For setting up business in the UAE, investors have two well-known choices. Also, they are establishing a business on Dubai Mainland or one of the Free zones. This article will detail the company incorporation steps necessary to establish a free zone company in Dubai. A distinct jurisdiction or location designated with a certain business activity or collection of activities is known as a free zone in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s discuss how to obtain a free zone license in the UAE.

Prominent Free Zones in Dubai

The largest number of free zones in the UAE are located in Dubai. Many investors and business owners worldwide want to set up a business in the UAE because Dubai has a logistical and infrastructure advantage over other free zones. The following is a list of Dubai’s main free zone jurisdictions:

  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA): JAFZA handles commerce, warehousing, and logistics-related enterprises. The first free zone is JAFZA. JAFZA plays a significant part in the UAE’s overall economic development.
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): A trade hub, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is home to a variety of businesses, from coffee to precious commodities like gold and diamonds. In addition, the free zone provides a range of financial services.
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone: The rapidly expanding Dubai Airport Free Zone is home to a number of industries, including logistics, aviation, the pharmaceutical and IT industries. So, you need a free zone license in the UAE for this.
  • Dubai Media City: Dubai Media City is a free zone that concentrates on a wide range of media-related activities, including movies, entertainment, marketing, the music business, etc. The Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) is in charge of the free zone.
  • Dubai World Central: Dubai World Central is a free zone that offers a range of ancillary services to the aviation industry. So, if you intend to get a free zone license in the UAE, please contact the Legalraasta team advising for advice.
  • Dubai Healthcare Free Zone: The Dubai Healthcare Free Zone, which is located in Dubai Healthcare City, provides services to the healthcare sector, including medical equipment, technology, and research.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre: This free zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre, is regarded as the financial center of the Middle East. The banking and finance industries are covered by the free zone for setting a business in the UAE.

What is a Free Zone?

The specified areas especially reserved for expats to setting up a business in the UAE are known as “Free Zones” in the UAE. Non-citizens, or expatriates, are able to fully own and run their businesses in free zones without any pauses or limitations.

Free Zones in the UAE were formed to hike the international commerce by granting 100% ownership to the foreign enterprise. You may want to consider obtaining a free zone license in the UAE as these economic areas allow everyone, including foreigners, to conduct business and trade at a more favorable tax rate and more reasonable custom charge.

In the United Arab Emirates, there are seven emirates, each with its own free zone. They include Umm Al Quwain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah. For setting a business in the UAE, there are more than 40 free zones that offer both general activities for all industries and some that are industry-specific.

Benefits of UAE Free-Zone Business Registration

  • Businesses in free zones have the liberty of setting up a company in the United Arab Emirates in a region or municipality where employee health insurance is not required by law.
  • Get complete command over your company in a free zone. A foreign investor or a group of foreign nationals are permitted to wholly own a free zone corporation in the United Arab Emirates.
  • When it comes to information on assets owned by free zone firms and obtaining a free zone license in the UAE, free zone authorities maintain the highest level of secrecy.
  • There are no restrictions on commerce or the amount of business that free zone companies can conduct with companies both inside and outside the zone.
  • Governmental limitations on currency exchange are known as currency rules. As there are no monetary restrictions in the free zones, getting a free zone license in the UAE is simple. There are no currency limitations of any type in UAE free zones. This makes financial transactions easier.
  • The UAE does not impose import or export tariffs in free zone jurisdictions. Setting up a business in the UAE benefits from this as it advances global trade.
  • Jurisdictions with free zones have easy access to a wide range of warehouse and office possibilities. UAE-free zones are great for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Incorporating a business in a free zone is a simple and uncomplicated process. The licensing procedure for setting a business in the UAE can be finished in less time than in other jurisdictions.
  • Facilities for immigration associated to the UAE Free zones are efficient and time-saving, and obtaining a free zone license in the UAE is not complicated by immigration formalities.
  • The most advanced infrastructure and communication systems are found in UAE free zones.

What Kinds of Licenses Are Offered in the Free Zones in the UAE?

The free zones in the UAE offer a variety of license types to accommodate diverse company and activity types. It is significant to keep in mind that the sorts of licenses offered might range from one free zone to another, as can the prerequisites and costs for obtaining a free zone license in the UAE. To learn the precise requirements, it is preferable to speak with a company setup specialist or a free zone authority. Some of the popular licensing kinds are listed below:

  • Trade License: Companies who want to import, export, distribute, or store goods in the free zone in Dubai must obtain this form of trade license.
  • Service license: For setting a business in the UAE that provides services including consulting, IT services, marketing, and advertising, a service license is necessary.
  • Industrial License: Companies involved in manufacturing or other industrial operations must have this license.
  • E-commerce license: For setting a business in the UAE that engages in online trading or e-commerce activities, an e-commerce license is necessary.

How to Launch a Company in the Free Zones of the UAE

  1. For your free zone corporation, decide on a trade name: The name cannot be the same as any currently setting a businesses in the UAE.
  2. To apply for a free zone license in the UAE: The type of business license you need depends on what your company does for a living. While submitting your license application, you must include supporting documentation.
  3. Choose a Workspace: You can choose between purchasing and leasing an office, and the free zone authority offers you flexi desk services.
  4. Get an initial approval: If you wish to set up a business in the UAE’s free zone area, you must obtain an initial approval from the authority that essentially states that the authority has no objections.
  5. Get a license and register your business: You must submit all required documents along with the application form in order to register your business with the free zone authorities. The final approval will take between 2-4 weeks after submission. The FZA will subsequently issue you a Certificate of Registration, and a week or two later, a business licence. You can formally launch your firm once you obtain the free zone license in the UAE.


Since a free zone firm is excellent for market access and will give you a physical presence in the UAE through office space and visas without the need for a local sponsor, it is typically advised to start-ups. You can grow your business in the mainland once you establish a place in the market.

In conclusion, there are a number of stages and procedures needed to obtain a free zone license in the UAE. Selecting the proper free zone depending on your firm’s needs is the first step in establishing a free zone company in Dubai. The free zone authority must next receive the proper paperwork and be paid the requisite fees.

Also, it’s crucial to learn and comprehend the rules and limitations of the selected free zone because they may change based on the kind of company and industry. There can also be continuing compliance obligations, such filing yearly reports and renewing the license. If you are still hesitant of setting up a business in the UAE, free zone, we at Legalraasta are here to help you. By contacting us right away, you can consult with us. We’d be happy to assist you.