Find the best freezone suiting your business with Alya Auditors
What is a free zone, exactly?
Free zones are geographically defined areas within the UAE (although most are not fenced or gated) that allow 100 percent foreign ownership and are usually dedicated to a single industry. They were created with public funds and feature state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate strategic change in critical industries (e.g. finance).
The Dubai Media City, for example, is a free zone in the emirate of Dubai with infrastructure and licenses tailored to the media industry’s needs. Similarly, the Dubai Worldwide Financial Centre (DIFC – see below) draws financial services organizations such as insurance, financial services, and investment firms, as well as banks looking to expand their international client base.
As a result, each free zone has its own set of restrictions in terms of minimum capital, office or warehouse space, and permissible activities, as well as the necessary licenses and legislation to enable its designated industry to thrive.
Advantages of Free Zones
Free zones have contributed to make the UAE an appealing alternative for international enterprises wishing to relocate or expand their global footprint, with more than 50 separate free zones across the UAE and many more under development. The following are some of the most typical advantages of doing business in a UAE free zone:
- 100% foreign ownership of the enterprise
- Access to world-class logistic facilities
- Availability of a large pool of multicultural, skilled professionals
- Benefits from economies of concentration (given the zones dedicated to industries)
- Ease of recruiting international employees, with all free zones providing one-stop-shop services for work visas
- Tax holidays – usually guaranteed for 15 or 50 years
- 100% import and export tax exemption
- 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- Corporate tax exemptions for up to 50 years
- Eligibility to apply for the UAE Tax Residency Certificate
Dubai International Financial Centre
The Dubai International Financial Centre is widely regarded as the region’s premier financial centre, with offices in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. The DIFC free zone differs from other UAE free zones in that it has its court and independent legislation based on English Common Law.
In addition to the features listed above, the DIFC has the following features:
- Access to laws and courts (including arbitration system) based on English Common Law;
- Access to DIFC Will and Probate Registry;
- Access to a recognised and international stock exchange with primary and secondary listings of debt and equity instruments;
- Choice of a large number of regulated, non-regulated and financial activities licences;
- A platform to access regional wealth and investment opportunities.
The DIFC provides a flexible and welcoming business ecosystem for financial enterprises looking to grow their worldwide reach, with over 65 significant funds headquartered in the DIFC and well over 2000 companies resident within its regulatory constraints.
Why select a Free Zone for my business?
It’s always a smart deal to think about starting a business in the land of opportunity. Browsing the list of the finest free zones in the UAE is a perfect way to start.
The United Arab Emirates has established itself as a centre for entrepreneurs looking to start a firm. The UAE is also a great area to invest in because of its favourable tax structure, numerous incentives, incubator schemes, and other benefits.
Setting up a business in a free zone is a great starting point. Free zones are jurisdictions that will help you grow your business and generate traffic and keep you on the correct track as an entrepreneur.
The article will inform you about the UAE’s 5 best free zones and everything you need to know about them. It will assist you in selecting the best solutions for your business needs.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
DMCC has earned a reputation as one of the UAE’s most distinguished free zones. It is regarded as the world’s number one free zone.
A single DMCC license can accommodate up to six commercial activities from the same organization. The DMCC free zone license covers not just industrial, service, and general trade, but it is also one of the only two free zones that allow crypto commodity trading. Another appealing feature of the DMCC free zone is that it is one of the few that permits entrepreneurs to obtain a dual license. Businesses with a dual license can expand their operations to the mainland or onshore.
International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
In the United Arab Emirates, IFZA is one of the most sought-after free zones. This is because, despite being new, the free zone has quickly established itself as one of Dubai’s most cost-effective business locations.
The free zone is geographically positioned and provides a cost-effective setup process. As a result, it is one of the most promising free zones for corporate development and growth. Entrepreneurs can also get a variety of licenses from IFZA; consultancy, service, e-commerce, commercial, and trading licenses are among the licenses obtainable. Another feature of the IFZA that makes it a desirable choice is that forming a company under IFZA does not make it necessary to have a real office space to begin operations.
Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
The Dubai Ports World’s flagship free zone is known as JAFZA. It is an important part of the DP World UAE integrated business hub. JAFZA is one of the UAE’s oldest free zones, having been established in 1985. It is conveniently placed near Jebel Ali Sea Port, the world’s seventh-largest container port. As a result, it is the best free trade zone for imports and exports.
JAFZA’s unique placement and progressive work practices set a standard for other free zones to follow. The jurisdiction has also received ISO certification, allowing for a greater variety of business modules.
JAFZA grants a variety of licenses, including trading, service, industrial, and even e-commerce permits.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
When it comes to a business setting, RAKEZ is one of the most popular free zones. The free zone’s strategic position is one of the most noteworthy advantages of establishing a business there. The jurisdiction is close to a seaport as well as the Ras Al Khaimah airport.
Although RAKEZ is suitable for practically all types of businesses, it is particularly well suited to those engaged in manufacturing. This is because it is one of the few free zones in the UAE that provide custom-built warehouses and industrial land parcels for construction.
Fujairah Creative City Free Zone (CCFFZ)
Fujairah Creative City Free Zone is one of the MENA region’s fastest-growing media-free zones. It provides a number of flexible choices for corporate entities to establish themselves.
Entrepreneurs can perform a wide range of commercial operations in Fujairah’s Creative City. These activities mostly focus on the media, events, consultancy, education, marketing, and other related fields. It’s also one of the few open zones that allow businesses to set up a virtual office, allowing them to work from anywhere.
As an added benefit, the company can be established without the need for a visa for the investor or employees. It also provides economical solutions for those who need a visa. Apart from being highly cost-effective it also provides the advantage of fewer efforts and documentation. The fact that entrepreneurs can get up to 20 visas under one trade license distinguishes this free zone. The fact that entrepreneurs can get up to 20 visas under one trade license distinguishes this free zone.
What can we do to help?
If you want more information about how to open a business in the free zones in the UAE, contact Alya Auditors today! We can help you open the appropriate business in the UAE. Our team is ready and waiting to help today!
We would like to thank Aishwarya Pramod for her article.