Free Zone
Registering a Free Zone (FTZ) company in UAE.

The United Arab Emirates Free Trade Zones (FTZs) are an attractive destination for foreign investors, as these designated areas are exempt from the UAE's mainland taxes and reduced bureaucratic requirements. Employment and import-export restrictions on business don't apply either in FTZs.


Although setting up a business in one of the UAE's free trade zones looks attractive for foreign investors, in-depth market knowledge is required to choose a free trade zone that suits your business needs.


We can recommend the right Free Zone depending on your business environment, the visas and offices you need, and your investment budget. Our experts can help you choose from over 40 FTZs. Contact us today for advice on setting up a company in UAE Free Zones.

ADVANTAGES OF BUSINESS SETUP IN UAE FREE ZONES

0%
Personal income tax
0%
Corporate tax
100%
Free taxes on reexport
100%
Ownership
100%
Repatriation of capitals and profits
100%
Without custom duties when you import to FZ
100%
Free Zones all over UAE
To start your business in any UAE free zone, you must overcome three basic steps: obtain a business license, get a UAE residence visa and open a corporate bank account. Proper planning of these steps will help you set up your business in the UAE Free Zone in 1 to 4 weeks.

Any company operating in the UAE Free Zone is required to obtain a business license (trade license). This license is valid for one year from the date of issue, after which it must be renewed annually.

Some UAE Free Zones require minimum paid-up share capital to be presented at the time of the Free Zone company formation. The amount of the share capital depends on each Free Zone requirement.

1

SELECT A LICENSE TYPE AND BUSINESS ACTIVITY

Each Free Zone has different rules for the number of activities you can add to one license. However, the general rule for all the Free Zones is that no commercial activity can’t be mixed with service activities in one license. Thus, anything to do with trading must be in a Trading/Commercial License, and providing services or consultations must be in a Service License. In addition, you will require an Industrial License if you plan to produce or manufacture anything.

2

CHOOSE A FREE ZONE

Each UAE Free Zone has its list of allowed activities that can be performed within the particular Free Zone; types of available facilities and visa quotas can also vary from one Free Zone to another. That’s why it is highly recommended to get a professional consultation at this stage to choose the best Free Zone for your business.

3

SELECT A CORPORATE STRUCTURE

The corporate structure can be one of the following: a New Company with individual shareholder(s), a Subsidiary Company (with corporate shareholder(s)), a Joint Venture Company (a mix of the individual and corporate shareholders), a Branch of a Local or a Foreign Company. Some business activities are allowed only for Branch Companies; therefore, you should check them with a Free Zone.

4

SELECT TRADE NAME & PREPARE DOCUMENTS

You must prepare three versions of your company name in order of preference and enclose a list of documents that are required for the Free Zone of your choice. A standard list of documents for starting a new company includes a passport, visa, EID (if applicable), NOC for UAE residents (for specific free zones), proof of address, and a professional CV. However, remember that the documents for registering a company branch may vary slightly.

5

APPLY FOR INITIAL APPROVAL

Initial approval usually includes approval for the company name, the chosen business activity(ies), and the proposed company structure.

6

SIGN LEGAL DOCUMENTS FOR COMPANY INCORPORATION

After the initial approval, a face-to-face meeting (or video call) with a representative of the Free Zone should be arranged. In some cases you can skip this point if you have a power of attorney for your representative and all documents are notarized. The meeting is for the purpose of checking Shareholders'/UBOs' passports and signing documents such as Articles of Association (AOA), Board Resolution, and Specimen Signature Forms.

7

ESTABLISH BUSINESS LOCATION

The final licensing stage involves selecting a commercial property for your company in the Free Zone of your choice. You need to sign a lease agreement for a minimum of 1 year and obtain an Ejari certificate. The lease agreement and the Ejari certificate are submitted to the free zone and on the basis of these documents you are issued a license with the address from the lease agreement. Depending on the type of property (flexi-desk, business center office, physical office, warehouse, retail space), you may need a number of additional documents: e.g. AOFC certificate from Concordia or third-party liability insurance.

8

COLLECT BUSINESS LICENSE

Once the registration documents are signed, all approvals are obtained, and all payments are made. The license will be issued along with other corporate documents.

When all these steps have been completed, including obtaining initial approval, signing the legal documents to incorporate the company, obtaining third-party approval (if required in your case), and signing the Lease/Tenancy Contract, you move on to the final stage. You are issued with a license and a standard set of corporate documents, which may vary slightly from one free zone to another. The standard package includes a License, Certificate of Incorporation, Share Certificate(s), Articles of Association (AOA), and Lease/Tenancy Contract.

Our experts will assist you in all stages of setting up a business in any UAE Free Zone you choose. We can help you create a business plan, register your individual corporate structure, obtain a UAE visa, open both corporate and private bank accounts, advise on VAT, accounting, and bookkeeping, and provide you with all the further administrative support you need.
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