UAE free zones

UAE free zones

Register free zone company guides in UAE UAE free trade zones can provide a wide range of incentives for investors from around the world. The following information will help you decide whether establishing your company in one of the UAE free zones is beneficial for achieving your business objectives.

Healy Consultants assists with all facets of FZ company formation, including i) company registration ii) assistance in obtaining the trade license iii) lease premises and iv) assistance in opening a corporate bank account. Our staff will handle all formalities without our Client needing to visit Dubai.

International entrepreneurs can establish one of the following entities in the free zone. Healy Consultants will be pleased to assist our Clients in choosing the optimum business entity:

  • A free zone company (FZC) – this entity requires a minimum of two shareholders;
  • A free zone establishment (FZE) – this entity requires a minimum of one shareholder;
  • Branch of a foreign company;
  • Representative office from the parent company.

Advantages of a UAE free zone entity

  • Investors who choose to setup in the UAE free zones enjoy the following benefits: i) 100% foreign ownership ii) 100% import and export tax exemptions iii) 100% repatriation of capital and profits iv) corporate tax exemption for up to 50 years v) personal income tax exemption and vi) assistance with labor recruitment and additional support services, such as sponsorship and housing;
  • Other benefits include i) low bureaucratic requirements for incorporation ii) fewer restrictions relating to staff recruitment iii) high quality infrastructure facilities and iv) competitively priced energy and utilities;
  • There are more than 35 operational free zones in the UAE. These include more than 25 in Dubai, 7 in Abu Dhabi and 8 in the Emirate of Sharjah and the Northern Emirates;
  • Free zone activities allowed include i) import of raw materials ii) manufacturing iii) processing, assembling and packaging iv) export of finished products and v) storage/warehousing of products.

Disadvantages of a UAE free zones entity

  • FZ companies must confine their business activities to the zone itself, other UAE free trade zones and international customers. A FZ company cannot therefore cater to customers in within the UAE;
  • To be fully established in a FZ, every company must i) lease premises and ii) obtain a license. The type of license will restrict the activities that can be conducted in the company. Company licenses are renewable annually after FZ laws are complied with, including submitting annual audited financial statements to the authorities;
  • FZ companies are non-tax resident entities and cannot enjoy UAE tax treaty benefits;
  • The paid up share capital varies from US$14 to US$300,000 depending on i) the free zone chosen and ii) the company structure. After incorporation, the share capital can be used to fund the daily business activities of the company;
  • A FZ company must rent an office within its zone and cannot rent an office in Dubai city center.

Trading within the UAE

An FZ company can conduct business in Dubai and within the UAE:

  • If a UAE 51% local partner is appointed and The Department of Economic Development issues the trading license to the company;
  • The FZ company appoints a service agent to sell and distribute goods and services within the city in its name;
  • If a branch office is established in the city and the goods and services are distributed through a UAE agent, in the name of the FZ company;
  • Custom duty of 5% would be levied on free zone company sales within the UAE.

List of UAE free trade zones

Dubai free zones

DUBAI FREE ZONES (Click link) 
1.    Dubai Studio City (DSC)2.    Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
3.    Dubai Media City (DMC)4.    Dubai Multi Commodities Center
5.    International Media Production Zone (IMPZ)6.    Energy & Environment Park
7.    Dubai Knowledge Village8.    Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park
9.    International Humanitarian City10.  Dubai Textile City
11.  Duabi International Financial Center12.  Dubai Flower City
13.  Dubai Outsource Zone14.  Dubai Healthcare City
15.  Dubai International Academic City16.  Techno Park
17.  Gold and Diamond Park18.  Dubai Silicon Oasis
19.  Jumeirah Lake Towers20.  Dubai Internet City
21.  Dubai Logistics City22.  Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ)
23.  Jebel Ali Free Zone24.  Heavy Equipment & Trucks City
25.  Dubai Maritime City26.  Dubai Auto Parts City

Abu Dhabi free zones

ABU DHABI FREE ZONES 
1. Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone5.    Abu Dhabi Ports Company
2.    Free Trade and Logistics Zone6.    Khalifa Industrial Zone
3.    Two Four 547.    ZonesCorp
4.    Masdar City

Sharjah and Northern Emirates free zones

SHARJAH AND THE NORTHERN EMIRATES 
1. Sharjah Airport Free Zone2. Fujairah Media Zone / Creative City
3. Ajman Free Zone4. Ahmed Bin Rashid Free Zone
5.    Fujairah Free Zone6. Rak Media City
7. Hamriyah Free Zone8. RAK Free zone
9. RAKIA Free Zone10. Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone

Compare different free zone options

Dubai free zones

 Dubai Multi Commodities Center -
Jumeirah Lake towers
Dubai airport free zoneJebel Ali free zone
Our recommendation in order of preference123
Summary
Total Healy Consultants fees (US$)24,95017,80022,363
Incorporation time3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Yearly office rent estimate (US$)10,0007,7509,500
Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$)24,50025,00025,000
Share capital estimate (US$) for free zone company13,700
(per shareholder)
136,200136,200
Share capital estimate (US$) for free zone establishment13,70027,25027,250
Virtual office allowedYesNoNo
All shareholders must travel required for company formationYesYesYes
Legal considerations
Minimum number of shareholders122
Minimum number of directors122
Corporate shareholders allowedYesYesYes
Corporate directors allowedYesYesYes
100% foreign ownership allowedYesYesYes
Public register of shareholders and directorsNoNoNo
Tax considerations
Exempt of corporate tax on profitsYesYesYes
Annual tax return to be submittedNoNoNo
Statutory audit requiredYesYesYes
Access to UAE double tax treatiesYesYesYes
Other considerationsYesNoNo
Types of licenses allowed
Can rent office premises outside free zonesNoNoNo
Allowed to import raw materials?YesYesYes
Allowed to export goods?YesYesYes
How long to get work permit approved3-4 weeks3-4 weeks3-4 weeks
Free zone work permit fee per person3,9502,9503,950
Draft Invoice

Sharjah and Northern Emirates free zones

 RAK onshore companySharjah Airport International FZ (SAIF)
Our recommendation in order of preference12
Summary
Total Healy Consultants fees (US$)14,85027,890
Incorporation time2 weeks3 weeks
Yearly office rent estimate (US$)7,7508,000
Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$)25,00027,000
Share capital estimate (US$) for free zone company41,00041,000
Share capital estimate (US$) for free zone establishment40,85041,000
Virtual office allowedYesNo
All shareholders must travel required for company formationYesYes
Legal considerations
Minimum number of shareholders22
Minimum number of directors22
Corporate shareholders allowedYesYes
Corporate directors allowedYesYes
100% foreign ownership allowedYesYes
Public register of shareholders and directorsNoNo
Tax considerations
Exempt of corporate tax on profitsYesYes
Annual tax return to be submittedNoNo
Statutory audit requiredYesYes
Access to UAE double tax treatiesYesYes
Other considerationsYesNo
Types of licenses allowed
Can rent office premises outside free zonesNoNo
Allowed to import raw materials?YesYes
Allowed to export goods?YesYes
How long to get work permit approved3-4 weeks3-4 weeks
Free zone work permit fee per person3,9504,550

Other options

If your company is planning i) to conduct business within the UAE, or ii) internationally, there are other options you may want to consider such as

LLC

Offshore companies

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our free zone company registration services in UAE, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi