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Dubai – the city of dreams, a place where everyone wants to make it big! The emirate is a magnet for the world’s brightest minds, a global commercial hub that offers opportunities and a friendly environment for businesses to thrive through the UAE markets. With a Dubai Free Zone Visa, entrepreneurs can tap into these business opportunities and enjoy the benefits of operating in one of the world’s most favourable business environments.

The hyper-connected city is an epicenter for trillions of dollars of business and investment in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond. Its geographical global location, combined with business-friendly policies and future-forward infrastructure, have shaped Dubai into a leading global trade, finance and e-commerce powerhouse.

Dubai’s Free Zones especially are known for their business-friendly environment and numerous incentives for companies looking to establish a presence in the region. One key aspect of setting up a business in a Dubai Free Zone is obtaining a Free Zone Visa, which allows individuals to live and work in the UAE while operating their business.

So, let’s understand the importance of Dubai Free Zone Visas & how to obtain one.

What is a Free Zone Visa in UAE?

A free zone visa in Dubai is a residence visa that allows individuals to live and work within designated free zone areas. These zones offer significant tax benefits and streamlined regulations compared to the mainland. For example, businesses can operate without paying taxes and face no customs duties or restrictions, making these zones highly attractive to entrepreneurs and investors.

When considering setting up a business in Dubai, the benefits of the free zones stand out. The simplified regulatory environment and financial advantages make it an appealing choice for many looking to start or expand their ventures in the UAE.

There are different types of free zone visas, but the most common one is tied to employment with a company operating in a free zone.

Here are some key things to know about Dubai Free Zone Visas:

  • Issued for working and living within a specific free zone
  • Offers tax benefits and business freedom within the free zone
  • Valid for one, two, or three years typically
  • Requires a medical test and Emirates ID application

Types of Dubai Free Zone Visa

Dubai Free Zone Visas cater to various needs, providing tailored solutions for investors, employees, students, and dependents within Dubai’s thriving free zone ecosystem.

1. Investor visa

An investor visa is ideal for foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up a business or invest in a company within a Dubai free zone. Eligibility typically involves a minimum investment amount in the free zone, possession of a business license, and sometimes a business plan. This visa allows for residency rights and can often be extended for several years.

2. Employment Visa

This is the most common type of Dubai Free Zone Visa, issued to employees working for companies registered within a free zone. The visa duration can range from one to three years, depending on the free zone and employment contract. Companies usually sponsor this visa for their employees, and eligibility is based on having a valid job offer and meeting any educational or salary requirements set by the free zone.

3. Partner/Investor Visa (with Business Visit Visa)

This visa type combines elements of the investor visa and allows some flexibility. It might be offered to partners in a free zone company, alongside business visit visa privileges. Business visit visas allow short stays within Dubai for business purposes but don’t grant residency rights.

4. Student Visit Visa (University and Institution)

This visa is offered by some free zones with universities or educational institutions within their area. It allows students enrolled in these institutions to reside in Dubai for their studies. 

5. Dependent Visa

This visa allows family members (spouse and children) of existing free zone visa holders (investors or employees) to reside in Dubai. The sponsor of the visa application needs to meet specific income requirements set by the free zone authority.

Eligibility Criteria for a Free Zone Visa

The eligibility criteria for a Dubai Free Zone Visa depend on how you’ll be associated with the free zone:

  • Most free zones require a minimum investment in a company registered within the zone.
  • You’ll need a valid business license issued by the free zone authority.
  • You typically need to be 18 years old (with some exceptions for company owners).
  • Your passport should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining.
  • Passing a medical test is mandatory.

How to Get a Dubai Free Zone Visa? Step-by-step Process

Getting a Dubai Free Zone Visa typically involves several steps, including:

1. Choose your Free Zone

Dubai has several free zones, each catering to different types of businesses. Popular free zones include:

Research different free zones to find one that aligns with your business activity and offers the visa type you need (ownership, employment, etc.).

