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Establishing a business entity in one of the UAE's many Free Trade Zones (FTZs) can be an attractive option for foreign investors. To date the free zones have been successful in attracting a large number of companies and foreign direct investment, as well as expanding net non-oil exports. The major advantage in setting up in a free zone is that you are entitled to:

o 100 per cent foreign ownership of the enterprise
o 100 per cent import and export tax exemptions
o 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits
o No corporate taxes for 15 years, renewable for an
additional 15 years
o No personal income taxes
o 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. Under Federal Law No. 15 of 1998, 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.

Abu Dhabi
Industrial City of Abu Dhabi HCSEZ         www.hcsez.ae

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Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City:         http://www.ihc.ae/
Dubai Airport Free Zone         http://www.dafz.ae/index.html
Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park         http://www.dubiotech.ae
Dubai Gold and Diamond Park         www.goldanddiamondpark.com
Dubai Healthcare City          www.dhcc.ae
Dubai International Financial Centre         www.difc.ae
Dubai Internet City         www.dubaiinternetcity.com
Dubai Knowledge Village         www.kv.ae
Dubai Logistics City         www.dubailogisticscity.net
Dubai Maritime City         www.dubaimaritimecity.ae
Dubai Media City         www.dubaimediacity.com
Dubai Multi Commodity Centre         www.dmcc.ae
Dubai Outsource Zone         www.doz.ae
Dubai Silicon Oasis         www.dso.ae
Dubai Studio City         www.dubaistudiocity.com
International Media Production Zone         www.impz.ae
Jebel Ali Free Zone         www.jafza.ae
Dubai International Academic City (Dubai Holdings)

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone                  http://www.saif-zone.com/
Hamriyah Free Zone                                             www.hamriyahfz.com

Ajman Free Zone                                                      www.ajmanfreezone.gov.ae

Umm al-Qaiwain
Ahmed bin Rashid Free Zone

Ras al-Khaimah
RAK Free Zone                                                      www.rakftz.com

Fujairah Free Zone                                            


Click on the following useful link for further information:UAE Freezones

Free Trade Zone Licences
Once a legal presence has been established in the Free Zone, the business will need to lease premises or land and acquire an operating licence from the FZA. Different types of licences apply in the different types of free zone, however, in general companies with trade and industrial licences can only conduct business within the Free Zone or abroad. To sell their products in the UAE, a UAE official agent is required. Services and products can be obtained from and within the UAE without an agent. Other types of licence available are service licences ( e.g. banking, insurance, air shipment etc) and national industrial licences. For the former the services offered must be the same as those stipulated in the parent company’s licence in the UAE or abroad. The share capital of a company applying for a national industrial licence must be at least 51 per cent GCC and 40 per cent of the sale value of the product must be value-added.

These licences can be renewed annually as long as a lease agreement is in force with the FTZ.

Procedures for setting up a company in the Free Trade Zone
The procedures for establishing a business in a Free Trade Zone are usually very straightforward and can be completed in a short space of time, especially if there are no environmental issues involved. You must first fill out a questionnaire from the relevant Free Zone Authority which will assist in assessing your company's requirements. Having submitted the questionnaire, you will be given a licence application, planning documents, and a consumer request for electricity. Provisional approval is given along with a specimen lease agreement. After the company representative and the authority have met and finalized details of the project, the actual documents, which will include company or personal details, are speedily processed.

Check with the individual free zones for more information about their specific requirements.