Setting up a company in a UAE free zone offers numerous advantages. For example, most free zones permit full foreign ownership, and full repatriation of both capital and profits. You’ll also enjoy some major tax benefits, such as exemption from corporate tax, plus plenty of support and networking opportunities.
Not sure which UAE free zone is right for you? Here’s a run-through of five of the best.
Top UAE free zones 2020
DMCC Authority Free Zone
The DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre) is a strong contender as the UAE’s best free zone. In fact, the Financial Times’ awarded it ‘Global Free Zone of the Year’ no less than four times.
It’s not only one of the highest-regarded free zones, it’s the largest in the region too, and is the perfect choice for companies operating in either the financial or commodities sector. It’s also the only free zone that offers freehold options, and has a convenient central location, right in the heart of Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers district.
Creative City Fujairah
Creative City Fujairah is the ideal option for businesses working in media, events, publishing, marketing or communications. It offers a lot of support for companies, and networking is actively promoted and encouraged. If you’re looking for the chance to collaborate with others and transfer skills, this free zone should be a serious consideration.
It’s in a good location in Fujairah, and you’ve also got the option of applying for several visas without committing to an office lease agreement. This flexibility really helps if you need to hire more staff.
Dubai South is located close to Al Maktoum International, which is the world’s largest airport. That, combined with its proximity to Jebel Ali Seaport, makes this free zone one of the best connected in the UAE.
As you might expect, Dubai South caters for businesses in the aviation and logistics sectors, but is also suitable for others, such as humanitarian enterprises and hospitality.
Umm Al-Quwain free trade zone is well worth considering. Unlike other free zones, it’s not focused solely on a few select industries, but instead, embraces businesses from all sectors. It’s also regarded as being one of the best free zones for start-ups and smaller companies.
UAQ FTZ isn’t in Dubai, which means competition is less fierce – another big advantage. There’s no tax to pay for forming a company here, and there are also several other great financial incentives to benefit from.
Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) is highly regarded across the UAE. It’s the region’s fastest growing media free zone, and it’s usually cheaper to set up a company here than in other areas. Another huge advantage is the ability to set up multiple business activities with a single licence – something that isn’t often offered in other free zones.
SHAMS is also celebrated for its progressive, pro-active approach for supporting its businesses. If you’re looking for your media company to hit the ground running, this is a top option.