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If you are looking to open an offshore company, Dubai is the easiest place to register a new business. Foreign investors flock to set up companies in Dubai due to the number of incentives and stimulants it offers. Emirate’s booming economy and lucrative growth projections are enticing an ever-increasing number of foreign investors by the day. All entrepreneurs have the option to either set up a company in Dubai or in one of its 30 fully operational free zones, as well as a choice of various legal entities.

Types of Company Setup in Dubai Free Zones

Foreign enterprises can set up free zone companies with a corporate shareholder, work as sole traders, or register free-zone limited liability companies. If you have acquired a professional license issued by the pertinent free zone authorities, you can also operate as a sole proprietor. Depending on the nature of your business activity, you will have to acquire either a service license, national industrial license, industrial license, trading license, or a general trading license, in order to set up a company in Dubai free zones.  Some free zones also mandate minimum share capital requirements for certain types of businesses.

Why Should You Set Up Company In Dubai Free Zone?

Dubai is home to 30 fully operational free zones and few others in the development phase, all offering state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure for supporting new businesses, which means you have a lot of choices when it comes to where you want to set up a company in Dubai. Even though companies operating in the Dubai mainland benefit from tax benefits, you can also enjoy numerous advantages when operating in one of Dubai’s free zones. For instance, did you know that Dubai free zones enjoy one of the lowest value-added taxes in the world or that all of them offer free repatriation of profits? Not to mention, Dubai free zones have unparalleled access to a wide network of double taxation agreements concluded by the UAE. Even better, companies operating in Dubai also enjoy tax exemptions on imports and exports.

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Furthermore, company setup in Dubai is easier in the free zones as compared to the mainland, since businesses in Dubai free zones can complete their company incorporation procedure in just one simple step. Dubai free zones offer numerous facilities to companies, such as factories, warehouses, and office premises in the vicinity of where the companies are located. This way, companies are alleviated from spending an arm and a leg on these facilities. In addition, businesses operating in Dubai’s free zones enjoy full foreign ownership of their company.  On the other hand, you will need a local UAE partner owning 51% of the shares, if you are looking to set up a company in Dubai mainland.

In addition to exemption from taxes, investors benefit from excellent infrastructure, easy company incorporation procedures, 3-year visa for their families, wider choices of business licenses as compared to onshore companies, dedicated free zones to specific industries, full foreign ownership, and the advantage of being able to hire without compliance to the UAE labor legislation.

Company setup in Dubai Free Zones

Foreign investors looking to set up shop in one of Dubai free zones, must select the nature of their business activity and the structure of their company, select a free zone dedicated to their specific industry, select a company name in compliance with UAE laws, apply for a residence permit, apply for the appropriate license based on your business activity, rent out office premises and obtain the legal address of the business, and lastly obtain work permits for foreign employees. It is important to keep in mind that most free zones allow single or multiple shareholders, which goes to define the business form of your company. In addition, you also have to prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association before the company setup in Dubai free zones.

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The free zone authority of your chosen free zone will take care of all the visa applications and company registration procedures through a fast-track process. If you are a foreign investor, unfamiliar with UAE laws, it is prudent to seek out the services of a legal agent to complete all paperwork and complete the registration process without a hitch.

Choosing the Right Free Zone for Company Setup

Your choice of free zone is very important since each free zone offers different business licenses depending on the business activity. For instance, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai Media City cater to emerging industries like the software and media clusters, while Dubai Maritime City focuses on companies related to the maritime sector. Similarly, Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City help foreign investors looking to open companies related to the education industry, and so forth. Do your due research before choosing a free zone right for your business.


Shabbir Ahmad

Shabbir Ahmad is a freelance enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert. He is the founder of Shifted Magazine & Shifted News. He contributes to many authority blogs including porch, hackernoon & techcrunch.



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