3 June, 2024

How to Register Company in Dubai Freezone

register company in dubai freezone

Registering company in a Dubai Freezone offers numerous benefits, including 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified setup procedures. The process, while streamlined, requires attention to detail to ensure compliance with local regulations. Here’s an updated guide to help you navigate the process efficiently.

how to register company in dubai freezone

How to Register a Company in Dubai Freezone?

Registering a company in a Dubai Free Zone offers numerous benefits, such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified processes. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth registration process:

Step 1: Choose Your Business Activities

Determine the nature of your business activities. This decision is crucial for selecting the appropriate free zone for your company registration.

Freelancing vs. Free Zone Company: If you’re considering freelancing, note that not all free zones offer freelance permits. On the other hand, setting up a free zone company provides more options, including specialized zones.

Legal Entity: Choose between a Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Establishment (FZE).

Step 2: Pick a Company Name

Select a name that complies with UAE naming regulations. Ensure it is unique and adheres to the specific rules set by the government. Once approved, reserve the name with the Department of Economic Development (DED) or the relevant free zone authority.

Step 3: Make Your License Application

Prepare and submit the necessary documents for your license application:

  • Filled application form
  • Business plan copy
  • Passport copies of shareholders

Submit these to the respective free zone authority. The review process typically takes about a week, but additional documents may be required depending on the free zone.

Step 4: Apply for Initial Approval

Obtain initial approval from the free zone authority. This involves a background check and preliminary consent to proceed with your business setup.

Step 5: Lease Office Space

Choose and lease office space within the free zone. Options range from flexi-desks to full-fledged commercial offices. Secure the lease and obtain an Ejari (tenancy contract).

Step 6: Obtain Your Business License

After receiving initial approval and securing office space, complete the freezone company registration process. Submit final documents and pay the necessary fees to receive your business license.

Step 7: Commence Visa Applications

Start the visa application process for yourself, your employees, and any domestic staff. This includes:

  • Personal UAE residence visa
  • Employment visas for staff

Step 8: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Open a corporate bank account tailored to your free zone business operations. This is essential for managing your finances and conducting business activities. Be prepared for a thorough KYC (Know Your Customer) process and ensure you meet the bank’s eligibility criteria.

 

Benefits of Registering Company in a Dubai Free Zone

1. 100% Foreign Ownership

Free zone companies can be entirely owned by foreign investors without the need for a local sponsor.

2. Tax Exemptions

Enjoy full exemptions from import and export taxes, personal income taxes, and corporate taxes.

3. Simplified Business Setup

The registration process is streamlined, with dedicated support from free zone authorities.

4. World-Class Infrastructure

Free zones offer state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to support various business activities.

5. Strategic Location

Dubai strategic location provides excellent connectivity by air, sea, and land, facilitating global trade.

6. Comprehensive Support Services

Free zones provide business support services, including networking opportunities, administrative support, and access to professional services.

By following these steps and understanding the benefits, you can successfully register your company in a Dubai Free Zone, leveraging the region’s business-friendly environment to thrive in the global market.

 

How long does it take to register a free zone company in Dubai?

The timeframe for registering a free zone company in Dubai varies based on several factors, including the chosen free zone, the type of business activity, and the efficiency of the registration process. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete the setup. Some free zones offer expedited services that can significantly reduce the setup time. It’s essential to consult with the specific free zone authority and business setup service providers for accurate and up-to-date information regarding the timeline for your particular case.

Steps to Set Up a Free Zone Company in Dubai

Step 1: Initial Approval

Start by obtaining initial approval from the free zone authority. This involves submitting basic information about your business and the intended activities. Approval typically takes a few days.

Step 2: Submit Registration and License Fees

Once you have the initial approval, you will need to pay the registration and license fees. This step also involves submitting additional documentation, such as a business plan, passport copies of shareholders, and a completed application form.

