GenZone Logo

Business Setup in UAE Free Zones: All you need to Know.

When starting a business in Dubai, you will need to make several critical decisions such as selecting a company name, a suitable location, license type, and determining the appropriate legal entity for your enterprise. The latter decision presents two options: mainland or free zone. Both types of setups permit trading in the UAE and beyond, but they differ in various ways.

Mainland companies are registered outside the UAE’s numerous economic free zones and are subject to regulation by the relevant local authority, such as Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED). Free zone companies, on the other hand, are established within designated facilities and areas in the UAE that provide quick and cost-effective company formation and ease of trading.

Generally, setting up a business in a free zone is the most straightforward and affordable method for starting a company in Dubai and the wider UAE. Continue reading for more information on why this is the case.

Benefits of doing business in UAE free zones

The UAE has become an attractive destination for foreign businesses looking to expand their global reach or relocate, thanks to its more than 50 free zones, with many more in development. The advantages of conducting business in a UAE free zone are numerous, including:

  • Complete foreign ownership of the business
  • Access to high-quality logistics facilities
  • A vast pool of skilled and multicultural professionals
  • Economies of concentration, with some zones dedicated to specific industries
  • Easy recruitment of international employees, with one-stop-shop services for work visas provided by all free zones
  • Tax holidays that typically last 15 to 50 years
  • Exemption from import and export taxes
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Corporate tax exemptions that can last up to 50 years
  • Eligibility to apply for the UAE Tax Residency Certificate

Types of Business Licenses in the UAE Free Zone

The following types of business licenses can be obtained by applicants at the UAE free zones:

  • General Trading License
  • Trading/Commercial License
  • Service License
  • Industrial License
  • Warehousing License
  • Manufacturing License

What are the steps to start a business in a UAE free zone?

To initiate the process of starting a business in the UAE, the initial step is to contact the specialized team at GenZone. After conducting a brief consultation to comprehend your needs, we will take charge of the entire application process on your behalf. Your personalized account manager will assist you in completing the subsequent steps.

Business Activities

The initial step is to align your business activity or activities with the list of approved options published by the Department of Economic Development (DED). You can choose from thousands of activities, but you must only conduct those activities listed on your license. Multiple activities can be listed, and additional activities can be added later.

Company Name

Selecting a company name is a critical step in establishing a UAE business. Naming conventions must be strictly adhered to, but these are straightforward and easy to follow. An expert in company setup can assist you with this process. Offensive or blasphemous language should be avoided, as should the names of well-known organizations and abbreviations when naming the company after oneself (e.g., Arthur Perez Consulting rather than A Perez Consulting). Additionally, you must confirm that your preferred name is available to register.

License Application

We will manage your license application and communicate with the relevant free zone authorities and other organizations. Depending on the nature of your business, free zone licenses can be granted in a matter of days. You will need to provide a few details and basic documentation, including a completed application form, a passport copy of the proposed owner(s), and two colour passport-sized photographs.

Visa Applications

You will also need a residency visa to work in the UAE. The visa application process involves several stages, including biometric scanning, a blood test, medical examinations, and a chest x-ray. As a holder of a UAE trade license, you can also sponsor other individuals, such as your spouse, parent, child, or domestic worker (e.g., housekeeper), for their visas.

How can GenZone help?

We are experts with in-depth knowledge to guide investors on all matters starting from finding the right location to set up business in UAE, registration with a Freezone, legal structure of the company, getting a trading license from freezone, banking assistance, obtaining a new director visa, employment visas and family visa etc.

Book A Meeting With Us

Looking to Setup a
Business in Dubai?

Get a Message Back By a Real Person Within 60 Seconds.