Dubai is situated along the Arabian Gulf coast, popular mainly for its oil industry. However, situations have evolved in these decades. Dubai has transformed itself to be a global business hub standing shoulder-shoulder with Western nations.
Different business models help to improve the economy of the region. To bring more foreign investment and develop the economy, free zones are set up in Dubai that is advantageous to foreign investors with premium benefits to establishing their businesses.
The Dubai Free Zone Authority controls registration processes and issues business licenses to non-resident or foreign companies to set up businesses in Dubai free zones. Setting up businesses in free zones brings huge opportunities for networking, collaboration, and wider business growth. Attractive tax policies and other encouragements provided by the free zone authorities make Dubai the most desirable country for business setup.
Major regions in Dubai Free Zone
- Dubai Airport Free Zone
- Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC)
- Dubai World Trade Centre
- Dubai Internet City
- Silicon Oasis Authority
- Healthcare City
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Knowledge Village
Types of Licenses in Dubai Free Zone
In order to conduct operations within any of the UAE Free Zones, it is essential for all businesses, regardless of their legal structure or size, to possess a valid trade license. The trade license serves as a fundamental requirement and authorization for businesses to establish themselves and engage in commercial activities within the designated Free Zones.
By acquiring an apt trade license, businesses gain access to numerous advantages and benefits offered by the Free Zones. The following are the business license options you could go to start a business in Dubai Free Zone.
1. Trading License
This license enables you to carry out trading activities such as buying/selling, importing/exporting a certain number of commodities
2. General Trading
You can deal with trading any goods, except a few banned products that require specific approval
3. Service License
If your business involves consulting, accountancy, etc. you can obtain this license
4. Industrial License
You can obtain this license if your company is carrying out manufacturing, packaging, and processing activities
Type of business can you can have in Dubai Free Zone
Free Zones are designed to accommodate diverse business activities and offer specialized facilities, infrastructure, and regulatory frameworks to cater to specific industry needs. Based on the nature of your business activity, you can choose to establish your business in Dubai Free Zone in the following types,
1. Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
This type of business is registered with an individual or a corporate shareholder
2. Free Zone Company (FZC)
This business type can be registered with two or more shareholders. A shareholder could be an individual or a company
3. Branch office
A business having a company in the UAE or a foreign country could have a branch in any of the free zones of Dubai.
Documents required for a business setup in Dubai Free Zone
To start a business in a Dubai Free Zone, certain documents and requirements must be fulfilled. On the whole company formation process in Dubai Free Zone, you require documents to be submitted on two different points. One is when you apply for a business license and the other is to start a business bank account.
Here are the documents that are commonly required throughout the Dubai Free Zone company setup process,
Obtain a business license
- Colored Passport and visa copy of shareholders
- Application form
- Business plan
- Board’s decision
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA)
Open a Bank Account
- Form to open a corporate account
- Board’s declaration approving account opening, and the concerned signatories
- Copy of company’s certificate of incorporation
- Copy of share certificate
- Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Passport copies of all the partners of the company
Note that the free zone authority may require some documents to be attested by the concerned authorities such as MoFA, Dubai Chamber, etc. We, BMS Auditing also offer Commercial Document attestation services to get your documents verified and process a smooth company registration in Dubai Free Zone.
Dubai Free Zone Company Formation Procedure
Business Setup in Dubai Free Zone includes obtaining a license, corporate bank account and leasing an office to register the company with Zone authority. Once the company is registered, it becomes eligible to operate within the Free Zone and enjoy various benefits, including tax exemptions, customs privileges, and simplified administrative procedures.
Here are the steps involved in starting a business in Dubai free zone:
1. Determine the business activity
Being the first step, you need to decide on the business activity you wish to carry out, as the license you obtain depends on the type of business you choose.
2. Choose the desired Free Zone
You have now decided on the type of business, and so you choose the desired free zone to establish your company. There are zones for specific sectors such as IT, Healthcare, Trading, Media, etc.
3. Decide a suitable name for the company
You need to understand that you cannot choose a name without checking its availability, as it should be approved and registered in the Free Zone Authority portal.
4. Gather the required documents and apply for a license
Once you choose the type of business activity and register the name in the portal, you are now in the most crucial step in the setup process- collecting the required documents. To do so, you must fill out an application form and collect the relevant documents. You can also apply for a visa during this process.
You will then receive your business license within 2 or 4 weeks.
5. Open a Corporate Account in the Bank
It is quite easy to open a corporate account in a Bank. However, you need the required documents and the business visa and present them in the bank.
Business Setup Consultants in Dubai Free Zone
BMS auditing and its team have extensive experience of over a decade in assisting its clients and foreign investors to establish their businesses in desired free zones in Dubai based on the sector.
Our business consultants take you through the entire setup process, from choosing the ideal business type to opening a business bank account.
A free zone company formation in Dubai is a popular option for companies and entrepreneurs looking to establish a presence in the UAE. A free zone offers tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and simplified legal procedures. Setting up a Free Zone company requires careful planning and execution, as there are specific requirements and procedures that must be followed.
We have provided comprehensive information on the benefits of forming a Free Zone company, offshore shore business as well as mainland company and the requirements and procedures involved in the process. With our expert guidance, you can easily set up a business in the UAE.
Have queries with business setup in Dubai Free Zone? Call BMS.
1. What license types are available in Dubai Free Zone?
Based on the business type you choose, you can obtain a Trading, Service, General Trading, or Industrial License.
2. What type of business can I establish in Dubai Free Zone?
These free zones provide three main types of business- Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Free Zone Company, or Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZCO or FZ LLC), and Branch office.
3. Is it mandatory to be a UAE resident to form a Free Zone company?
No. it is not mandatory for the owner to live in the UAE as the free zones provide 100% foreign ownership. However, the General Manager of the company must be a UAE resident.
4. What is the minimum capital requirement to set up a business in the Free Zone?
The capital requirement depends on the free sone administration and the business activity you choose to operate. Basic capital ranges from AED 1000 to AED 300,000, with certain exceptions (DMCC, Tecom Free Zones), wherein no capital is required to be deposited in the bank account in the company’s name.