2. Register for E-Channel Services

Most free zones operate an online e-channel system for visa applications. You’ll need to register on this portal with the help of your company or the free zone authority. The purpose is to subtract from the tedious paperwork and make the application procedure swift and simple.

A mandatory registration fee of AED 2,500/- must be paid to start the registration process. Dubai Freezone visa cost varies as per the package.

3. Entry Permit / Employment Visa

Once registered, you’ll initiate the application for an entry permit or employment visa. This can be done electronically through the e-channel. The company you’ll be working for might assist you with this step as well.

Required documents typically include your passport copy, photographs, a copy of the company’s trade license, and the Immigration Establishment Card.

This is a temporary visa valid for 60 days. Generally, an Entry permit is issued in 15 days. You can apply for a fast-track process to receive the permit in 5-7 days.

4. Dubai Free Zone Visa Stamping

Visa stamping is the process of activating your entry permit. To do this, you can either submit your passport for stamping to immigration in the UAE, present your visa to immigration at an airport when entering the UAE, or leave the UAE by land and have your permit stamped upon re-entry.

There are three main scenarios for visa stamping depending on your location:

  1. In-Country Process: If you’re already in the UAE, the company will submit your visa application for stamping with the immigration department. The processing time usually takes 3-5 days and involves paying stamping fees.
  1. Out-Of-The-Country Process: If you’re applying from outside the UAE, you’ll receive the visa electronically after approval. You can then activate it upon arrival at a Dubai airport immigration counter.
  1. Border Run Process: This method (not recommended due to potential complications) involves exiting the UAE to a neighbouring country and re-entering with your visa to get it stamped.

5. Medical Fitness Test and Emirates ID Registration

You’ll need to undergo a medical fitness test at a designated medical center approved by the free zone authority. This involves a blood test and chest X-ray. With the medical test results, you can apply for an Emirates ID, which is a mandatory national identity card for UAE residents.

6. Residence Visa Stamping

Once you have your Emirates ID, you can collect your residence visa with a stamped passport from the immigration department or designated typing center.

If you’re planning to bring your family, your existing visa will allow you to sponsor them for dependent visas. The process typically involves additional documents and fees.

Dubai Freezone Visa Benefits

Discover the top benefits of obtaining a Dubai Free Zone Visa and how it can enhance your business operations:

1. Tax Haven

Free Zone Visas come with significant tax exemptions. You’ll enjoy zero income and corporate taxes, with no import or export duties to worry about. This translates to substantial savings and greater profitability for your business.

2. Full Ownership

Gone are the days of needing a local Emirati partner. With a Free Zone Visa, you can establish and own your company 100% as a foreign investor.

3. Financial Freedom

A Free Zone Visa opens doors to a world of financial opportunities. You’ll be eligible to open bank accounts in the UAE, easily transfer funds, and access various financial services to support your business endeavours.

4. Business Simplicity

Free Zones offers streamlined business setup processes. You’ll have access to modern office spaces, with the option to lease for extended periods, providing a stable base for your operations.

5. Simplified Visa Process

Obtaining visas for employees and dependents becomes easier with a free zone visa sponsorship. This allows you to build a strong team and relocate your workforce efficiently.

Shuraa Streamlines Your Dubai Free Zone Visa and Business Setup

Getting a Free Zone Visa in Dubai is a great choice for anyone looking to take advantage of the city’s booming economy. With benefits like 100% foreign ownership, tax breaks, and easy business setup, free zones are an ideal option for investors from around the world.

However, to make things even easier, it’s smart to get help from experts. At Shuraa Business Setup, we handle everything for you. From picking the right free zone to getting your business license, managing paperwork, handling legal stuff, and helping with visas, we’ve got you covered.

If you want a stress-free way to get a Free Zone Visa in the UAE, Shuraa Business Setup is just a call away. Contact us today at +971 4 4081900, via WhatsApp at +971 50 7775554, or by sending an email to [email protected].

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Date: July 26th, 2024
Time: 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM