Many entrepreneurs have searched for the cheapest free zone in the UAE. It’s easy to see why.
Set up in a free zone out here and you can benefit from the country’s low tax environment, as well as customs tax exemption, a lack of currency restrictions, and the freedom to repatriate your capital and profits.
It’s understandable that business owners would want to get these great benefits at the lowest possible price.
The search for the cheapest free zone in the UAE is not all that it seems, however. Many company setup agents offer low upfront fees while backloading costs further into the contract. Then you must consider the cost of doing business, visas, external approvals, and much move.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great low-cost free zones in the UAE. You simply need to know where to look.
Are you looking for the cheapest trade license in Dubai?
The cheapest trade license in Dubai can almost certainly be found in a free zone, as this is usually a more cost-effective option than the mainland.
That said, as some free zones are better suited to specific industries, the cheapest free zone license in Dubai will be different from business to business.
If you are a tech or financial business, you may be able to find a bargain package at Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (Dtec), for example. Similarly, media companies can take advantage of the great rates at Dubai Media City (DMC).
Many free zones are open to all, and it’s also possible to find some great deals in places such as Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), Dubai South, or Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).
If price is your primary driver, you may want to widen your search, and instead set out to find the cheapest trade license in the UAE. This is likely outside of Dubai.
Surrounding emirates such as Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah are home to free zones offering great value packages and benefiting from a lower cost of doing business than Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Popular free zones outside of Dubai include RAK Economic Zone (RAKEZ), Fujairah Creative City (FCC), and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SIAF Zone).
Wherever you focus your search, keep in mind that the initial cost is just one component of the total price you’ll pay. Be sure not to get lured in by discount rates and signup offers. To be sure, it’s best to work with an experienced UAE company set up agent when searching for the free zone that’s right for you.
How much does it cost to start a UAE free zone business?
As above, the total cost of securing a trade license and setting up a business in the UAE will depend on many factors. Your location, business type, and business size will all have an impact.
You’ll also need to consider the cost of visas that you may need for employees or dependants. However, it is not easy to search for the cheapest free zone visa in Dubai, as this is usually included in the package price.
Below are a few examples of free zone package prices from across the UAE.
FCC: Fujairah Creative City free zone is located in the emirate of Fujairah, just one and a half hours outside of Dubai. License packages start from AED 11,000.
RAKEZ: Setting it apart from many of its peers, RAKEZ offers an exclusive package aimed at women entrepreneurs. Prices start from AED 6,200 inclusive of workspace and support services.
SAIF ZONE: SAIF ZONE benefits from excellent sea, land and air access and is directly linked to Sharjah International Airport. Licenses start from AED 10,800.
KIZAD: KIZAD offers business solutions for all types of business activities such as manufacturing, logistics, trade and distribution. License packages start from just AED 9,450.
How to start a free zone business in the UAE
So, you’ve found the cheapest free zone in the UAE, what’s next? The good news is, starting a business in a free zone can be fast and straightforward. With the help of a local expert such as WorldWide Formations, you can be up and running in four simple steps:
Step 1: Choose your business activity
Every business in the UAE must list a business activity, or activities, on its business license. It’s important that you list every activity that applies to your business when making your application, as failure to do so can lead to fines or even license revocation.
Step 2: Choosing your company name
A step of the business incorporation process that takes on more importance here in the UAE is choosing your company name.
In short, UAE company names must not contain any blasphemous or offensive language, any references to well-known institutions or any abbreviations of your name – though your full name is acceptable.
Your name should also have a legal entity attached to it, such as FZE or LLC. It must also relate to your business activity, not resemble any other company’s name and be available to register.
Step 3: Applying for your license
When applying for your free zone license, you’ll need to submit several documents along with your application form, including:
- A copy of your passport – and that of any other shareholders
- Your business plan
- A copy of your signature
- A No Objection Certificate from your current employer (if applicable)
Step 4: Applying for your visa
Finally, you’ll need a residency visa to work in the UAE.
This process involves four stages, including a medical fitness test and biometric capturing. In all, it usually takes less than a week.
As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others such as children, a spouse or domestic staff for their visas too, providing you meet the eligibility criteria.
Secure your cheap free zone license with WWFL
Following the steps above, it is possible to find a low-cost free zone license in the UAE with minimal fuss.
However, it is always advisable to undertake the steps with the assistance of a registered company formations agent to eliminate any potential hassles that might arise.
With more than 15 years of experience in company incorporation, Worldwide Formations can help you get your business up and running within a week or two. We’ll manage your license and visa application, and correspond with all relevant authorities for you. All you need to do is wait for the green light to start trading.