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

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 it’s name, within the city;
  • Custom duty of 5% would be levied on free zones company sales within the UAE.

List of UAE free trade zones

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

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 (DMCC)
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.  Dubai 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
20. Dubai Internet City21. Dubai Logistics City
22. Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ)23. Jebel Ali Free Zone
24. Heavy Equipment & Trucks City25. Dubai Maritime City
26. Dubai Auto Parts City27. Other Free zones located in UAE

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 CenterDubai airport free zoneJebel Ali free zone
Our recommendation in order of preference123
Summary
Total Healy Consultants fees (US$)25,50022,06322,413
Incorporation time3 months3 months3 months
Cheapest yearly office rent estimate (US$)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

Frequently asked questions

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