Here are the key steps to set up a business in a UAE free zone.
- Determine the type of legal entity
- Choose a trade name
- Apply for a business license
- Choose an office space
- Get pre-approvals, register your business and get your license
Benefits of Setting Up a Business in the UAE Free Zones
- 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- Free repatriation of profits in most free zones
- 100% exemption from corporate, personal and income taxes
- 100% free transfer of funds, and no foreign exchange controls
- Exemption from all import and export duties
- Each free zone is dedicated to specific industries;
- Low freight charges
- Abundant and inexpensive energy
- A larger variety of business licenses compared to onshore companies<
- Inexpensive workforce, and easy recruitment procedures
- Investors can benefit from a 3-year visa and can sponsor their families
- Efficient communication procedures and single-window administration
- Liberal government policies and legal framework
- Can hire employees without the appliance of the UAE labor legislation
- The timely and streamlined immigration process
- Each free zone has office spaces, industrial parks, and warehouses to cater to the needs of every type of company.
- Sponsorship and visas for an affordable skilled workforce
- Flexibility to operate 24/7
- Easy start-up and licensing procedures
- Quick and simple business registration procedure.
- Ready-made offices, factories, and warehouses
HERE’S HOW TO GET STARTED
Choose a business activity
The type of licence you apply for, will be depend on the activities you wish to buildup such as professional services, commercial, trading, etc.
In a free zone you can select from more than three thousand business activity that range from more than hundred sectors like shipping, diamonds, gold, aviation, community services constructions, technology, media and much more.
- Determine the type of legal entity
In a free zone, you can set up one of the two types of companies:
- Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Company (FZ Co.)
- Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
The differences lie in the number of shareholders and whether the shareholder is a natural person or a legal person. All free zones might not register both types of companies. You need to check with individual free zone authorities about the type of company they can register.
Choosing a trade name is the second step for setting up your business in the freezone. In most of the instance , you can ensure that the selected name is already registered or not with free zone authority
Make your license application
The exact documents required for Dubai free zone company formation will depend on the type of licence you are applying for and which free zone you have selected.
Colour copy of shareholder(s) passport and visa if applicable
- Application form
- Business plan
- Board resolution
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.
You can select the office space based on the number of works and kind of business activity. You can prefer the cheapest free zone if you a limited budget.
In DMCC, you can choose from a flexi desk of 20-30 sq. m., a flexi office of 200-265 sq. m., or offices running through multiple floors totally up to 2,000 sq. m. each.
Get pre-approvals, and register your business and get your license
Get the initial approval and the related business approvals from the specific authorities, register your business at the portal, and get your license. It will merely take 2-4 weeks to get done with this process. Once you get the license, you are good to start your business.
Companies established in free zones are governed by the rules of the respective free zones. To get the necessary approvals, you need to apply with the documents.
The general guideline of steps and documents needed for approvals.
Initial approval to register Business in Dubai Freezone
The business form in every zone is actually following the rules and regulations of respective free zone. For acquiring the approvals you require applying with documents. The document list differs from one kind of business activity and company type as well as needs of free zone authority.
- Completed application form
- Business plan
- Copy of existing trade licence/registration certificate (if you are an existing company, applicable for local company only)
- Coloured passport copies of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
- Specimen signature of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
- 2 years’ audited financial reports for corporate entity or certificate of reference from a personal bank of the individual shareholder
- NOC from current sponsor (for individuals)
- Unit title deed
- Letter of Intent
- Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) for Manager/Director (Original and notarised)
Freelancers need to submit fewer documents. In most cases, they need to submit:
- Application for registration
- Bank reference letter
- Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) (Original and notarized)
In the next phase you have to pay the registration amount and license fees. The fee will be depend upon the the type of license.
After this you have to submit the following:
- Completed application for registration
- Board Resolution appointing Manager/Director (Notarized and attested)
- Power of Attorney given to Manager/Director (Notarized and attested)
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (Notarized and attested)
- Specimen signature of Manager/Director (Notarized and attested)
- Passport-size photo of Manager/Director against white background
- Share capital information
Licensing and Visa process in UAE Freezone
Lease agreements will be prepared by the authority. Then trade licence will be issued You can also make your visa application at this stage. You can apply for your own visa as well as those of your employees and any domestic staff you may have.
Why to set up a UAE Free Zone Company?
A Free Zone Company is more expensive than an Offshore Company and it typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to establish. However, it is an onshore company (with some offshore characteristics).
This type of company is ideal for market entry because it will give you the physical presence in the UAE through office space and visas without the need for a local sponsor.
A Free Zone Company has offshore characteristics in the sense that all business needs to be carried out offshore/internationally or within the Free Zone itself.