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Ever considered setting up a business in the country of opportunities? Exploring the list of best free zones in the UAE is just the right first step for you.

The UAE has established itself as the hub for entrepreneurs to set up a business. The UAE is also an ideal place for investors because of its attractive tax regime, countless incentives, incubator schemes, and more.

Free zone company setup is the right place to start. Free zones are the jurisdictions that will boost your business and ensure your entrepreneurial journey is on the right track.

This blog will enlighten you about the 10 best free zones in the UAE and everything about them. It will help you pick the most suitable options for your business requirements.

What are Freezone Companies in Dubai?

A Freezone Company in Dubai is a business entity registered within a designated area known as a free zone. These free zones operate under a separate set of regulations compared to the UAE mainland and offers specific advantages to attract foreign investment and business activity.

The process of forming and registering a company in a free zone is usually streamlined compared to the mainland. There are many different free zones in Dubai, each specializing in a particular industry or sector.

Advantages of setting up a company in a free zone in the UAE:

Freezones or Free trade zones in Dubai offer certain benefits, like:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • No personal, income, or corporate taxes
  • Full repatriation of capital and profits
  • Strategic location boosting opportunities
  • Simple and quick set up process
  • World-class infrastructure
  • Exemption from all import and export duties

Best free zones in UAE: Our Top 10 Selections

1. Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)

Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)

JAFZA is named the flagship free zone of Dubai Ports (DP) World. It plays an integral role in the DP World UAE region’s integrated business hub. Built in 1985, JAFZA is amongst one of the oldest free zones in the UAE. It is strategically located near the world’s 7th largest container port named Jebel Ali Sea Port. This makes it is the most ideal free zone for import and export.

Over the years, JAFZA has created a benchmark for other free zones to follow. This is because of its unique positioning and progressive work procedures. The jurisdiction has further gained ISO certification and allows diversification of business modules.

JAFZA issues various kinds of licenses including trading license, service license, industrial license and even e-commerce. Due to its popularity and growth, JAFZA makes for an ideal free zone for multinational corporations (MNCs).

2. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

DMCC has established itself as one of the most prestigious free zones in the UAE. It is recognized globally as the world’s number 1 free zone.

DMCC has also been a major contributor to the development of trade and commerce in Dubai, making it an ideal industry to penetrate and start a business in the UAE. DMCC free zone is open to almost every business activity and offers a wide range of office solutions.

A single license issued by DMCC can hold up to 6 business activities from the same group. The license issued by DMCC free zone is not only limited to industrial, service or general trade but it is also one of two free zones that allow crypto commodities trading.

Another attractive point to note about DMCC free zone is that it is one of the few free zones that allow entrepreneurs to obtain a dual license. Dual licensing enables businesses to extend their business to mainland or onshore. In order to be eligible for a dual license, entrepreneurs will be required to obtain DMCC license and mainland license.

3. International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

IFZA is one of the most sought-after free zones in the UAE. This is because despite being relatively new, the free zone gained instant attraction for being one of the most economically free zones for company setup in Dubai.

The free zone is located strategically and offers a highly cost-effective setup process. This makes it one of the most potential free zones for business opportunities and growth. IFZA also offers an array of licenses to entrepreneurs. These licenses include consulting, service, e-commerce, commercial and trading license. 

An attractive benefit of company formation in IFZA is that it is not mandatory to have a physical office space in order to start a business. This makes it convenient for entrepreneurs who want to set up an online business because unlike other jurisdictions, they will not require to have a physical space.

4. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

DIFC is a leading financial centre in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. It provides a world-class infrastructure and regulatory framework specifically designed to attract financial institutions.

DIFC is ideal for entrepreneurs and investors in the financial services sector, including banking, insurance, asset management, and wealth management. It provides a sophisticated business environment with access to a large pool of financial professionals and expertise.

Additionally, DIFC offers tax exemptions and a streamlined regulatory process. DIFC provides a variety of business licenses specific to financial activities.

5. Fujairah Creative City Free Zone

Fujairah Creative City Free Zone

Fujairah Creative City free zone is one of the fastest-growing media free zones in the MENA region. It offers a variety of flexible options for business entities to set up.

Additionally, its rise in popularity is due to the convenience of setting up a business there. Not only is it highly economical but it is also one of the few free zones that require the least amount of effort and documentation.

Creative City in Fujairah allows entrepreneurs to conduct a wide range of business activities. These activities mainly revolve around the sectors of media, events, consulting, education, marketing and more. It is also one of the few free zones that enable entrepreneurs to have a virtual office, giving them the freedom to work on the go.

As an advantage, the company can be formed without the requirement of a visa for the investor and staff. It also offers cheap solutions for those who do need visa. What makes Fujairah Creative City stand out amongst other free zones is that the entrepreneurs can obtain up to 20 visas under one trade license.

6. Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams)

Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams)

Launched in 2017, Shams free zone is one of the few free zones in Sharjah that offer a simple and quick setup process with minimal upfront and renewal costs. Soon after, Shams has made a name for itself as the fastest growing free zone in the UAE.

Due to its hassle-free setup process and cost-effective pricing, Shams is the ideal free zone for branch companies that want to expand their business. They also have the choice to pick between LLC company formation and branch set up. The free zone also enables entrepreneurs to register without the need for attested documents.