Step 3: Lease Office Space

Secure a lease for office space within the free zone. This is a mandatory requirement and will involve obtaining an Ejari (tenancy contract).

Step 4: Finalize Documentation

Submit all necessary documents to the free zone authority. These typically include:

  • Initial approval letter
  • Filled application form
  • Passport copies of shareholders
  • Business plan
  • Proof of office lease (Ejari)

Step 5: Receive Business License

Once all documents are submitted and fees are paid, the free zone authority will process your business license. This can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the free zone.

Step 6: Apply for Visas

Begin the visa application process for yourself, your employees, and any domestic staff. This includes obtaining residence visas and work permits.

Step 7: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Open a corporate bank account in Dubai tailored to your business needs. This step may take some time, as banks will conduct thorough due diligence.

 

FAQ: Registering a Company in a Dubai Free Zone

What is a Dubai Free Zone?

Dubai free zones are special economic zones offering tax concessions and customs duty benefits to expatriate investors. They are designed to attract foreign investment and promote business activities by providing a business-friendly environment.

What are the benefits of setting up a company in a Dubai Free Zone?

  • 100% Foreign Ownership: Unlike mainland companies, free zone entities allow full ownership by foreign investors.
  • Tax Exemptions: Enjoy corporate tax exemptions for a certain period, renewable.
  • Repatriation of Profits: Full repatriation of profits and capital.
  • Customs Benefits: No import or export duties within the free zones.
  • Efficient Setup: Streamlined and straightforward company registration process.
  • Strategic Location: Access to global markets via world-class infrastructure and logistics.

What types of companies can be established in a Dubai Free Zone?

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC): Suitable for medium to large businesses with multiple shareholders.
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE): Ideal for single shareholders looking to establish a presence in the free zone.

How long does it take to set up a company in a Dubai Free Zone?

The setup process typically takes between a few weeks to a few months, depending on the chosen free zone, the nature of the business activities, and the efficiency of the registration process. Some free zones offer expedited services to speed up the process.

What documents are required to register a company in a Dubai Free Zone?

  • Filled Application Form: Basic company information.
  • Business Plan: Detailed outline of the business operations and goals.
  • Passport Copies: For all shareholders and managers.
  • Initial Approval Letter: From the free zone authority.
  • Lease Agreement: Proof of office space within the free zone.
  • Additional Documents: May vary depending on the free zone and business type.

Can I operate my business outside the free zone?

Free zone companies are generally restricted to operating within the free zone or outside the UAE. To trade directly within the UAE mainland, a free zone company would need to work through a local distributor or establish a branch office on the mainland.

What is the process to register a company in a Dubai Free Zone?

  1. Choose Business Activities: Determine the nature of your business to select the appropriate free zone.
  2. Select Legal Entity: Decide whether to form an FZ LLC or FZE.
  3. Pick a Company Name: Ensure the name complies with UAE naming regulations and reserve it.
  4. Submit Initial Application: Provide necessary documents and pay registration fees.
  5. Lease Office Space: Secure an office within the free zone and obtain an Ejari (tenancy contract).
  6. Obtain Business License: Receive your business license from the free zone authority.
  7. Apply for Visas: Process visas for shareholders, employees, and dependents.
  8. Open Corporate Bank Account: Set up a dedicated business bank account in the UAE.

How much does it cost to set up a Freezone company in Dubai?

The cost of setting up a company in a Dubai Free Zone typically ranges from AED 10,000 to AED 30,000. However, this cost can vary based on several factors such as the size and type of business, the type of business license, the chosen free zone, and additional services required.

Why should I use a business setup consultancy?

A business setup consultancy can provide invaluable assistance with navigating the legal and administrative processes, ensuring compliance with local regulations, and expediting the registration process. This allows you to focus on growing your business.

Can I get a residence visa through my free zone company?

Yes, setting up a company in a Dubai free zone allows you to apply for residence visas for yourself, your employees, and dependents. The number of visas depends on the size of your office space and the free zone’s regulations.

