UAE free zones 2021

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 Group PLC assists with all facets to register a new company in the form of a Free Zone Company (FZCo), 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 setting up your business in a UAE free zone

    • 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 free trade zone 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

    A FZ company can:

    • Conduct business with and issue invoices to clients located outside the UAE or in other UAE free zones;
    • A FZ company cannot conduct business with UAE mainland clients (those located outside free zones) by its own. Instead the FZ company must appoint a local service agent to sell and distribute goods and services in its name, within the city;
    • Custom duty of 5% would be levied on free zones company sales within the UAE.
  • List of various free zones in the UAE

  • UAE free zones comparison

    • Dubai free zones

       Dubai Multi Commodities CenterDubai airport free zoneJebel Ali free zone
      Our recommendation in order of preference123
      Summary
      Total Healy Consultants fees (US$)25,73122,06324,499
      Incorporation time3 months3 months3 months
      Cheapest yearly office rent estimate (US$)6,00010,70016,500
      Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$)24,50025,00025,000
      Paid up share capital estimate for free zone company (US$)14,000
      (per shareholder)
      272 (per shareholder)0
      Paid up share capital estimate for free zone establishment (US$)14,0002720
      Virtual office allowedYesNoNo
      All shareholders must travel required for company formationNoNoNo
      Legal considerations
      Minimum number of shareholders111
      Minimum number of directors111
      Corporate shareholders allowedYesYesYes
      Corporate directors allowedNoNoNo
      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 allowedView PDFView PDFView PDF
      Can rent office premises outside free zonesNoNoNo
      Allowed to import raw materials?YesYesYes
      Allowed to export goods?YesYesYes
      How long to get work permit approved4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
      Free zone work permit fee per person4,9504,9504,950
      Draft InvoiceView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDF

    • Sharjah and Northern Emirates free zones

       RAK Free ZoneSharjah Airport International FZ (SAIF)
      Our recommendation in order of preference12
      Summary
      Total Healy Consultants fees (US$)21,80029,890
      Incorporation time3 months3 months
      Cheapest yearly office rent estimate (US$)2,00012,500
      Yearly warehouse rent estimate (US$)25,00027,000
      Paid up share capital estimate for free zone company (US$)041,000
      Paid up share capital estimate for free zone establishment (US$)041,000
      Virtual office allowedYesNo
      All shareholders must travel required for company formationNoNo
      Legal considerations
      Minimum number of shareholders11
      Minimum number of directors11
      Corporate shareholders allowedYesYes
      Corporate directors allowedNoNo
      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 allowedView PDFView PDF
      Can rent office premises outside free zonesNoNo
      Allowed to import raw materials?YesYes
      Allowed to export goods?YesYes
      How long to get work permit approved4 weeks4 weeks
      Free zone work permit fee per person4,9504,950
      Draft invoiceView invoice PDFView invoice PDF

    • 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
  • External videos

Contact us

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