A Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is an area of a country where some normal trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas are eliminated and bureaucratic requirements are lowered in hopes of attracting new business and foreign investments. Free trade zones can be defined as labor intensive manufacturing centers that involve the import of raw materials or components and the export of factory products.
Establishing a business entity in one of the UAE’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) can be an attractive option for foreign investors. Main activities for a Free Zone companies are trading, consultancy and manufacturing. The Free Zones have been successful in attracting a large number of companies and foreign direct investment, as well as expanding net non-oil exports
The core advantages on setting up business in a free zone are:
- 100 % foreign ownership of the enterprise
- 100 % cent repatriation of capital and profits
- No corporate taxes
- No personal income taxes
- No trade barriers or quotas
- Infrastructure and facilities for Industrial and Commercial purposes
- Simple Import, Export Policies
- No restrictions on hiring expatriates
- 3 years UAE resident visa
More than 35 different Free Zones are located in each of seven UAE’s emirates, accordingly we can recommend one or another FZ, depending on business conditions, visas and office requirements and, certainly, on investment budget. Moreover we’ll help you quickly and competently to register a new entity or branch of existing company including the preparation of full documentation and administration process.
UAE Free Zones Legal Structures:
- Free Zone Establishment -New business entity with a sole business owner (Individual or Corporate)
- Free Zone Company - New business entity owned by 2 – 5 partners (Individual or Corporate)
- Subsidiary Company - New Business entity owned by corporate shareholder
- Local Branch - Branch of a domestic firm residing in the UAE.
- Foreign Branch - Branch of a foreign firm residing outside the UAE.
UAE Free Zones License Categories:
- Commercial/Trading License
- General Trading License
- Consultancy/Services License
- Industrial License
However, licenses for some categories of business require approval from certain Ministries and other authorities: for example, banks and financial institutions from the Central Bank of the UAE; insurance companies and related agencies from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce; manufacturing from the Ministry of Finance and Industry; and pharmaceutical and medical products from the Ministry of Health.
Free Zones Important Information:
- Every company operating within Free Zone is required to obtain a business license. A business license (also known as a trade license) is a time-limited permit granted to a company to undertake commercial, consulting or industrial activities within the free zone.
- Companies licensed by Free Zones are not authorized to do business in the UAE market, therefore a local agent or distributor has to be specially appointed for carrying out business activities in the UAE market.
- Each license is valid for one year, starting from the date of issue, and must be renewed annually.
- Some of UAE Free Zones require to provide an annual audit report.
- Some of UAE Free Zones require Minimum paid up Share Capital to be presented on the time of company formation in order to receive Business License. Amount of the Share Capital depends on free zone requirements. The paid up Share Capital should be deposited to the bank at least for one week after the registration on time of submission documents for Business License.
Fee Zone Facilities:
- Business offices/premises provided by Free Zone can be customized to suit your needs or provided in ready-to-move conditions.
- Flexi desk/office facilities are ideal business solutions for companies looking for a fast and cost-effective business set-up, however are limited by visas requirements for shareholders or managers of the new entity.
- Various warehouses suitable for storage of goods, light manufacturing and assembly, available for lease on a year-round or limited time basis. Warehouses can be ready move in or can be customized to suit your needs.
- Different plots of land, designated for industrial, logistic and service industry purposes are offered for short or long lease terms.
- Labor Accommodation can be provided by Free Zone authority on special price and conditions.
Bank account is definitely one of the most important company’s requisite. UAE is a home place of different International and local banks, providing a wide range of services and facilities, such as corporate & personal accounts, accounts for non residents, online banking, debit/credit cards, cheque books and locker facilities.
Immigration file opening
Any Business entity registered in UAE free zone can provide visa sponsorship to shareholders or staff of the company in order to start process of business operation in the UAE. It is important to know that each entity must open a corporate file in UAE Immigration prior to applying for visas.
The number of visas that can be issued to a company is dependent on the scale of operation, type and size of facility, type of license and activity undertaken. Resident visa can be provided for three years of permanent residence in UAE. In case if resident visa holder traveling a lot he should enter the country every 6 month from the date of last exit in order to maintain visa validity. There are different types of visas that can be applied, depending upon their individual requirement and eligibility criteria:
- Employment Visas (Investors, Manager or Employee)
- Family Visas (Wife/Husband and Kids Resident Visa)
- Visit Visas
Chamber of commerce registration.
Dubai Chamber; also known as Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, was established in 1965 to represent, support, and protect the Dubai business community. Anyone who establishes a commercial license within Dubai (excluding free zone areas), automatically becomes a member of Dubai Chamber. Companies within free zones do have the option to become a member of Dubai Chamber.
Today, Dubai Chamber does this by providing products, services, and initiatives that:
- Support the business community in their commercial activities.
- Open doors to untapped global and local opportunities.
- Shaping practices and policies in Dubai to make it the international business hub of choice.
The products, services, and initiatives that Chamber of Commerce provides:
- Members Services (Certificates of Origin, Attestations, Memberships)
- Credit Rating
- Members’ Information & Commercial Directories
- Data & Research Information
- Legal Consultancy
- Alternate dispute resolutions (Mediation, Reconciliation, & Arbitration)
- Center for Responsible Business to promote best business practices
- MRM Business Award
- Business Networking & Business Matching
- Trade & Business Development
- Library & E-Library
Registration in Customs
All companies that wish to declare Customs declarations for themselves or their clients for the import, export or transshipment of goods or handling of the same in Dubai are required to be registered with Dubai Customs. In order to import or export good company should have import and export code from Dubai Customs. The same principles apply in other emirates
Dubai Customs provides complete registration services online. The companies intending to get registered with Dubai Customs need to apply online and receive the approval electronically after review of application and payment collection by the Customs authorities. In order to register with Dubai Customs, the particular user needs to have a Residence Visa unless he is a UAE National or GCC National.