Forming a Dubai Free Zone Company

April 29 2019

Setting up a Dubai Free Zone company

Why startup in a Dubai Free Zone?

Dubai has over 20 free zones where investors can setup their companies. These free zones offer many initiatives, such as 100% foreign ownership and zero import/export duties for carrying out foreign trade. The zones offer excellent infrastructure, one-window clearances and packages for startups that make it more economical to setup in Dubai.

Advantages of a Dubai Free Zone company

  •           100% foreign ownership
  •           0% corporate tax for 50 years
  •           0% personal income tax
  •           100% repatriation of capital and profits
  •           0% import or re-export duties
  •           No currency restrictions
  •           No restrictions on foreign talent or employees

In addition to this, Dubai free zone companies can derive benefits from the extensive network of double-tax avoidance treaties that the United Arab Emirates has signed with countries worldwide.

Dubai offers very high standards of living and a huge expatriate community with people from over 181 nations living and working in the region.

Premium Free Zones

Dubai Airport Free Zone

Located within the city, next to the airport. Well-established as a go-to destination for air logistics companies and corporate HQs.

Licenses offered : Light Industrial | Trading | Service

Facilities : Offices | Warehouses

Recommended for : Established trading/consultancy ventures, high-growth trading startups, corporate headquarters


Excellent logistics backbone, with a man-made port and corridor to Al Makhtoum Airport, one of the world’s largest cargo airports


Licenses offered : Industrial | Trading | Service | Logistics

Facilities : Offices | Showrooms | Warehouses | Leased Land

Recommended for : Established trading/industrial ventures, high-growth trading startups.


The world’s largest free zone, with over 15,000 companies. Allows for purchase of offices and residential properties within the zone.

Licenses offered: Trading | Service | Light Industrial | Single Family Office

Facilities : Offices | Warehouses

Recommended for : Established and startup consultancies, commodity traders, representative offices, single family offices.

DWC Free Zone (Dubai South)

Located in the Dubai South development, with Al Makhtoum Airport, one of the world’s largest cargo airports, and next to the Expo 2020 site.

Licenses offered : Industrial | Trading | Service | Educational | Logistics

Facilities : Offices | Warehouses | Leased Land

Recommended for : Established logistics providers, trading companies, startup businesses

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

Among the world’s top 10 financial centers, DIFC has established itself as an onshore center of repute, and a growing lifestyle destination.

Licenses offered : Financial Services | Non-Financial Services

Facilities : Offices| Showrooms | Business Centers

Recommended for : Financial services like investment banks, financial advisors, investment funds and brokerages. Also for fintech startups, operational holding companies, high-end retail concepts.


The TECOM free zones are clusters of companies engaged in similar activities. Well managed with single-window clearance across all the free zones.


Dubai Internet City

Dubai Media City

Dubai Studio City

Dubai Design District

Dubai Knowledge Park

Dubai International Academic City

Dubai Science Park

Licenses offered : Internet | Technology based services | Media | Education | Film Production | Design | Health & Science |

DWTC Free Zone

The Dubai World Trade Center free zone is an iconic free zone that spans locations within the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre and the adjoining One Central, as well as the upcoming new Dubai Trade Centre.

Licenses offered : Trading | General Trading | Service | Event Management | Business Operating Permits

Facilities : Executive Desks | Offices

Recommended for: Consultancies, trading agencies, event management companies, startup businesses

Dubai Silicon Oasis

An integrated technology park and the ideal destination for tech-based companies and industries.

Licenses offered : Industrial | Trading | Service

Facilities : Offices | Warehouses | Leased Land

Recommended for : Technology startups, light industry, consultancy ventures, entrepreneurs.

Our recommendations – by License type

Since there are so many to choose from, here is our list of free zones that are most suited to your proposed activity. Please note that most free zones offer a wide variety of activities, so it would be best to contact us to consult on which free zone would be ideally suited to your proposed business.

Trading/Commercial Licenses – JAFZA, DMCC, DWC

Service Licenses – DMCC, DAFZA, DWC

Media Licenses – DMCC, DMC

Financial Licenses – DIFC

Industrial License – JAFZA, DSO


  •         Your company can be 100% foreign owned
  •         No upfront capital is required in most cases
  •         You can get residence visas for your employees and dependents
  •         You will pay no income or corporate tax, and you can repatriate all profits.
  •         Your business can be set up for as little as AED 30,000
  •         You will be able to get UAE residency visas for your dependants or employees.

How can I open my Dubai Free Zone company?

Here are the basic steps that are involved:

Choose your business activity – What would you like to do?

Choose the free zone – where would you like to setup?

We’ll help you decide on the business activity which best suits your business and its needs (you can have multiple business activities under one trade license). We also help you understand the total costs based on your specific package requirements.

Choose your company name

We’ll perform a quick check to make sure your name is clear to register. We can also assist you in deciding suitable alternatives.

Also read our detailed article on choosing the name of your company. 

Finalise all paperwork

We help you complete the registration paperwork. This includes KYC documents, applications, legal documents like resolutions and MOAs.


Receive your license notification

Once we receive your company license, you’ll be immediately contacted so you can come and pick up the corporate documents.

Open a bank account

You now have all the documents required to open a bank account in the name of your company. If required, we will introduce you to relationship managers in a number of local banks to make it even easier.

Process your visa

We are able to assist you with the visa application process, be it for you, your family, or your employees as well.

Post-setup formalities

Your license is the starting point, however, there are some steps that you need to complete in order to be a fully functional business. Click on the links to know more, or to contact us to help you with our services.

  1.       Making a company stampThis is essential for doing business in the UAE. Every company needs to maintain a company stamp.
  2.      Registration with the Ministry of ImmigrationObtaining an establishment card that would allow the business to apply for shareholder/investor visas.
  3.        Registration with the Ministry of LabourObtaining a labour card that would allow the business to apply for employment visas.
  4.      Opening a corporate bank accountA bank account in the name of the company. This account can be opened with any local or international bank in any emirate in the UAE.
  5.        Creating an accounting systemEvery company setup in Dubai is required to maintain accounts for filing purposes.
  6.      Creating a basic legal documents frameworkThis includes employment contracts, commercial/service contracts, non-disclosure agreements and other such legal documents. In case you maintain even a basic website, you would need the website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  7.        Branding and Website where potential customers can obtain information about your services/products and contact you electronically, or arrange to call/meet in person.

Click here to download your free guide on forming a Dubai Free Zone Company. 

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