Business Setup In UAE Free Zone

Free Zones are one-of-a-kind business establishment areas, allocated for industry-specific activities. They are specially designed for hassle-free trading and give the most liberty than any other business formation, in terms of company ownership.

Of the other two forms of business setup options that there are in the UAE, free zones offer the most advantage when it comes to tax benefits. By far, tax is one of the most determining factors for business setup in distant shores. Free zones in UAE are there to cater businesses without burdening on tax.

The UAE offers an ocean of opportunities for foreign nationals seeking to launch businesses, with the free zones. These extensive, specially designed economic zones cater to business of all kinds with the best infrastructure possible — from airport to seaports, office space and above all, appealing tax regime and ownership prospects.


How To Start A Mainland Company In UAE?

Mainland company formation in UAE if done with a systematic approach it is one of the easiest to accomplish, as compared to other countries. However, it is not as simple as a freezone company setup and hence can be a little overwhelming with all the legalities and paperwork.

Here’s answering the basic how-tos for UAE mainland business setup:

What Is A Free Zone?

Free Zones are special economic zones dedicated to foreign trade operating from the UAE borders.

These special economic zones ensure 100% company ownership as well as tax retention even for the foreign nationals. While usually, foreign businesses are often burdened with huge taxes and customs duties, the same is not the case in UAE free zones.

There are a number of free zones operating in the UAE soil. Each specializes in a specific industry. For instance, the Dubai Airport Free Zone deals with the aviation industry and not with the media. In the same way, Dubai International Academic City has nothing to do with manufacturing and retail as it is all about academics.

What Is The Difference Between Mainland & Free Zone Company Setup?

Mainland and Freezone are two of the most preferred business set up structures in the UAE. How Business Setup in UAE Free Zone differs from that of the Mainland? Here you go:

Free zone

Can do business only within the freezone or outside UAE market

In a free zone company setup one can own 100% shares of the business, even for foreign ex-pats

No stipulated bar on office space

There are limitations in the number of visa one can avail with a freezone company setup

UAE Free Zone Business Setup Cost is lesser


Is free to do business inside the UAE market sans any restrictions as well as outside

A foreign ex-pat can only hold 49% stake at a Mainland company

A minimum 200-sq feet office space is required

Unlimited visa can be applied against a Mainland company formation

Cost of setting up a mainland company is more

What Are The Different Free Zones In UAE? Free Zones In UAE Span Across Dubai, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Umm Al-Quwain, And Fujairah Among Others. Here’s A List Of Free Zones Available In The UAE:

- Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)

- Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM)

- ADPC – Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ)

- Industrial City of Abu Dhabi

- Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones

- Masdar City Free Zone

- Ajman Free Zone

- Ajman Media City Free Zone

- Dubai Academic City

- Dubai Airport Free Zone

- Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park (DuBiotech)

- Dubai Car and Automotive City Free Zone (DUCAMZ)

- Dubai Design District

- Dubai Gold and Diamond Park

- Dubai Healthcare City

- Dubai Industrial City (DIC)

- Dubai International Academic City

- Dubai International Financial Centre

- Dubai Internet City (DIC)

- Dubai Knowledge Village

- Dubai Logistics City

- Dubai Media City

- Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

- Dubai Outsource Zone

- Dubai Silicon Oasis

- Dubai Studio City

- Dubai Techno Park

- Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone

- International Media Production Zone

- Jebel Ali Free Zone

- Economic Zones World

- Dubai South or DWC

- Dubai Science Park


- Hamriyah Free Zone

- Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

- The U.S.A. Regional Trade Center (USARTC) Free Zone

- Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone

- Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams)

- Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

- RAK Maritime City Free Zone Authority (RMCFZA)

- Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority

- Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone

- Ras Al Khaimah Media Free Zone

- Fujairah Free Zone

- Fujairah Creative City

- Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQFTZ)

Benefits Of Business Setup In UAE Free Zone

Free zone companies in UAE get a number of benefits against other forms of business setups in UAE. They are:

- 100% foreign ownership for all, - No need to pay corporate tax for up to 50-years, - No tax on import and export, - No tax on personal income


Starting a business in Dubai free zones is easy since they are designed for quick and efficient company establishment.

Authorities demand minimum paperwork for Business Setup but still, things can get a bit confusing. Here’s a prelim sketch about how to start a business in UAE free zone:

Choose from the different types of legal entities you can set up in an UAE free zone. These are: Free Zone Establishment, Free Zone Company, Branch of a Local company, Branch of a foreign company”

UAE places strict emphasis on the name for your Free Zone Company in UAE. Make sure you comply with the correct trade name. It must be unique as well as respectful to the culture.

Once the above two steps are met, go for the license application in the free zone you’re setting your business in.

Choose the type of office you want to set up from the available choices. You can either buy or lease one. Shared office options are also available.

Wait until the respective free zone authority gives a noc for continuation with you UAE free zone business setup

Finally obtain the trade license and get into work

RAS Corporate Advisors to help you with the formalities of Free Zone Company Setup in UAE if you want to focus on other things.

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