UAE Free Zone Company Set Up – What You Need To Know

Setting up a business entity in one of the United Arab Emirate’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) may be an engrossing alternative for foreign investors. For investors who are considering to physically moving (part of) their business to the UAE, a Free Zone Company is the obvious choice. Free zone companies also meet the growing necessity in international tax planning of having necessary substance. This is often impossible to deliver from the traditional offshore jurisdictions since they typically only offer an IBC regime.

Advantages of setting up a UAE Free Zone Company

  • 100% foreign ownership is allowed
  • Renting of offices and flexi desks
  • Obtaining residence visas
  • No tax
  • Access to Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements
  • Import of goods duty free, provided the goods are not supplied to the local market
  • Streamlined procedures: all formalities are typically dealt with through the free zone authorities instead of the various government departments
  • No restrictions on hiring expatriates

Forms of Free Zone Firms

  • Branch Office (associate of an already existing mother firm in UAE or overseas)
  • Free Zone Establishment = FZE (one partner – which may be individual or a legit entity)
  • Free Zone Company = FZCO, FZC, FZ-LLC (a minimum of 2 partners or shareholders)
  • Offshore Firm (requires a registered agent, businesses are not permitted to run inside UAE, the number of permitted activities is stringently monitored)

Each of the free zones possesses their own free zone power. These refer to the money-making entities; their main reference of income is frequently coming from gathering license fees, leasing office space and rendering services to the firms running in the free zone. All of them share the features guided below but vary along:

  • Focal point of the free zone; usually enticing businesses from a specific sector even though there’s remarkable flexibility
  • Office lease, lease or rents outside Dubai are extremely low
  • There’s a minimum office space required
  • There are support facilities granted by the free zone
  • Yearly license fees
  • There are paperwork required in establishing the business
  • Investment or capital requirement
  • The number of visas allotted per square meter of office space

What are the Factors required in order to be considered when selecting a Free Zone

  • Distance from intercontinental air and seaports
  • Facilities and infrastructure provided at the free zone
  • Real estate alternatives
  • Kinds of activities permitted by the respective free zone authority and outside the zone
  • Yearly rent for office space and the size of office units
  • Lowest amount of investment or capital required; registration, trade license fees as well as the processing time of application

What are the choices for a UAE Free Zone Company?

There are numerous (30+) options across all Emirates for free zones and we can provide services across most of them. The most popular we recommend to our clients are:

  • DWC – Dubai World Central – Dubai
  • DMCC – Dubai Multi Commodity Centre at JLT areas
  • Dubai Design District
  • Fujeirah Creative City – Fujeirah Emirate
  • Ajman Freezone – Ajman Emirate

How can we help

Zola Group offers holistic corporate services to local and global business clients. Our most popular comprehensive services include company setup, incorporation, residency and banking services. Contact our professional corporate services consultants via phone or email to inquire about how we can help you achieve success in this region's most rewarding emerging market.