What is a Free Zone in the UAE?

The United Arab Emirates has over 40+ Free Zones to choose from, each offering a variety of advantages, from 50-Years tax exemptions to dual licensing options. 

The Freezone in an International concept, which was launched in the UAE for foreign investors who wish to secure and obtain 100% ownership of their businesses, while being able to claim benefits such as zero taxation, granting 100% repatriation of profit and obtaining UAE Residency visas for investors, staff and dependents for those registered with the entity.

Foreign Entities and Investors who are planning to establish a local presence in the UAE have many different Freezone options to choose from. It is often quite an overwhelming process to to navigate which one is best suited for you and your business as there can be significant setbacks and financial challenges if your business is registered in a Free Zone that does not give you the ability to scale or conduct a specific activity.


What are the legal forms of a Free Zone entity?

  • Freezone Establishment (FZE)

A Freezone Establishment is a company that has one (1) single shareholder (an individual or a corporate entity)

  • Freezone Company (FZC)

A Freezone Company is a Limited Liability Company (LLC), which generally needs a minimum of two (2) shareholders.

  • Branch/ Representative Office

An extension of a parent company, whether registered in an existing UAE Freezone or internationally. The liability ultimately falls on the parent company.


What are the benefits of a Freezone company?

  1. 100% Foreign ownership
  2. 100% Tax-free – 5% VAT applicable on certain Zones
  3. 100% repatriation of profits and investments
  4. UAE Residency Visas are valid for 2-Years
  5. Ability to hire staff
  6. Ability to sponsor family members
  7. A Freezone company can open a local UAE bank account
  8. Ability to combine Trading and Services activities under one Trade Licence in certain Free Zones
  9. No customs duties levied on imports and exports
  10. Alternative desk and office options for SMEs
  11. A Tax Residency Certificate can be applied for



What are some of the Free Zone commonly used for?

  • Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) – Offering a variety of trading activities, DAFZA is a great option for companies that are planning to import and export. Warehousing and Office space can be availed of. 
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) – Offers a wider variety of office spaces, business hubs and residential areas to live in. The primary activities are focused on Commodities Trade and Exchanges, among hundreds of other activities
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – One of the few Freezones which is Governed by UK Common & Welsh Law. Highly recognised for his spectacular infrastructure located in the heart of Dubai Activities are primarily focused on financial services and legal.
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) – Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, DSO boasts a world class infrastructure for foreign investors who specialise in technology services and trading of goods.
  • Dubai World Central (DWC) – Near Al Maktoum Airport, this Freezone offers a variety of Trading, Manufacturing and Logistics activities 
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) – Considered as the oldest Freezone in the UAE. JAFZA offers a variety of logistics related activities – alongside other trading and professional services. Warehousing and Commercial Office Space can be availed of.
  • Fujairah Creative City (FCC) – Next to the Port, Fujairah Freezone offers investors a diverse number of advantages – choosing from import and export activities, to consultancy and marketing related activities.
  • International Freezone Authority (IFZA) – Strategically located by EXPO 2020, providing e-commerce, media, marketing and trading activities.
  • Shams Media City (SMC) – Media, Design and other Trading activities, allowing a combination of related or unrelated business activities.



How can Rosemont Partners help?

Rosemont Partners have created a bespoke model to conduct a market entry analysis for you, ensuring that your business has covered all points of consideration, allowing you to make an informed and educated decision.

Our knowledgeable Business Setup Consultants and Operations Team provides outsourced services to assist with the preparation of the applications. If you need support with registering an company, compliance or immigration matters, reach out to us today.