UAE has become a global trading center where people from around the world converge for the purpose of trading. The free zone company formation is a major factor that has contributed to its rapid economic growth. The flexibility of laws regulating the establishment and running of businesses in Dubai free zones has made it a sought-after market.
The UAE free zones are not regulated by the commercial laws established by the Ministry of Commerce to regulate the trading activities of mainland companies. The free zones offer foreign investors and entrepreneur’s 100% business ownership freedom in addition to a tax-free and free custom duty charges. This list of benefits free zone provides has made it an ideal destination for international companies to operate. To open a company in Dubai free zone, local partners or local service agents are not required.
What is Free Zone
The Free zone meaning or Definition may differ according to the type of Free zone, but in general, it is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured, or reconfigured, and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to customs duty.
Free zones are separate entities and not governed by the UAE labor law, the companies under the free zone areas have their own set of rules and regulations, and similar to the offshore companies, no need for a local sponsor to open a free zone company and the company can be 100% owned by non-UAE or GCC nationalities.
Free zones in UAE
UAE boasts of more than 40 free zones with more under construction. The Free Zone company formation in UAE might come as a tricky one as there are several options of free zones to pick from. With our knowledge and experience in business setup, we will assist you in narrowing down to the appropriate free zone suitable for your business and help you set up your free zone company in no time. The major free zones in UAE are:
Dubai Free Zones
Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)
JAFZA, the trade catalyst, has evolved into a unique trade ecosystem that reduces cost, while enabling new opportunities for growth, Today, JAFZA is a dynamic base for thousands of businesses, from over 100 countries, sustaining over 135,000 jobs and attracting more than 20% of the UAE’s foreign direct investment; all the while exceeding 50% of Dubai’s total exports, with a phenomenal value for trade of $69 billion.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)
Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP)
Established in 2003 as part of TECOM Group, Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP) aims to develop the region’s talent pool and establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy. DKP is a unique hub that offers the best selection of programs in Human Resource Management (HRM), Consultancy, Training, and Personal Development. Students receive diplomas and certificates of the highest caliber from DKP’s top-class Business Partners.
Dubai Knowledge Park provides flexible solutions with support from its innovative customer service team. With their assistance, DKP business partners have set up training centers, institutes, and HR agencies to sustain and secure their market share in this booming sector.
Dubai Internet City (DIC)
Dubai Media City (DMC)
Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA)
Dubai Healthcare City – Regulatory (DHCR)
Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory (DHCR) is an independent regulatory arm of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA). The DHCA is the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) – a health and wellness destination in the world’s largest healthcare free zone.
DHCR regulates the free zone and reports directly to the DHCA Board. It is responsible for ensuring compliance and enforcement of international quality standards for clinical and non-clinical facilities. It also oversees the licensing of all healthcare professionals, educators and operators, and the setting and maintenance of international best healthcare practices within DHCC.
International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
IFZA is set to quickly become a leading investment hub within the thriving UAE economy, offering a highly customized approach, coupled with efficient international service standards and cost-effective solutions. With IFZA, it is truly all about the customer and their journey to business success.
Abu Dhabi Free Zones
Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
Masdar City Free Zone (MASDAR)
Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone is the new global business address for the world, providing its customers with numerous products within a Free Zone environment. Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone offers its customers the full spectrum of Free Zone services, including company registration, licensing, leasing, rapid visa processing for employees, and many other high-quality services within a One Stop Shop environment.
Media Zone Authority (Twofour54)
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
Abu Dhabi Global Market is a broad-based international financial center for local, regional and international institutions, established in accordance with the Federal Law No (8) of 2004, Federal Decree No (15) of 2013, Cabinet Resolution No (4) of 2013, and Abu Dhabi Law No (4) of 2013.
ADGM’s three independent authorities – the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts – ensure that our business-friendly environment operates in line with international best practices that are recognized by major financial centers across the world.
Sharjah Free Zones
Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (Saif Zone)
Sharjah Media City (Shams)
Sharjah Media City (Shams) was launched in January 2017 to act as a catalyst for creative and media businesses to grow and thrive. Aiming to be a world-class media hub for innovative facilities and services, Shams covers a wide range of business activities available for those wishing to embark on their entrepreneurial journey in the UAE.
Hamriyah Free Zone (HFZA)
Hamriyah Free Zone, UAE’s second largest industrial free zone is spread across approx. 26 million square meters. Established on November 12, 1995, by Emiri Decree No. 6 of 1995, it is home to over 6,500 businesses from 163 countries. In addition to world-class facilities including offices, warehouses, factories, and executive office suites, Hamriyah Free Zone also has over 15 on-site key business services, like banking and auditing firms, currency exchanges, conference rooms, staff accommodation, and more.
Ajman Free Zones
Ajman Free Zone (AFZ)
Established in 1988, Ajman Free Zone (AFZ) offers outstanding investment opportunities to both local and foreign businessmen and investors. We provide progressive infrastructure and top-of-the-line facilities to foster competitive privileges allowing companies to realize their full potentials.
Ajman Free Zone has revolutionized the business sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through its immense initiative in Ajman industrial expansions.
RAK Free Zones
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
Based in the heart of Ras Al Khaimah, we were established in 2017 to oversee and consolidate the specialized zones and clients of the two fast-growing free zones in the UAE: RAK Free Trade Zone and RAK Investment Authority. We are one of the leading investment hubs in the UAE that offers customizable solutions to free zone and non-free zone businesses. From freelancers and startups to SMEs and industrialists, our multinational community is flourishing in over 50 industries.
Fujairah Free Zones
Creative City Fujairah
Umm Al Quwain Free Zones
Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone Authority (UAQ FTZ)
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How to Start a Business in a Free Zone?
Free zone company setup in Dubai isn’t quite as daunting as the mainland company setup. Companies can be registered as Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Free Zone Company (FZC) and representative or branch office in Dubai free zone. The representative or branch office may have their main company outside or within UAE. The FZE and FZC are limited liability companies and their activities in the free zone are regulated by the independent Free Zone Authority (FZA) which are also responsible for issuing licenses. Depending on the free zone location and the category of commercial business carried out, the type of licenses issued varies from one to another. Free zone company formation in Dubai requires following due laid down processes by the FZA.
The following processes are the stages involved in the setup of a free zone company: