How to Start your Business in Dubai Free Zone? Complete Guide

Starting your company in Dubai Free Zone:

Free Zones are special economic zones that offer customs duty benefits and tax concessions to investors and they are each governed by a special framework of rules and regulations. You can start your business in either UAE mainland which is also called onshore or a business presence in one of the registered UAE free trade zones or Offshore.

Investors also have a choice to set up operations in one of the free trade zones in the UAE. A free trade zone is a geographical area within the UAE that has been established by the UAE government to generally encourage direct foreign investment into the UAE and, as such, there are generally no foreign ownership restrictions, unlike ‘onshore’ entities. That is, foreign investors can set up 100% fully-owned entities in the free trade zones. The principle drawback of a free trade zone is that strictly, entities registered in the free trade zone are not permitted to conduct commercial activities in the UAE, outside of the free trade zone.

Dubai’s Free Zones are spread out around the city and cater to every type of company from small start-ups to large multinational corpora ons and re-exporters, offering convenient access to Dubai’s world-class logistics and supply-chain infrastructure to make selling around the region and world as easy as possible.

Dubai offers prospective and existing investors, all the advantages of a highly developed and sophisticated economy. Dubai’s infrastructure and services match the highest international standards, facilitating efficiency and quality.

You can do any business in the fields of financial, educational, retail, hospitality and media to name a few. Check with the respective free zone authority for businesses permitted on their premises.

Dubai is a dynamic, business-friendly city with a great track record of executing major projects. Dubai’s success story as a world leader in enterprise and modernization has earned the city great international distinction and made it an important business, trading and tourism hotspot.

There are many free zones, and procedures, prices and requirements change all the time. The free zones compete with each other for business, which gives them an incentive to innovate, and stay attractive to investors.

For a foreign entrepreneur, it is often difficult to navigate the process of business setup in Dubai or in the UAE. Apart from understanding the laws, finding the right free zone is a hard task as there are more than thirty free zones in Dubai. Support and advice from trusted business setup consultants in Dubai ease the difficulties faced by investors while setting up a business in Dubai free zones.

How many free zone companies are in Dubai?

Currently, there are over 30 established free trade zones in the UAE, of which the majority
are in the Emirate of Dubai. The free trade zones also provide a choice of establishing either a company or a branch.

Free zones Under the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority:

  1. Dubai Internet CityOpens in a new tab.
  2. Dubai Media CityOpens in a new tab.
  3. Dubai Production CityOpens in a new tab.
  4. Dubai Studio CityOpens in a new tab.
  5. Dubai Outsource CityOpens in a new tab.
  6. Dubai Knowledge Park
  7. Dubai International Academic CityOpens in a new tab.
  8. Dubai Science Park
  9. Dubai Design DistrictOpens in a new tab.

Free zones Under the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority:

  1. Dubai Multi Commodities CentreOpens in a new tab.
  2. Jumeriah Lake TowersOpens in a new tab.


  1. Jabel Ali Free zone (JAFZA)Opens in a new tab.
  2. Dubai Airport Free zoneOpens in a new tab.
  3. Dubai Silicon OasisOpens in a new tab.
  4. Dubai CommerCity
  5. Dubai Healthcare CityOpens in a new tab.
  6. Dubai Logistic CityOpens in a new tab.
  7. Dubai Aviation City
  8. Meydan Free ZoneOpens in a new tab.
  9. Dubai World Central
  10. International Humanitarian city
  11. Dubai Textile City
  12. Dubai Gold and Diamond ParkOpens in a new tab.
  13. Dubai Cars and Automative City (Ducamz)
  14. Ifza
  15. Dubai International Financial Centre
  16. Dubai Biotech Research Park
  17. Dubai Industrial City
  18. Dubai Knowledge Village
  19. Dubai Techno Park
  20. International Media Production zone

What are the advantages of setting up business in Dubai Free Zone?

  1. Free zone allows foreign investors to attain 100% ownership
  2. Free zone companies allows full repatriation of capital and profits- leading to a straightforward business registration process.
  3. Free zones are exempted from all the custom duties
  4. There is no requirement for minimum capital investment
  5. The company set up process is easy, straightforward and fast
  6. Have an approved registered agent within the free zone or Emirate of Dubai
  7. There are no corporate or personal income taxes
  8. Easy access to distributors and manufactures in the MENA regions as well as South Asia
  9. Free zone allows you to undertake wide range of business activities
  10. UAE provides a safe and secure family environment with one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

How to start a business in Dubai Free zone?

Opening a business in a free zone is relatively easier. Authorities require minimum and paper work and duration.

Here are the key steps to set up a business in a free zone.

  1. Determine the type of legal entity: Choose the legal entity whether you want to set up your company as Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Company (FZ Co.), Free Zone Establishment (FZE). Existing local and foreign companies may set up a branch of their company in free zones.
  2. Determine the type of licence and business activity: Choose the type of licence as per your business activity.
  3. Choose a trade name : Check with respective free zone authority about the permitted trade names and whether the intended name has already been registered.
  4. Apply for a business licence: Business licence you will apply for depends on the primary activity of your business.
  5. Choose an office space: You can either buy or lease office spaces in free zones. Office requirements depend on the number of employees and type of business activity of your company.
  6. Get pre-approvals, register your business and get your licence:
  7. Open Bank Account: Open a free zone bank account to keep track of your business transactions

What are the documents required to set up a business in Dubai Free Zone?

  1. Complete filled application form
  2. Passport copy of shareholders
  3. Passport-size photo of Manager/Director against white background
  4. Business Plan
  5. Board Resolution appointing Manager/Director
  6. Power of Attorney given to Manager/Director
  7. Memorandum and Articles of Association
  8. Specimen signature of Manager/Director
  9. NOC from current sponsor (for individuals)

How much does it cost to open a free zone company in Dubai?

The cost of setting up business in Dubai Free Zone would be approximate 15000 AED however it may depend on other requirement such as your location, business activities, company size and other operational costs.

To make it easier, once you have your business plan ready in your hand, you can always take help from the expert business setup consultants in Dubai UAE, who will help you with every step of the process, from choosing a business activity and company name to registering with the relevant authorities, easily opening corporate bank accounts and processing visa applications.

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