UAE - Free Zone Entities

Incorporating and registering a Free Zone Entity in the UAE is ideal for individuals who intend to set up, license and operate/run their company within the UAE. There are a large number of free zones within the UAE, the majority of which are located within Dubai. Examples of free zones within Dubai are namely, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (‘DMCC’), Dubai International Financial Centre (‘DIFC’), Jebel Ali Free Zone (‘JAFZA’) and Dubai Airport Free Zone (‘DAFZA’). Examples of other free zones not in Dubai but within the UAE are namely, Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (‘RAK FTZ’), Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (‘SAIF’) and Fujairah Free Zone (‘FFZ’).

Michael Kyprianou (Middle East) DMCC has been registered and licensed in accordance with the laws of the DMCC Authority. In reference to what has already been indicated, DMCC is the largest and fastest growing free zone in the region and has been recognised as a major player in the global commodities markets. It is located in the heart of Dubai and it provides the right tools and innovative platforms (such as, prime location, legal and regulatory frameworks, industry clusters, flexible office solutions, freehold property and dependable customer support) to succeed in the world’s current markets.

Basic requirements/features for registering a free zone entity are as follows:

  1. Choosing from either incorporating/registering a free zone establishment or a free zone company (depending on the number of shareholders) or simply establishing a branch or representative office;
  2.  A valid registration and license is required so as to enable the company to operate within the free zone. Licenses are normally categorised as trading, service and industrial and are issued by the relevant free zone authority covering the activity of the company’s intended business;
  3.  Trade licenses are valid for one year and hence, must be renewed annually;
  4. Leasing, under the company’s name, an office within the relevant free zone. Duration of the rental agreements are for one year and must be renewed annually;
  5. Appointment of a manager (the shareholder is normally appointed as manager of the company) who will be authorised to act as representative of the company; and
  6. Doing business only within the designated free zone area, unless a commercial agent or distributor is retained enabling the company to engage with onshore UAE clients.

Certain benefits for incorporating/registering a free zone entity are as follows:

  1. 100% foreign business ownership, without the need for a local partner;
  2.  No system of federal income taxation and thus 0% corporate and personal income tax;
  3. 100% capital repatriation;
  4. Robust legal and regulatory frameworks;
  5. A full range of business activities are permitted, provided that the required license is issued covering the activity of the company’s intended business;
  6. Variety of freehold, commercial and residential property for sale or lease at competitive prices within the free zones;
  7. Flexible office solutions are normally available that include ‘plug and play’;
  8. Efficient set up processes;
  9. Easy recruitment procedures; and
  10. Easy immigration services that include the issuance of visas and other government permits.