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Setting up Business

Chambers of Commerce
All businesses, whether industrial, professional, trading or services, must be licensed to operate in the UAE. Licensing procedures vary from emirate to emirate and the relevant details are available from the individual Chambers of Commerce.

Chambers of Commerce in each emirate are invaluable sources of information and assistance for anyone intending to do business in the country: they keep investment databases, issue and authenticate licences and other documentation, arbitrate on disputes and provide business facilities, such as meeting and conference rooms, and simultaneous interpretation.

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Ajman Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Umm al-Qaiwain Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Ra’s al-Khaimah Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Fujairah Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture

Free Trade Zones
Establishing a business entity in one of the UAE’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) can be an extremely attractive option for foreign investors. The major advantages in setting up in a free zone are:

  • 100 per cent foreign ownership of the enterprise
  • 100 per cent import and export tax exemptions
  • 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits
  • Corporate tax exemptions for up to 50 years
  • No personal income taxes
  • Assistance with labour recruitment, and additional support services, such as sponsorship and housing.
  • An independent Free Zone Authority (FZA) governs each free zone, and is the agency responsible for issuing FTZ operating licences and assisting companies with establishing their business in the FTZ.
  • Investors can either register a new company in the form of a Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or simply establish a branch or representative office of their existing or parent company based within the UAE or abroad. An FZE is a limited liability company governed by the rules and regulations of the Free Zone in which it is established. Except for acquiring nationality in the UAE, the provisions of the CCL do not apply to FZEs, provided that the Free Zones have special provisions regulating such companies.

In addition to free zones, major industrial clusters such as Abu Dhabi’s Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (HCSEZ) are hubs for manufacturing, logistics and trade across a number of sectors, offering unique opportunities for efficiencies of scale and market access.

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
Abu Dhabi Media Zone Twofour54
Abu Dhabi Ports Company
Masdar City
Dubai International Humanitarian City
Dubai Airport Free Zone
Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park
Dubai Flower Centre
Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
Dubai Healthcare City
Dubai International Financial Centre
Dubai Internet City
Dubai Knowledge Village
Dubai Maritime City
Dubai Media City
Dubai Multi Commodity Centre
Dubai Outsource Zone
Dubai Silicon Oasis
Dubai Studio City
International Media Production Zone
Jebel Ali Free Zone
Techno Park
Dubai Auto Zone
Dubai International Academic City
Dubai Energy and Environment Park
Jumeirah Lake Towers

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
Hamriyah Free Zone

Ajman Free Zone

Umm al-Qaiwain
Ahmed bin Rashid Free Zone

Ra’s al-Khaimah
RAK Free Zone
RAK Investment Authority Free Zone (RAKIA FZ)
Ra’s al-Khaimah Media Free Zone (RAKMFZ)

Fujairah Free Zone
Fujairah Creative City

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