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Business Setup in Dubai Free Zones

The Emirate of Dubai is located along the coast of the Arab Gulf and has an area of around 3885 square kilometres, roughly equal to 5% of the country's area exclusive of islands and has a population of around 1.4 million. The Free Zone Authorities in Dubai are the government bodies registering non-resident companies and issuing business licenses.

Main Benefits

  • 100% ownership.
  • No tax on corporate gains or personal incomes
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Exemption from import and export duties

About Dubai Free Zones

Dubai has created many Free Zones as part of its strategic initiative to bring together in one place various industries and related companies from around the world. For this, the Emirate of Dubai specified certain areas as being dedicated to particular industries and created Free Zones with supportive regulations and infrastructure for such industry. The Government of Dubai established TECOM Investments FZ LLC to manage the investments portfolio all over the world. TECOM launched its first Business Park, Dubai Internet City in the year 2000. Dubai Internet City is a Free Zone dedicated to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.Dubai Outsource Free Zone is the other Free Zone that forms ICT cluster.

TECOM Free Zones is the largest portfolio of TECOM Investments. The clusters are designed for the industries of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), media, education and sciences. Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone formed the ICT cluster, while Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) made up the media cluster. Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City are part of education cluster. Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park and Energy and Environment Park (ENPARK) compose the science cluster.

The Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) are Free Zones not dedicated to any particular industry and offers licenses to all types of businesses subject to the Free Zone Regulations.

List of Dubai Free Zones

Advantages of Setting Up Business In Dubai Free Zones

The companies setting up in Free Zones in Dubai are eligible for various incentives and facilities as follows:

Free Zone Status

  • 100% foreign ownership is allowed
  • Full repatriation of profits and capital are permitted
  • Guaranteed 50-year exemption from personal, income and corporate taxes
  • Exemption from customs duty for goods and services
  • Unique purpose built infrastructure

Unique Cluster Environment

  • A unique cluster environment where businesses across the industry value chain share a work campus dedicated to their industry, and can interact and collaborate effectively

Business-friendly environment

  • Simplified incorporation process
  • Hassle-free and business-friendly company laws and legal framework
  • One-stop–shop service that provides business partners with a variety of government services, including licensing, visa, traffic and postal services
  • 24-hour visa service
  • Quick access to Knowledge Workers due to fast-track immigration process

Setting Up Process in Dubai Free Zones

Setting up a business in Dubai Free Zones requires planning and decision making through different phases. This involves preparation of comprehensive business plan, choosing suitable infrastructure, estimating required human work force etc. The business registration or licensing process can be completed only after depositing the minimum capital mandated by the chosen Free Zone, in a bank account in UAE. A company being formed may have either an individual shareholder or corporate shareholder or both. The incorporation process requires the shareholders to sign the documents in the presence of Free Zone authorities.

Business Licensing in Dubai Free Zones

A business license issued by Dubai Free Zone permits a company to practice the business activity mentioned in its license subject to the Free Zone Regulations.The primary step in setting up a business entity in Dubai Free Zone is the selection of business activities. This is so because the other phases of business setting up including the selection of proper legal business structure and number of business licenses can be decided only based on the selected business activities. The reservation of name for the company is as important as choosing the business activity. The name should not resemble the names of any company registered in the Free Zones or reserved for the Government. The Free Zone has the discretionary power to accept or reject a name. In Dubai, the Free Zones classify business licenses mainly into Commercial, Professional and Industrial.

Types of Legal Entities in Dubai Free Zones

An individual or a corporate entity can do business in Dubai Free Zones being registered in any of the following legal forms:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)
  • Branch of a Foreign Company, where the applicant is a foreign registered corporate person
  • Branch of a UAE Company, where the applicant is a UAE registered corporate person
  • An individual can do business in Dubai Media City as a freelancer on being issued a

  • Freelance Permit


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