- What is a Free Zone in Dubai?
- Why Should you Set up a Business in Dubai Free Zone?
- List of Free Zones in Dubai
Dubai is one of the most lucrative and investor-friendly destinations in the Middle East. Its proximity and easy access to Asia and other countries make it an ideal investment hub. There are several free zones in Dubai that offer facilities for businesses to grow. As a result, Dubai has become a haven for budding startups and established multinationals alike. Let’s find out more about these Dubai free zones and what they have to offer.
What are free zones?
Essentially, free zones or free trade zones in Dubai are business zones where companies operating in them are exempt from all types taxation such as Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax, Corporate Tax and Customs. Business owners in the free zone areas in Dubai have 100% ownership of the business.
The aim of these zones is to encourage foreign investment and promote economic activity in the city. Dubai was actually the first emirate to introduce the free zone model in the UAE.
Why set up a business in any of the free trade zones in Dubai?
There are many advantages of setting up a business in a Dubai free zone. One of the biggest is 100% ownership of the business and full tax exemption. The tax exemption is an ideal option for foreign companies and business owners who want to utilise the UAE for regional manufacturing or as a distribution base.
The 100% ownership and full tax exemption in these dedicated economic zones in Dubai provide a lucrative investment opportunity for business owners.
Business owners must be mindful that to successfully register and run the business, having the right licenses and approvals is necessary. The pre-requisites of registering a company in a Dubai free zone include: determining the type of legal entity
- Choosing a trade name
- Applying for a business licence
- Renting or buying an office
- Obtaining other pre-approvals
List of Dubai Free Zones
Currently, there are 24 free zones in Dubai, each catering to specific sectors and industries. They are divided into three major categories as per the official UAE Government website and are as follows:
1. Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA)
The DCCA, now known as the Dubai Development Authority mandates the development of creative and knowledge-based industries in the city. The free zone areas in Dubai under the DCCA include:
- Dubai Internet City
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Production City
- Dubai Studio City
- Dubai Outsource City
- Dubai Knowledge Park
- Dubai International Academic City
- Dubai Science Park
- Dubai Design District (d3)
2. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority (DMCC)
Established in 2002, the DMCC Authority is the hub for global commodities trade. The free zones area in Dubai listed under DMCC include:
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers
3. Other Dubai Free Zones
These Dubai free trade zones deal with a variety of industries that range from gold and jewellery to health care and manufacturing:
- Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
- Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA)
- Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
- Dubai Healthcare City Authority
- International Humanitarian City
- Dubai World Trade Centre
- Dubai Maritime City Authority
- Gold and Diamond Park
- Dubai South
- Dubai Outsource City
- Dubai International Financial Centre
- National Industries Park (TechnoPark)
- Dubai CommerCity (DCC Free Zone)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS DUBAI COMMERCITY?
Dubai CommerCity or DCC free zone is the first e-commerce hub in Middle East Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Spread across 2.1 million square feet Dubai CommerCity is a purpose-built development that caters to the budding e-commerce industry. This particular Dubai free zone is divided into three clusters namely The Business Cluster, Logistics Cluster and Social Cluster.
DO I NEED A PARTNER TO SET UP A BUSINESS IN DUBAI FREE ZONE?
No, the biggest benefit of investing in Dubai free zone is that you are not required to get into a partnership. Investors get 100% ownership of their business.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO INVEST IN A DUBAI FREE ZONE?
Dubai free zones offer exclusive packages to help business owners. The cost of setting up a business in Dubai depends on several factors but free zones cost considerably less. Get in touch with companies like Creative Zone, Start Any Business, Make My Firm and other business setup consultants in Dubai for assistance.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREE HOLD AND FREE ZONE IN DUBAI?
Free zones should not be confused with freehold areas in Dubai. There are differences between free zone and freehold properties in Dubai. Freehold properties in Dubai offer 100% ownership of land or property to non-GCC residents. Once a buyer has purchased any freehold property, they are free to sell, lease or live on the property. Dubai free zone on the other hand are exclusively for business and usually does not include residential units.
And that concludes our quick guide. As you can see, there are many free trade zones that will help you start a business in Dubai. With the 10-year residency law and changes to UAE labour laws coming into effect in 2022, now is the perfect time for foreign business owners to register and operate as free zone companies in the city. For more options, check out the Al Hamriya free zone in Sharjah.