Where is Umm Al Quwain Free Zone?
Umm Al Quwain Free Zone is a newly formed Free Zone. It started operation in 2014. There are more than 25 free zones in the UAE. Many are located in Dubai. However, there are four free zones close by in other emirates which offer good options for forming a new business.
Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone is one such Free Zone located 50 minutes away from Dubai Airport in the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain. It is 6 km from Sharjah and 20 Km from Dubai. It can be approached easily from the old Emirates road as well as from the roads near the sea shore in Sharjah old town. The head office of the Umm Al Quwain Free Zone Authority is located near approach to the town of Umm Al Quwain.
What is Umm Al Quwain Free Zone?
Umm Al Quwain Free Zone authority is government backed autonomous arm of Umm Al Quwain emirate in the UAE which is authorized to incorporate business companies with “trade license”. Umm Al Quwain Free Zone companies enjoy the same legal status inside the UAE as any other Free Zone company in the matters of trade, contracts, imports, exports, visa, and banking.
Umm Al Quwain Free Zone has been operating as an autonomous free zone. It has promised to grow rapidly in the next few years because of the advantages it offers particularly to those looking for an economical setup and running costs as well as a variety of licenses.
What can the Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company do?
Like other free zone companies Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company can be owned 100% by the foreign owners- a company or individuals, it is tax-free and can import into Free Zone duty-free.
This means that the Umm Al Quwain Free Zone companies engaged in international trade can release their goods and keep them as stocks meant for re-export without payment of customs duties. Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company can freely do business internationally.
Like other free zones Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company can sell goods in the local markets by using the services of a local trader. Service companies can deliver services from inside the Free Zone into UAE and to other countries.
Like any other free zone company, it can use the Dubai’s seaports and airports for shipment of goods by registering the company in Dubai customs to get an import code. This makes it possible to take advantage of Umm Al Quwain Free Zone’s lower costs and Dubai port’s services. Of course, the goods released in a port say Jebel Ali port in Dubai must either stay inside or be taken out by paying customs duty to be taken to Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company.
Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company can open a bank account in a bank branch in Dubai. The company can and must take an office inside the Free Zone areas in Umm Al Quwain. The minimum office category available is ‘flexi desk’ in their own Business Centre. The company can take residence visas for its employees and owners who can live anywhere in the UAE .
What is special about Umm Al Quwain Free Zone
This free zone has three licenses which are specially designed for needs of businessmen looking for activities not easily allowed elsewhere, for single professionals, and for most economical options. These special licenses are Premium Consultancy, Micro Business, Freelancer Permit. They are shown below. Also unlike most free zones the company can be formed without the owner being present in the UAE by using consultant’s services.
Which business activities are licensed in Umm Al Quwain Free Zone
1. Trading Activities
Under commercial license, all types of trading activities can be licensed by Umm Al Quwain Free Zone. A Single business activity e.g. Trade in garments or multiple activities.
2. General Trading Activity
This is popular among international traders because almost all categories of products can be traded. Tobacco, Alcohol, Pharmaceuticals and Crude oil are not allowed. This license costs more that specific trading.
3. Consultancy Licence
This license is issued to those who plan to carry on consultancy business – Management Consultancy, IT services, Accounting Services, HR Consultancy Services.
4. Premium Consultancy Licence
This license allows Real Estate consultancy, Tourism Consultancy, Oil and Gas engineering Consultancy, Legal consultancy, Financial Consultancy, Investment Consultancy, Shipping and Logistics and Aviation Consultancy.
5. Micro Business Licence
The license is suited to those who would like to start with a minimum budget and do not need a physical office or a visa. They can start a Trading or a consultancy business using this cheapest option.
6. Freelancer Permit
This is meant for individuals who carry out professional activities in their specialty or expertise as a business. Photographers, even planners, musicians, performers and may other categories are covered. Educational certificates as proof of expertise are needed.
7. Apart from these categories Umm Al Quwain Free Zone also provides Industrial licenses. These are manufacturing activities.
Which Activities are not licensed?
Real estate brokerage, Forex trading are not licensed.
What are the basic requirements for this company
Like all free zone companies your Umm Al Quwain Free Zone Company too must fulfill certain minimum requirements.
- You must get a trade license by applying with necessary documents.
- There is NO requirement to appoint a resident director, resident Manager, or to take a residence visa for the owner.
Thus you must decide
- Your precise business activity for license
- If you need residence visas, how many
- License type and Office size needed- This determines the number of visas you are eligible for. Normally 1 or 2 visas are available. For 4 visas you must take a bigger office thus paying higher costs.
What do you get when you form an Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company?
- You get a trade license allowing you to do business in the chosen activity
- An Office- except in case of freelancer permit and Micro Business license
- You can get visas to live in UAE except in case of Micro Business license
What is the Legal form of the Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company?
Umm Al Quwain Free zone calls a single shareholder company by suffix – FZE. Multiple shareholder companies are called FZC companies. Branches of foreign companies and mainland local companies and fully or partly owned subsidiaries are also allowed. The share capital is minimum AED 300,000 – US$ 82,200- which needs to be mentioned in documents. This amount need not be paid or shown at the time of registration or later. Only the registration and license costs are to be paid.
How to form an Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company
The company registration process does not need you the owner to come to Umm Al Quwain in UAE for signing the papers. The work can be done through others like a consultant. Following documents are needed
- A passport copy of the owner is enough to start the process
- A proof of home address of the owner
- One must confirm from the consultant if the activity is permitted to be licensed or any special approvals are needed
- A form needs to be filled giving a choice of 3 names for the business and basic information of the owner. The “Manager” must be also be nominated
- The form is submitted and the name is approved and initial approval is granted.
- Memorandum and Articles of association are then sent to you along with specimen signature forms and office lease if applied for. These signes=d documents are received back by the consultant and submitted to authorities in Umm Al Quwain Free Zone.
- The payment of all costs must be made at the same time.
- Company documents are made and handed over to you by the 3 rd day.
- If the owner of the proposed Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company is a foreign company then the following papers must be given
a. Certificate of Incorporation
b. Memorandum and Articles of Association and
c. Shareholders or a board resolution to establish the new company.
These documents must be attested by the UAE consulate in the home country of that company and later by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in UAE.
How much does Umm Al Quwain Free Zone company formation cost?
The cost of forming the company has three components for common licenses
- License costs – depends on license category – Paid every year
- Office Lease Rent – As per the office size if take- Paid every year
- One Time costs – Establishment card, registration, and name reservation- One time
- Consultant Fees – If you choose to use one.
If you choose a single activity trading license – it is US$ 685
Whereas General Trading will cost – US$ 2603
A Consultancy license costs- US$ 685
A Premium Consultancy license costs- US$ 3973
A Micro Business Licence will cost – US$ 685
Freelancer permit will cost – US$ 685
Office rent for minimum office – desk space – is US$ 4384 per annum
Address Services for Micro Business Licence and Freelancer permit – US$ 2466
Onetime costs total up to – US$ 548
So if you choose a single activity trading license with desk office space you will pay US$ 685+ US$ 4384+ US$ 548 = US$ 5617 + Charges of the consultant if engaged.
You will get
For this sum US$ 5617 you will get – License for 1 year renewable each year, a desk space in the business centre. You will be eligible for 2 visas but visas will cost extra.
All costs are payable each year except registration charges.