the documents requirement varies on the type of business activity, company and the UAE free zone authority.

 

Initial Approval:
  • Complete and sign application form
  • Current Business plan
  • Copy of existing trade license registration certificate if any
  • Also Colour passport copies of the company’s shareholder/s and including appointed manager
  • Specimen signature of the company’s shareholder/s
  • NOC from the current sponsor/employer in UAE
  • Letter of intent
Documents requirement for freelancers:
  • Application for registration CV
  • Bank reference letter
Licensing and visa process
  • Lease agreement will also be provided by the free zone authority
  • Next trade license will be issued and
  • Then Investor Residence visa will start
Abu Dhabi Free Zones
  • Free Trade Zone of khalifa port
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Airport Free Zone
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone
Dubai Free Zones
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