Dubai has built a reputation of being an elite destination with lavish buildings and resorts. Dubai undoubtedly has a futuristic standard of living with pioneering technology and globally recognized economic dominance. The majority of its growth is attributed to the ease of doing business. Dubai is an affordable place to do business due to zero corporate tax, zero personal income tax, and zero duties on imports, exports, and re-exports. It also offers numerous cost-effective and flexible packages and facilitates the smooth running of your business that is free of trade obstacles.

The UAE has two primary jurisdictions for company formation. You can either choose between Dubai’s mainland or from its 50 free zones. Both offer varied benefits.

  • A Mainland License allows entrepreneurs to trade within the UAE’s local markets, and most businesses opt for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) set up with the license.
  • Whereas, Free zone areas are popular for businesses that deal in service provision, import/exports, etc.

Dubai has cultivated a business environment that has a robust community, innovative digital infrastructure, advanced technological tools, and well-qualified human resource potential through freezone business setup. Free zones became a potential trading ground for a wide range of commodities, including gold, diamonds, and precious metals, as well as tea, food, and industrial products. A free zone may be the ideal solution for you if your firm involves imports, exports, or re-exports. Moreover, Free zones also allow you to have entire ownership of your company. In addition, Dubai also offers a 100% tax-free environment where profits are non-taxable.

Steps to Set Up a Business in Free Zone

Following are the key steps for free zone company setup in UAE:

  • Identify the type of legal entity
  • Determine a trade name
  • Find an office space
  • Get pre-approvals,
  • Register your business
  • Get a business license

The Cost Of Setting Up a Free Zone Company in Dubai

Here are the costs associated with free zone company setup in Dubai:

Free zone license fees

Once you have registered your company, you can apply for the license by submitting the required documents and paying the license fees. License fees vary on the type of license you require depending on the primary activity of your business and the area of free zones you opt for. Licenses generally cost between AED 10,000 to AED 50,000 annually. Free Zone licenses must be renewed every one to three years, depending on the Free Zone and license you choose.

Freelancers can apply for a Freelance License via the new GoFreelance scheme from TECOM Group or Dubai South starting from AED 7,500. Non-profit licenses are available at International Humanitarian City and non-residents of Dubai can apply for a virtual company license.

Visa Renewal Fees

A visa is essential as it authorizes you as a legal investor and provides you with full legal rights to conduct business in the Dubai-free zone. The cost of a visa differs depending on whether the employee is a UAE resident or not. The general cost of visa renewal lies between AED 3000 and AED 6,000 and remains valid for up to three years. Business owners need to obtain a free zone license for their employees based on the space they choose.

Once your business is set up and running, you can apply for your own Residence Visa. Residence visas are needed to open a personal bank account, sponsor family members, rent a property, and apply for a driver’s license.

Office space and furnishing

Office costs vary depending on the location of the Free Zone. The type of office is calculated based on square footage and depends on the amount of staff you plan to accommodate. There are choices on serviced or unserviced offices, furnished or unfurnished, and payment terms can be annual or fixed-term depending on which Free Zone you select. The typical cost of office space starts around AED 15,000 to AED 20,000. You can also apply for a benefit trade license in Dubai without an office space if your business doesn’t require your physical presence.

Registration fees

You have to pay registration fees to set up your business. The registration fee begins at AED 3,500 and depends upon the type of business and free zone area you have opted for.

Cheapest free zone in Dubai

You can prefer any of the following free zones for free zone company setup in UAE:

  • Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (DTEC)
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
  • Dubai 1 Central
  • Dubai Internet City
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • Dubai South
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
  • Dubai Knowledge Park
  • Dubai Healthcare City
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
  • Dubai Media City

These are some of the cheapest free zones in Dubai. However, the right free zone for you depends on the nature of your business, the number of visas you require, and your requirement to use the premises.

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