Why Set Up A Business In A UAE Free Zone?
Small Business

Why Set Up A Business In A UAE Free Zone?

If you’re looking to start a business as a foreign investor, one of the best options you have is to establish a venture in one of the free zones in the United Arab Emirates. They provide an amazing business environment as well as offer many opportunities for growth and success.

What Are the UAE Free Zones?

These free zones were set up by the country as part of its investment expansion campaign to attract foreign companies to invest in the local economy. The different free zones were designed to cater to certain industries. For instance, some specialize in software development, while others concentrate on healthcare. This is why particular facilities and their corresponding specialists tend to gather in the zone relevant to them.

Dubai, of course, has the most number of free zones, including:

  • Dubai Airport Free Zone
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
  • Dubai South Free Zone
  • Dubai Media City
  • Jebel Ali
  • Dubai Internet City

Abu Dhabi’s free zones are also very attractive to investors. The following offer a lot of advantages, from impressive facilities to fewer labor restrictions:

  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone
  • Abu Dhabi Ports Company
  • ZonesCorp

Other parts of the country also have thriving free zones, the most popular of which are:

  • Ajman Free Trade Zone Authority (AFZA)
  • Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK)
  • Sharjah Media City Free Zone (SHAMS)

What Are the Advantages of Investing in a Free Zone?

Investors are all about taking advantage of a profitable environment, and free zones provide just that. What makes them so ideal for doing business? The following are just some of the perks that businesses enjoy in a UAE free zone.

1. Foreign Investor-Friendly Environment

The country is known for being business-oriented, hence its investor-friendly approach to regulating trade and commerce. This is a very smart and sensible move. If a government wants foreigners to invest and do business in its country, it shouldn’t make the endeavor so difficult to accomplish.

The UAE wants more and more businesses and demonstrates this by making business set up in a UAE free zone (opens in a new tab/window) simple and easy to do. There are also services that offer to help you through the process, which is another reason why investing in a UAE free zone is so attractive.

These are just some of the free zone perquisites, which you/your company must meet:

  • A full proprietor of a business in a free zone.
  • Capital and profits may be fully repatriated to the state of your origin.
  • Can be exempt from personal and corporate taxes as well as from import/export taxes and customs duties.
  • May bring your employees to the UAE or hire specialists from other countries since there are fewer restrictions on recruiting labor.
  • May transfer funds for free.
  • Use any currency in your business transactions.

2. Easy Registration

You don’t have to jump through a million hoops just to register a business. The country is consistent with its goal to welcome foreign investors. You only need to submit a minimum number of documents, and you can process your application without having to suffer through bureaucratic red tape.

3. State of the Art Infrastructure

Free zones have the infrastructure necessary for carrying out all business activities. There are many available offices and warehouses for you to choose from.

Facilities required in the different industries that prevail in the free zones are also provided for the businesses that invest there. You may enjoy shared services and synergies along with other businesses in your free zone.

Which industries do many of the free zones cater to?

  • Creative industries
  • E-commerce
  • Foreign investments
  • Marketing, sales, and trade
  • Media
  • Software development

Free Zone Guidance

One of the first things you’ll have to decide is which free zone to invest in. It also happens to be the most important choice you’ll make. Setting your business up in the right free zone is key to maximizing your investment’s chance of success. For this, you need an insider’s input.

It may be comparatively easy to invest in a business in the UAE, but you still need an expert to advise and assist you in the process. You should definitely reach out to a specialist to help you make wise and informed decisions.


Raj Herry is the Founder and Chairman of Flying Colour Business Setup Services. His extensive experience comes from more than 15 years in the field of company incorporation for Dubai Mainland, all Free Zones across the UAE and offshore companies worldwide. He also owns several business centers offering furnished and ready-to-move offices in Dubai.

Image Source: Gulf News

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