Freezone Company in UAE: Discover How You Can Keep 100% Ownership Of Your Business
An opportunity to share in the prosperity of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the freedom of full ownership like you have in your home country
If yes, then please invest 2 minutes of your time to watch the freezone company in UAE video below. It spells out how you can benefit. Or if you prefer to read, then feel free to skip the video and go straight to the text below:
This partner is generally referred to as the Sponsor.
With the introduction of Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, in 1985 foreigners were allowed to register companies 100% owned by them.
This principle followed for all subsequent free zones.
So free zone companies became a popular form of business registration in the UAE. Now almost all Emirates have rapidly growing free zones.
Several of the free zones specialize in certain industries.
Free Zone companies have some constraints when compared to locally registered companies. Your choice of where to register will depend on your business objectives.
This article explores the business set up process for a Freezone Company in UAE.
Freezone company in UAE: Which Free Zones are there?
There are seven Emirates in the UAE and five of them have active free zones. All of them welcome foreign businesses. With the number of zones increasing, their impact on the UAE economy has deepened. By now, UAE Free Zones are home to around 10,000 companies
UAE free zones are located in the Emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi has a free zone for media and another under construction near the Airport. Dubai has the maximum number but is more expensive.
The free zones vary in their focus, set up costs and paper work needed. But the basic requirements are the same.
Freezone company in UAE: An excellent business environment for investors around the world
The Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, has created the benchmark for regulations & incentives.
Dubai has become an excellent business environment for many investors around the world. It has one of the most liberal and attractive operating conditions as far as rules and regulations are concerned.
A freezone company in UAE must be set up with careful study of what alternative zones are available.
Freezone company in UAE: Basic requirements
1. A free zone company must have a trade license in the activity of its intended business. This license must be renewed every year.
2. It must have an office in its own name in the Free Zone – rented and to be renewed every year.
3. It must have a Manager authorized to act as the legal representative of the company.
4. It must have at least one shareholder and the mandated share capital.
5. It must not trade outside the free zone without a local distributor.
Freezone company in UAE: The main benefits
- 100% foreign ownership
- 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- 100% free transfer of funds
- 100% exemption of import and export duties if you are not going to bring the goods into the UAE.
- Free zone company formation is quicker than incorporation outside of the free zones
- Easy recruitment procedures
- 25 years lease options, warehouse facilities, availability of areas for production and assembling
Freezone company in UAE: Examples
- Dubai Airport Free Zone
- Dubai Internet City
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Metal and Commodities Center
- Dubai Investment Park ( only through JAFZA )
- Dubai Silicon Oasis
- Jebel Ali Free Zone
- Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah
- Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
- Ajman Free Zone Authority
- RAKIA Free Zone in Ras Al Khaimah
- Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone
- Fujairah Free Zone
Freezone company in UAE: Limitations
A freezone company in UAE is not allowed to trade directly with the UAE market. The free zone company can undertake trading business within the UAE only through locally appointed distributors. Customs Duty of 5%, currently, is applicable for bringing the goods in for local business.
All free zones provide attractive schemes for the benefit of investors. But they are different from each other. Therefore it will be worthwhile to study the facilities offered by each, one by one.
The details mentioned below are for the guidance of investors, and the facilities are subject to change from time to time.
UAE is the only country in the Middle East where a large number of Free Trade Zones and Free Industrial Zones are available for investors who wish to gain more from their investment.
Freezone company in UAE: The following types of companies are registered
- Free Zone Establishment (FZE) (One individual share holder)
- Free Zone Company (FZCO or FZ-LLC) (More than one member)
- Branch Office
The above types may not be available in every UAE free zone. Also there will be other differences. It may be wiser to seek the advice of a company registration agent to finally arrive at the best alternatives available for a given set of business objective. They can also guide you about application procedures and documentation.
Freezone company in UAE: Procedure and costs
The procedure outlined below is typical for a freezone company in UAE. A free zone may skip or add some steps. The time taken to complete this procedure is about 28 working days from the application. Please check with your registration agent about the precise steps for your free zone.
1. The first requirement to set up a freezone company in UAE is to decide who will the shareholder. You or your home company. Normally when you have more than one shareholder the suffix is FZ-LLC otherwise it is FZE – Free Zone Establishment.
2. Thereafter you need to decide the share capital. Many free zones have the requirement for a minimum share capital. This is always given in UAE Dirhams (AED).
The share capital is per shareholder in some free zones and in others, it is total for the company. Starting from AED. 150,000 it goes up to AED. 1 million in the case of Jebel Ali Free Zone.
3. You need to decide the company name and who will be the Manager of the new company. The Manager’s name appears on the trade license. A choice of final company name is made by the free zone authorities from 3 alternatives submitted by you.
4. If your home company is the shareholder then you must get the certificate of incorporation and memorandum of association attested by the local UAE embassy. This costs time and money.
Your home company must also pass a board resolution to form the freezone company in the UAE. The board resolution must mention who the Manager will be. This resolution must also be attested.
5. Next, an application for the name and activity is made for approval. Once this is done, the application in detail must be submitted.
6. The application form for the free zone along with passport copies of the shareholders and the Manager must be submitted to the free zone authorities.
If the shareholder is a company then the company documents (attested) with the passport copies of the Manager must be submitted. Some free zones ask for a business plan in brief.
7. A preliminary approval is granted and a letter to open a bank account is issued for the investor to deposit the capital. This capital must be retained until the License is issued.
8. After depositing the capital in your bank account the bank will issue a letter. This is to be submitted to the free zone authorities to complete the legal process of registration.
This process involves payment of license and registration fees, lease rent, signing a lease deed, signing the Memorandum of Association for the new company and a resolution of the Subscribers.
Some free zones allow the process to start even before the capital is shown. The Manager authorized to sign on behalf of the investors will sign the all the legal documents.
9. Once the registration process is completed the license is issued and you are ready to start operations.
The costs for setting up a freezone company in UAE vary from free zone to free zone.
It normally comprises of
- One time registration fee and name approval charges
- Annual trade license fee
- Annual office lease rent
- Post box rent
- Immigration and Labor registration charges
- Any notarization fees
- Registration agent fees
Your business set up consultant will provide you the exact estimate. Some free zones also form a company with a standard minimum package for a single investor that offers all components of costs for a lump sum annual fee. These packages are economical.
Basically what you need is to get your Know Your Client documents ready. Pay the fees. Deposit the capital and apply. A UAE company registration agent can facilitate the process if you are not free to do this personally.
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