To set up a company in one of the Free Zones in the United Arab Emirates, has the advantage that the company remains 100% in your possession. A local sponsor is not necessary in this case.
All advantages at one glimpse:
The small disadvantage with a Freezone is that you are officially not allowed to do solely business within the UAE, except with other Free Zone companies. In other words, if you generate business mainly within the UAE, you should opt for a mainland LLC license or appoint a local agent within the UAE.
NO PHYSICAL PRESENCE REQUIRED!
The International Freezone Authority (IFZA) has been in existence since August 2018 and is one of the cheapest and fastest. Also, it has the advantage that, provided you have been to the Emirates and can present an entry stamp, you can electronically sign. Your physical presence in the UAE will be necessary only for the residence visa and bank account opening. The visa processing is probably the fastest and the Freezones has agreements with various banks.
Annual license cost starting at AED11,500
The Ras Al Khaimah Freezone (RAKEZ) is one of the oldest and most popular Freezones in the UAE. It is located in the northern part of the country within an hours drive of Dubai. Currently the RAK Free ZOne accommodates almost 8 000 companies. Ras Al Khaimah is one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE and it has its own sea port and airport which is convenient as it provides fast and convenient logistics.
Annual License Cost starting at AED 15,000
The most sought after is probably the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC). It is the largest UAE Free Zone at the moment. It features the most prestigious location in Dubai, the Jumeirah Lakes Towers district.
DMCC is a strategic hub for companies that deal with commodities such as gold, tea, pearls, precious stones, and more. There are currently more than 14000 companies at DMCC.
Annual License Cost starting at AED 68,000
Due to its unique license recognized by all international banks, this Freezone is very popular with financial institutions. However, the start-up process is very time-consuming and in order to obtain a license, one must be able to present a solid basic company structure and finances. In addition to the license, you have to rent an office in one of the business centers, so the license price increases depending on the size of the office.
Annual license cost starting at AED 100,000
The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) is a very prestigious and advanced Free Zone located right beside the Dubai International Airport. DAFZA provides tax exemptions, investor incentives, and no currency restrictions, making it one of the UAE´s most attractive Free Zones. It comes with a higher price tag but offers a very prestigious surrounding and office space and is particularly suitable for companies who are interested in a top location and infrastructure.
Annual license cost starting at AED 130,000
The Free Trade Zone of Sharjah is part of a large seaport with all the necessary facilities for importing / exporting goods from or to the world. It is only half an hour drive from Dubai and is also one of the cheaper freezones. However, there are strong restrictions since the end of 2018 and you only get a residence visa with difficulties. We do not recommend this Freezone anymore because many customers had problems opening a corporate bank account.
The Umm Al Quwaim Free Zone is initially slightly cheaper than other Free Zones and is therefore popular with business owners who do not need a big name, but later on, extra costs might be discovered. It's also one of the Emirate´s youngest freezones, so sometimes the procedure takes a little longer and does not work as smoothly as larger free zone providers.
Annual license cost starting at AED 16,000
The Jebel Ali Freezone Authority exists since 1985 and is a free economic zone in the Jebel Ali area at the western end of Dubai, near Abu Dhabi. Founded after a ruler's decree, Jafza began operations in 1985 with standard-sized office units and warehouses to provide finished facilities to customers. It has an adjacent port and is especially popular with trading companies.
Annual license cost starting at AED 60,000
The Dubai Internet City (DIC) is a community of startups, entrepreneurs, presenters and Fortune 500 companies. The Freezone is the largest ICT hub in the Middle Eastern region with liberal regulations that facilitate business success.
The Freezone DIC supports entrepreneurs, strengthens SMEs and thus attracts international ICT executives to Dubai. This Freezone community accesses a rich ecosystem of nimble service providers, knowledge workers, and expertise from all around the world.
Annual license cost starting at AED 65,000