UAE Free Zone Company Setup Benefits, Top Free Zones and Their Main Licensed Activities


With 40+ free zones, UAE has built a specific commercial hub for each free zone. Choosing one of the many free zones, each with its attractive features and benefits can be a stressful task. However, with business consultants specialized for free zone company setup, you can avoid all the hassles and choose the best according to your requirements. They help you with all stages, right from creating a solid business plan to marketing.

There is also a misconception among people for free zone companies. Many confuse free zone companies with offshore companies. Despite many similarities, both are completely different types of companies with different regulations and benefits.

Every free zone is governed by an independent Free Zone Authority (FZA), responsible for issuing business operating licenses and regulating the activities of companies running within the free zone. 

The reason behind the popularity of free zone company setup is a long list of benefits that (mostly) are not available with mainland company setups.

Here is a list of a few benefits that you can enjoy in free zones:

  • 100% foreign ownership – no sponsor or local partner is required.
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits –  freedom to send your full capital and profit to your own country back
  • 100% tax exemption on corporate and personal income – no need to pay taxes on the income you earn at the personal and corporate level.
  • Absence of currency restrictions – no need to follow foreign exchange regulations
  • Wide range of licensable activities – freedom to choose from several business activities
  • Inexpensive and abundant energy – you will save on and won’t face issues related to electricity
  • Excellent communication network – please elaborate, which kind of communications are we talking about
  • Logistic efficiency – you won’t face difficulties in import, export, and shipping related activities
  • Serviced desks and offices – fully (and partially) furnished business facilities for SMEs and startups          
  • Excellent support services – your issues will be addressed and resolved quickly
  • Hassle-free registration – takes up to only three days
  • Easy employee hiring process – no restriction on hiring expats
  • Liberal visa regulations – you can easily avail residency visa for you and your family, and can also sponsor (limited number) employees

The type of business activity (you are planning to do) has a major influence on which free zone options you have.

The top free zones and their main license activities are as follows:

  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA): Trading, General Trading, Logistics, Service, and Industrial
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): Commodities Trade and Exchange
  • Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC): Legal, Banking and Financial Services
  • Dubai World Central (DWC): Aviation, Ancillary, Logistics, and Light Industry
  • Dubai Media City (DMC): include example
  • Dubai Internet City (DIC): Internet and Communications, Technology
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO): Information Technology, Telecom, Electronics, and Engineering
  • Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP): Training, Personal Development, and Human Resource Management
  • Dubai Healthcare City (DHC): Medical Education and Research, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Equipment
  • Ras-Al-Khaimah (RAK): Service, General Trading, Trading, Industrial, and Educational
  • Fujairah Creative City (FCC): Media, Consulting, Communications, Design, and Technology

This is just the beginning. There are endless possibilities and opportunities when it comes to free zone company setup

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