Dubai free zone business guide for 2022


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Dubai is one of the world’s most popular business and startup hubs for a reason. In fact, for many reasons. As well as its excellent location, open business environment and attractive tax regime, it is also home to several UAE free zones.

These zones offer fast and affordable company formation in the UAE, along with a host of other benefits. In this Dubai free zone business guide, I’ll cover the main benefits and considerations when starting a business in this way, including:

  • What is a free zone in Dubai?
  • Benefits of a Dubai free zone licence
  • Steps to start a business in a Dubai free zone
  • Cost of opening a free zone company in Dubai
  • List of Dubai Free Zones
  • Why start your company with Set Hub?

What is a free zone in Dubai?

It would not be a Dubai free zone business guide if we did not start with the basics. So, what is a free zone?

Free zones are designated economic areas developed to facilitate the trade of goods and services within the UAE and beyond. There are tens of free zones across the UAE, with many located in Dubai.

Dubai free zones offer a number of benefits to the entrepreneurs and businesses that set up within them. On top of this, many are tailored to specific industries and professions such as media, technology, wholesale, retail or healthcare.

Free zone businesses are free to trade within their designated zone and overseas. They can also work with service agents and distributors to trade directly with the local UAE market.

Benefits of a Dubai free zone licence

All free zones offer several top-level benefits to their inhabitants. Most notably, these include 100% foreign ownership in all cases, 100% customs tax exemption, zero currency restrictions, and the freedom to repatriate all capital and profits.

This is, of course, in addition to the many incredible benefits of starting a business anywhere in Dubai. Like the rest of the UAE, Dubai is still a low tax environment with personal and corporate income tax standing at 0%. VAT is also low at just 5%.

Dubai is also well connected with the rest of the world via land, air and sea, while its time zone overlaps with most major business hubs. This makes it the perfect location for global trade.

Steps to start a business in a Dubai free zone

The first step when starting a free zone business in Dubai is to partner with a local expert. We can handle the entire process for you, liaising with all relevant authorities and managing applications on your behalf.

So, if you’ve found this Dubai free zone business guide useful, get in touch with Set Hub to get started.

Step 1 – Choose your business activities

Before doing anything else, it is a good idea to clearly outline your intended business activities as this can have an impact on where and how you set up. Certain activities are better suited to certain free zones while others may require a different legal entity altogether.

Once we have taken the time to get to know your plans, we will advise on the most suitable way forward.

Step 2: Select your company name

Another step worth ticking off early is your company name selection. Here in Dubai, you must avoid blasphemy and you cannot include the name of any other well-known entity. Also, if you are intending to name your company after yourself, you must use your full name rather than your initials.

It is best to put forward several options just in case your first preference is no longer available. Once again, Set Hub can handle this process for you.

Step 3: Select your free zone

We will work with you to find the free zone most suited to your needs. This will depend on the size, setup and nature of your business activities. For example, if you are an exporter, you will be better suited to a free zone with direct port and airport links.

Step 4:  Apply for you trade licence

With these decisions made, you can apply for your trade licence. This should be made directly to the managing authority of your chosen free zone. You have several options here. You could apply for a commercial, e-commerce, general trading, industrial or professional services licence.

Set Hub can handle this process for you, ensuring that all forms and documents are in order before submission. This will help to reduce delays and unnecessary complications.

Step 5:  Apply for your visa

Finally, you will need a visa to live and work in Dubai. Many free zones offer visas as part of their licence packages.

As part of the application process, you will need to undergo a medical, blood test and chest X-ray. Once you have your visa, you can sponsor others for theirs too; this includes domestic staff and family members such as your spouse or children.

Cost of opening a free zone company in Dubai

The cost of opening a free zone company in Dubai starts at AED 12,500 with Meydan Free Zone, which is currently the most affordable free zone licence in Dubai. This price may change depending on the size and nature of your business as well as your visa requirements.

For a full and personalised quotation, contact the team at Set Hub.

List of Dubai Free Zones

  1. Dubai Academic City
  2. Dubai Aid City
  3. Dubai Airport Free Zone
  4. Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park
  5. Dubai Carpet Free Zone
  6. Dubai Cars & Automotive Zone
  7. Dubai Design Centre
  8. Dubai Energy City
  9. Dubai Flower Centre
  10. Dubai Healthcare City
  11. Dubai Industrial City
  12. Dubai International Financial Centre
  13. Dubai Internet City
  14. Dubai Knowledge Village
  15. Dubai Logistics City
  16. Dubai Maritime City
  17. Dubai Media City
  18. Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre
  19. Dubai Outsource Zone
  20. Dubai Silicon Oasis
  21. Dubai Studio City
  22. Dubai Techno Park
  23. Dubai Textile City
  24. Gold & Diamond Park
  25. International Humanitarian City
  26. International Media Production Zone
  27. Jebel Ali Free Zone
  28. Meydan Free Zone

Why start your company with Set Hub?

Whether you’re looking for a general trading licence, free zone setup or LLC company formation in Dubai, Set Hub is your perfect partner.

As the experts in all things business setup in Dubai, we’re best place to understand your unique requirements and find a solution to suit. We can assist with every step of the process, from outlining your activities and company name to managing application and assisting with the visa process.

See this amazing service for yourself – get in touch today to take the first steps toward running your Dubai free zone business.