Which are the top free zones in Dubai?

  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)
  • Dubai Internet City (DIC)
  • Dubai Media City (DMC)

For more detailed guidance and the latest updates, consult the specific free zone authority or a professional business setup service provider.

What is included in the setup cost for a Dubai Free Zone company?

  • Business License Fees: Charges for obtaining the specific type of business license.
  • Registration Fees: Costs for registering the company with the free zone authority.
  • Office Space Lease: Rental fees for office space within the free zone.
  • Visa Fees: Charges for processing visas for shareholders, employees, and dependents.
  • Additional Services: Fees for business setup consultancy, legal services, and PRO services if required.

What additional costs should I consider for registering a freezone company in Dubai?

  • Renewal Fees: Annual renewal fees for the business license and office lease.
  • Bank Account Setup: Fees for setting up a corporate bank account.
  • Accounting and Audit Fees: Costs for mandatory accounting and auditing services.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Budget for promoting your business in Dubai.

How much is the income tax in Dubai Free Zone?

Dubai Free Zones are renowned for their attractive tax incentives, making them a popular choice for businesses. Here’s a detailed overview of the income tax structure in Dubai Free Zones:

What is the corporate tax rate for businesses in Dubai Free Zones?

  • 0% Corporate Tax: Businesses recognized as a Qualifying Free Zone Person (QFZP) enjoy a 0% corporate tax on their qualifying income. This makes Dubai Free Zones extremely attractive for businesses looking to maximize their profits.
  • 9% Corporate Tax: Non-qualifying income in the Free Zone is subjected to a 9% corporate tax. This rate applies to income that does not meet the criteria set out for QFZPs.

What qualifies a business as a Qualifying Free Zone Person (QFZP)?

To be recognized as a QFZP, businesses must meet specific criteria outlined by the UAE government, which typically include:

  • Maintaining adequate substance: Ensuring the business has a significant presence in the UAE, such as office space and employees.
  • Generating qualifying income: Engaging in activities that the UAE government considers eligible for tax incentives.
  • Compliance with UAE regulations: Adhering to all local laws and regulations, including economic substance regulations and transfer pricing rules.

What is a Qualifying Free Zone Person (QFZP) in the UAE?

A Qualifying Free Zone Person (QFZP) is a business entity that meets specific criteria outlined in Article 18 of the UAE Corporate Tax Law. This designation allows businesses to benefit from favorable tax treatments, including a 0% corporate tax rate on qualifying income.

What conditions must a business meet to be considered a QFZP?

To be recognized as a QFZP, your business must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Registration with a Free Zone Authority: Your business must be registered with an official Free Zone Authority within the UAE. This registration ensures that your business is recognized and governed by the specific regulations of that Free Zone.
  2. Significant Presence in the UAE: Your business must maintain a substantial presence within the UAE. This involves having adequate office space, personnel, and operational activities within the Free Zone, thereby demonstrating a real economic presence in the country.
  3. Generating Qualifying Income: The business activities must align with those that are considered qualifying income under UAE law. This typically includes trading, manufacturing, and services that contribute to the UAE’s economy.
  4. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Adherence to all local laws and regulations, including economic substance regulations and transfer pricing rules, is mandatory. Non-compliance can result in losing the QFZP status and the associated tax benefits.

What are the benefits of being a QFZP?

Being a QFZP provides several significant advantages, including:

  • 0% Corporate Tax on Qualifying Income: Enjoy a zero percent corporate tax rate on income that meets the qualifying criteria.
  • Attractive Business Environment: Benefit from a business-friendly environment with modern infrastructure and supportive regulations.
  • Full Repatriation of Profits: Businesses can repatriate 100% of their profits and capital, ensuring maximum financial flexibility.
  • No Personal Income Tax: Owners and employees benefit from no personal income tax, enhancing the overall attractiveness of the UAE as a business hub.