UAE Free Zones, Locations, Type Of Ownerships & Other Details

Setting up a company in a Free Zone in the UAE, can be an attractive option for investors. Foreign Investors can have:

  • 100% ownership of the enterprise
  • Complete exemption of taxes from customs & commercial levies
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No corporate taxes for 15 years
  • No personal income taxes
  • Quick procedure for the registration of the license

An independent Free Zone Authority governs each free zone and is responsible for the issuing of the licenses. Each Free Zone has its specific requirements; generally steps involved are the following:

  • Application Form from the particular Free Zone Authority
  • Passport copy of the Partners / or COI in case of Branch
  • Business Plan. Usually, each free zone provide its template
  • Lease Agreement (most of the Free Zones have options for flexi desk, furnished office spaces and core & shell offices)

Depending on the sector, some free zones are more dedicated to small and medium enterprises and gather similar kind of businesses (technology, industry, media, energy, etc.).

In Dubai, the major zones for SMEs are Jebel Ali, Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Airport Free Zone, etc.

In Abu Dhabi, there is Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone, TwoFour54, Kizad and Masdar City.

In Ras Al Khaimah, there is RAK Free Zone.

The Establishment Company (FZE) suits an individual, when the Company has only one shareholder. The Free Zone Company (FZC, FZCO, FZ-LLC) suits a minimum of 2 to maximum of five shareholders.

It is important to remember that companies with trade and industrial licenses can only conduct business within the Free Zone or abroad. To sell products in the UAE other than free zone area, the company will need an official Agent.

That’s why, before setting up a Free Zone Company, it’s necessary to take time to evaluate if a Free Zone license will be the appropriate option for your activity, and decide where to incorporate the company. Besides, each free zone has its own requirements and specifications, and unless one is fully aware of these, an applicant will end up spending a lot more time in legwork than is necessary. It is always suggestible to demand the support of an agent to give all the crucial information, and process the required documents and steps.