Free Zone Business Setup

When it’s time to seek options for setting up your business in Dubai, you have a large selection, based on your budget, preference, company type and many other factors.

There are over 25 fully operational free zones in Dubai and the neighboring emirates. Please note: All free zones require you to have share capital arrangements before applying for a license.

Click here for List of Free Zones in Dubai and UAE and the benefits.

The UAE has seven emirates, out of which Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate and also the country’s capital. While Abu Dhabi has oil riches and sovereign wealth, it’s Dubai that has gained a reputation for its trading ports and free zones.


Jebel Ali Free Zone
Dubai Internet City
Dubai Media City
Dubai Airport Freezone
Dubai Knowledge Village
Dubai International Financial Centre
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
Gold & Diamond Park
Dubai Silicon Oasis
Dubai Health Care City
Dubai Maritime City
Jumeirah Lake Towers
Dubai Outsource Zone

Other Emirates

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
Hamriyah Free Zone
Ajman Free Zone
Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone
Fujairah Free Zone
Upcoming Dubai Free Zones
International Media Production Zone
Dubai Studio City
Dubai Flower Centre
Dubai Automotive Zone
Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park
Dubai Logistics City
International Humanitarian City
Dubai Design City
Dubai Energy City
Heavy Equipment & Trucks Zone

Documents Required for Registering a Business in the UAE Free Zones

There are some similar formalities to be completed with regards to the documents which are submitted to each free zone depending upon the type of business an investor chooses. In general, the following are the main options:

Free Zone Establishment (FZE) (One individual share holder).
Free Zone Company (FZCO) (More than one member).
Branch Office

All of the above types may not be available to every free zone, therefore an investor should seek the advice of a consultant to finally arrive at whether his choice is possible in the concerned free zone and also to know about the details of documents needed. However for the advantage of the investors, descriptions of documents commonly needed are being listed below:

1) Application form duly filled
2) Business profile of the owner
3) Passport copy of the owner
4) Original bankers reference

1) Business profile of individuals
2) Passport copy of owners
3) Original bankers reference
4) Board Resolution
5) Manager’s valid passport copy
6) Specimen signature of the manager
7) Original FZCO application

1) Certificate of Registration
2) Memorandum and Articles of Association
3) Board Resolution
4) Manager’s passport copy and his attested signature
5) Parent company‘s profile

Note: Application for license, Passport copy & Bank reference of each individual, Project summary and Application for registration are common for any business set-up.

Dubai Free Zone Benefits:

UAE Free Zones are fully equipped and ready for business with all the amenities, communicational infrastructure and facilities made available for investors. The large number of free zones operating in Dubai and throughout the UAE allows investors to pick and choose the most beneficial form of setup.

Since no local sponsorship or staff recruitment essentials are imposed in free zones, the investor has the complete ownership of the business. Imported raw materials and equipment are exempt from customs duty and exports are free of any levies in free zones.

100% import and export tax exemptions
100% company ownership for investors
100% repatriation of capital and profits
Corporate tax exemptions for 15 years and a further 15 years upon renewal
Personal Income tax exemption
Assistance with all support services, such as staff visas, housing and facilities

The main benefits investors enjoy for Setting up a business in Free zones are:

100% Foreign Ownership
100% Repatriation of Capital and Profits
0% Corporate, Personal Tax
Exemption from all Import and Export Duties
Free Zone Company Formation is Quicker than Incorporation outside of the Free Zones
Inexpensive Workforce and Easy Recruitment Procedures
Typically, no restrictions on recruiting labour
‘One-stop-shop’ for Administration Services
On-site Customs Inspection

Free Zone Limitations

A Free Zone Company is not allowed to trade directly with the UAE market. The Free Zone Company can undertake the local business only through locally appointed distributors.
Custom Duty 5% is applicable for the local business.