Despite being named Sharjah Media City, the free zone is not restricted to media-related activities but also branches out to many more. Shams offers various licenses such as service, industrial, freelance, trading as well as holding license.

7. Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)

DAFZA is strategically located next to Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest passenger airport. It offers to a wide range of businesses, with a particular focus on logistics, aviation, and import-export activities.

DAFZA is popular for its excellent connectivity and ease of access to global markets. It offers world-class logistics facilities, warehousing space, and streamlined business setup process. Investors and entrepreneurs involved in import-export, aviation, or logistics will find DAFZA to be a strategic location for their business.

DAFZA provides a variety of business licenses and company formation options. It also offers excellent support services for businesses involved in trade and logistics.

8. Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)

DSO is a free zone dedicated to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It attracts businesses in areas like microelectronics, semiconductors, biotechnology, and IT services.

DSO is a hub for innovation and technology development in the region. It offers excellent infrastructure, research facilities, and a supportive ecosystem for tech startups and companies. Investors and entrepreneurs in the high-tech and innovation sectors will find DSO to be a prime location for setting up their operations.

The free zone provides a range of business licenses specific to technology and innovation activities. It also offers incubation centres, co-working spaces, and other facilities to support startups and growing businesses.

9. Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ)

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ)

Another fairly new but promising free zone with endless opportunities. Sharjah Publishing City is the first Printing and Publishing free zone in the world. The free zone caters to various business needs providing world-class infrastructure and a business-friendly environment.

Although the free zone’s core activities revolve around publishing and printing, they do allow other activities related to trading, consulting, e-commerce and IT-related businesses. A great advantage of company formation in the free zone is that it enables entrepreneurs to conduct up to 5 activities under one license without any additional fee.

Entrepreneurs who form a company in SPCFZ also have the opportunity to obtain a dual license. They also offer an array of packages for UAE residents. There are three company structures that are allowed in the free zone which are free zone establishment (FZE), free zone company (FZC) & branch company.

10 Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

RAKEZ is one of the free zones most opted for when it comes to business setup. One of the most notable advantages of setting up a business in the free zone is its strategic location. The jurisdiction is located near a seaport and is also in close proximity to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) airport.

Although RAKEZ caters to almost all business types, it is the most ideal for businesses involved in manufacturing activities. This is because it is one of the few free zones in the UAE that offers customisable warehouses and plots of industrial lands for development.

RAKEZ is one of the largest free zones in all of the emirates and allows various activities to be conducted. The activities in the free zone are divided into various categories ranging from commercial, media, e-commerce all the way to educational activities.

How to Choose the Best Free Trade Zone in the UAE?

Choosing the perfect free zone in the UAE requires careful consideration of your business’s specific needs.

Define Your Business Needs

  • What type of business will you operate? (e.g., trading, manufacturing, IT services)
  • Are there any industry-specific regulations or licenses required?

Consider Your Business Requirements

  • Do you need a physical office, warehouse, or a combination of both?
  • How many employee residence visas will you require?
  • Is proximity to airports or seaports crucial for your operations?
  • Consider costs associated with license fees, office space, and visa processing.

Consider consulting with business setup specialists in the UAE such as Shuraa. We can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs.

Set up your free zone company with Shuraa

Business registration in the UAE free zone is undeniably one of the best opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to venture into the world of business in the country. Shuraa is one of the best business setup companies in the UAE and can help you get your company registered within a week.

Shuraa ensures that the entire process of your company setup runs smoothly. Our business setup consultants will guide you through the entire process from registering your business, understanding free zone license cost, all the way to the process of obtaining approvals from the authorities.

To get started or to find out more, contact our expert consultants at +97144081900 or send a WhatsApp message on +971507775554. You can also drop in an email at [email protected] and get your queries answered in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the cheapest Freezone company in Dubai?

While cost is a consideration, focusing solely on the cheapest option might not be ideal. Free zone fees can vary depending on the license type, office space requirements, and number of visas needed.

However, some free zones generally have a reputation for being more affordable. These include the International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), and Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ). It’s essential to prioritize finding a free zone that aligns with your industry and business needs, even if it has a slightly higher cost.

That’s why we recommend getting expert consultation from one of our free zone company formation experts in the UAE.

2. What reputation does the Free Zone have with local banks?

A free zone’s reputation with local banks can impact your ability to secure financing. Established free zones typically have a strong reputation and good relationships with banks. Researching the free zone’s experience with financing or contacting the free zone authority or consultant for guidance is recommended.

3. What kind of support services do Free Zones offer?

Free trade zones often provide a range of support services to assist businesses with setup and operations. These can include:

  • Company formation assistance
  • Business licensing procedures
  • Visa processing support
  • Networking events and workshops
  • Access to mentorship programs or incubation centers

The specific support services offered will vary depending on the free zone.

4. Can I own 100% of my company in a Free Zone?

Yes, a significant advantage of Free Zones in the UAE is that you can typically own 100% of your company. This allows you full control over your business operations and decision-making.

5. Can I easily obtain visas for my employees in a Free Zone?

Most free zones offer streamlined visa processing compared to the UAE mainland. The ease of obtaining visas can vary depending on the free zone and the number of visas you require.

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