A complete guide to free zones in Dubai


Establishing a company in a Free Zone in Dubai is a lucrative as well as a valuable choice. Free Zones are expert-recommended areas that bring diverse benefits and rewards for investors who want to set up their venture in Dubai. However, before making a decision, it is important to consider several significant factors associated with the free zones. So, here is a guide that will discuss why and how you can choose an ideal free zone for your business.      

Benefits of business registration in Dubai Free Zone 

There are numerous reasons why global investors find Dubai Free Zones appealing for company setup. Some of the significant reasons are as below – 


One of the major perks of opening a company in a free zone in Dubai is that the owner can retain 100% ownership of their respective business. This simply means that there is no requirement for a local sponsor or promoter to carry out the company formation process with the actual business owner. The investors can solely establish the business without unnecessary hassles.  

Tax exemption 

The tax policy is one of the major highlights of starting a free zone company. Free zones follow a low tax policy and companies are mostly exempted from major taxes such as personal tax, corporate tax, and customs. Hence, the owner can pocket all the profits and utilize it for production purposes. 

Ownership of property 

Free zones in Dubai offer all the flexibility an investor needs to get the business off the ground. For instance, they can purchase or lease properties and assets for business purposes. 

Capital repatriation 

Business owners of Free zone companies are allowed to repatriate their full profits and capital without any restrictions. 

Easy process 

Company formation in a UAE Free zone is not just hassle-free but also cost-effective. In fact, some free zones, like IFZA, even offer remote company setups that investors can perform with the help of a local agent and set the company in motion within a short period. 

Strategic location 

Free zones in Dubai are strategically located, providing great accessibility and world-class trading facilities to companies domestically as well as internationally. 

Premium infrastructure 

Free Zone in Dubai provides modern office spaces, advanced telecommunications, and transportation facilities to companies as per their need and convenience. 

Access to global markets 

With the strategic location and excellent connectivity, Free Zone companies can easily expand their reach to a large market of over 2 billion people and grow on a global scale. 

To learn more about the perks and benefits of Free Zone company formation, speak with the business experts of UAE Expansion. 

Factors to consider while choosing a free zone in UAE 

Business activity 

The business activity you choose for your operations will determine the free zone suitable for your company. This is because each free zone is dedicated to specific business activity, which means only a certain number of activities can be covered under the business license issued in a particular free zone. Nonetheless, the cost will also increase proportionally as the number of activities increases in the license.   

Additionally, selecting various activities within a single group and from the same type of license can help save some extra money on licenses. The various types of licenses issued in Dubai Free Zones are – 

UAE Expansion consultants will share with you a detailed list of activities and licenses approved in various free ones in Dubai and across the UAE. 

Capital requirement 

Ever Free Zone has its own share capital requirements and authorities necessitate business owners to deposit a minimum share capital amount for business registration. Moreover, the business activity you choose will decide the minimum amount to be deposited. 

Type of facility 

Free zones also allow business owners to lease facilities such as office spaces and warehouses within the region where the company is registered. Therefore, before selecting a free zone in Dubai for your business setup, consider the infrastructure facilities, location accessibility, and availability of other amenities required for operation. 

Small businesses and start-ups can go for shared or flexi-desks at a co-working space. However, if your business requires expansion with more recruitment and client meetings, then it’s better to choose an office space in a separate physical location. 

Residence visas 

Your selection of free zone in Dubai will help you determine the visa you can apply for. Foreign investors and company owners will need a UAE residence visa from the designated authority. Similarly, they will need to apply for employees visas as well for non-resident workers. 

Additionally, the size of your company or the type of facility you choose will decide your visa quote. For example, if you choose a shared desk facility in Dubai, you can apply for only two or three visas.   

Corporate structure 

Investors can register only a specific type of entity in a free zone. The options include – 

The type of legal entity you register will define the number of shareholders you can have for your company. The shareholders can be an individual or a corporate entity, which will again vary according to the free zone. 

Nationality of partners 

Free zones have their own restrictions when it comes to the nationality of the partners or shareholders. Hence, it is important to have a look at these restrictions before choosing a zone. Some free zones even allow extremely risky nationalities as shareholders of the company. 


For many businesses, especially ones involved in import and export activities, the location of the free zone is of great importance. Therefore, choosing free zones that are near airports and seaports can assist in providing easy and quick access to target markets. Similarly, for companies engaged in manufacturing and logistics business, locations with strategic transportation routes are crucial. Thus, choosing the right location can help in lowering expenses.     

Analysis of competitor 

Never forget to conduct an in-depth competitor analysis while choosing a free zone. Be watchful of your competitors and see where and how they are doing their business. then accordingly, make an informed decision in selecting the right zone for your business.   

Steps of Company Formation in UAE Free Zone 

Here is a breakdown of steps that are involved in Free Zone Company Formation 

  • Choose a free zone 
  • Determine the business activity, legal entity, and trading name of the company 
  • Get the initial approvals for registration 
  • Submit the documents for the license 
  • Find an office space 
  • Get the final approvals and license 
  • Open a corporate account 
  • Apply for the necessary visas 

Business setup in Dubai Free Zone may seem like a daunting task if you try to do everything on your own. UAE Expansion experts will make this process easy by doing all the heavy lifting on your behalf and giving a positive result at the end of the process. 

List of Popular Free Zones in Dubai 

There are more than 20 free zones operational in Dubai, and each of them caters to specific industries and sectors. Below listed are some of the active free zones in Dubai that you can consider for your business operation – 

  • Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) 
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) 
  • Dubai Internet City 
  • Dubai Media City 
  • Dubai Production City 
  • Dubai Studio City 
  • Dubai Outsource City 
  • Dubai Knowledge Park 
  • Dubai International Academic City 
  • Dubai Science Park 
  • Dubai Design District (D3) 
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) 
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority or IFZA 
  • Dubai Healthcare City Authority 
  • International Humanitarian City 
  • Dubai World Trade Centre 
  • Dubai Maritime City Authority 
  • Gold and Diamond Park 
  • Dubai South 
  • Dubai Outsource City 
  • Dubai International Financial Centre 
  • Meydan 
  • National Industries Park (TechnoPark) 
  • Dubai CommerCity (DCC Free Zone) 

Here are the key steps to free zone company formation in Dubai.

  • Determine the type of legal entity.
  • Choose a trading name.
  • Apply for a business license.
  • Choose an office space.
  • Get pre-approvals, register your business, and get your license.

Consult with UAE Expansion experts 

To yield the best answers for your business queries, consult with the corporate service providers of UAE Expansion. UAE Expansion will help you choose the best free zone in Dubai that would perfectly match your company’s needs. 

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