Overview of Company Registration in UAE Free Zones
- Many businesses drop their plan of investing in the UAE due to the mandate law of having a UAE national as a 51% share holder in mainland companies. This has lead free zones to become a popular choice of business registration in Dubai and all across the UAE, where lawfully 100% foreign ownership is permitted.
- A free zone / free trade zone is a designated area which has special tax-free status and minimal trade restrictions where goods can be produced, assembled, import/export, or reconfigured without paying any customs duty.
- UAE Free zones are developed strategically at geographic locations like national borders, international airports and major seaports, so that the business owners can reap maximum trading advantages for their business.
- The UAE Government has developed multiple free zones in the country, each designed with the theme to support businesses of specific sector.
- UAE free trade zones offer lucrative facilities to foreign companies, like the convenience of single-window administration, no bureaucratic red tape, and 100% ownership. There are about 44 free zones spread all over the United Arab Emirates, with many more coming up. They have attracted foreign direct investment in the form contributing to the non-oil GDP growth of the national economy. The free trade zones vary in their location, types of business it supports, setup costs and paperwork needed.
- UAE is the only country in GCC which is having many free zones offering investors to conduct many different types of businesses.
- The first free zone in UAE was established in 1985 namely Jebel Ali free zone in Dubai which witnessed huge growth.
- A free zone company registered with one share holder is known as FZE (Free zone establishment)
- A free zone company registered with more than one share holder is known as FZCO (Free zone company)
- Any company from mainland or other country can open Branch Company in free zone.
- Each free zone in UAE has been established with a specific purpose to support some specified business activities. An investor must take an advice from an experienced consultant to choose the correct free zone which is most suited for his business plan.
- An investor should also understand the process of liquidating the license from beginning so if the need comes up then he knows the complete process upfront.
- Free Zone companies are considered as UAE onshore companies and are subject to 5% VAT if annual turnover crossing threshold limits.
- Each free zone company registration is regulated by its own direct authority which in turn falls under the ruler of that specific Emirate.
- At present many free zones are offering licenses with virtual office packages linked with either no visa eligibility or specific numbers of visa eligibility with very low rates for trading and services activities.
Benefits of Registering Company in Free Zone
- 100% foreign ownership is allowed
- 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- 100% exemption from corporate, personal and income taxes
- Exemption from all import and export duties & Low freight charges
- Efficient communication procedures and single-window administration
- Flexibility to operate 24/7
- Freehold offices available for sale or lease ( In some free zones )
- Ready-made offices, factories, and warehouses
- Abundant power supply
- Unique industry clustering and purpose-built infrastructure
- 3-year UAE residence visa
- No restrictions on hiring expatriate
- Free zone companies are not allowed to operate directly on mainland UAE. Either they need distributor located on mainland or need an approval from Department of economic development to operate on mainland.
- Free zone companies are suitable for those who do not have any business activity focused on mainland.
Documents Required to Setup FZE
- Passport copy of share holder
- Business profile of share holder
- Duly filled in application
- Bank reference letter (In some cases only)
Documents Required to Setup FZCO
- Passport copies of share holders
- Business profiles of share holders
- Duly filled in application
- Bank reference letters for all share holders (In some cases only)