DAFZA company setup explained

Dubai and the wider UAE are home to an array of free zones offering distinct advantages to the businesses and entrepreneurs that set up within them.

While all offer 0% tax on corporate and personal income, zero currency restrictions, the ability to repatriate all capital and profit and customs tax exemption, each individually also has its own advantages.

Some, such as Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), offer direct links to major transport hubs, which, along with world class facilities and infrastructure, make it the ideal place to conduct international trade from the Middle East with the rest of the world.

If you’re looking to start a business in the UAE and are currently considering free zones, here’s why DAFZA could be the right choice for your business. Plus, there’s no better time to set up a company in DAFZA than now as the license fee to the tune of almost AED 22,000 is currently waived!

Why consider company registration in DAFZA?

There are many great reasons to start your business in DAFZA. Not only is company registration in DAFZA both straightforward and affordable, you could also benefit from:

A great location

DAFZA’s proximity to Dubai International Airport makes it the ideal home for aviation, logistics, freight and any manner of trading companies.

The free zone’s links to the airport affords the businesses within it privileged access to certain services including rapid cargo clearance, customs services and logistical assistance.

Government assistance
DAFZA features a range of on-site government services aimed at increasing the ease and speed with which you can do business. These services include:

  • Visas (employment, visit, dependent, etc.)
  • Family sponsorship
  • Visa transfer
  • Employment contracts
  • Dubai Customs
  • Dubai Police
  • Directorate of General Residency and Foreign Affairs
  • Dubai Health Authority
  • Dubai Chamber
  • Emirates Post

An award-winning home
DAFZA has won a range of prestigious awards for its offering, including the Dubai Quality Award (DQA), the Palladium Award for the Balanced Scorecard, the HH Sheikh Hamadan bin Mohammed Award for Best Customer Service, the Best Economic Free Zone in the Middle East, the FDI – Financial Times Group E-Gov Excellence Award and a gong from the Pan Arab Excellence Awards Academy.

Straightforward company formation
The free zone offers a wide and comprehensive range of licensing, visa, business setup and administrative services.

As well as housing numerous government departments and private organisations that you need to access on a day-to-day basis to run your business smoothly, its one-stop-shop concept also brings together private organisations such as banks and telecommunications companies to make the formation process as smooth as it can possibly be.

How to start a business in DAFZA

Step 1: Choose a company type

The first step to take when forming your DAFZA company is to decide on a company type. Three are two to choose from.

You can opt for a Free Zone Company (FZCO) which is similar to an LLC. Shareholders may be individuals, corporates or a combination of the two. Alternatively, you can set up a branch of an existing company. Branches must be 100% owned by the parent company and carry out the same business activities.

Step 2: Choose your business activities

Activities must be chosen from a pre-determined list published by the Department of Economic Development. 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 3: Choose your license
Your business activity will determine the type of license that you require. DAFZA issues four license types. These are:

Trade: A trade license allows the holder to carry out trading activities including import, export, re-export, distribution, and storage of specific products.

Service: A service license is geared towards service-oriented businesses and enables an entity to provide services specified in the license.

Industrial: An industrial license entitles the holder to carry out light manufacturing industrial activities, packaging and assembling.

General Trading: A general trading license allows the holder to trade in multiple general trading activities including import, export, re-export, store, and distribute.

Step four: Applying for your license

Once you know the type of license that you require, you can make your application. The specific documents that you require at this stage will depend on your license type and the nature of your business.

A company setup agent can help you at this stage, ensuring that your application is correct and complete to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications.

DAFZA company setup regulations

As detailed on the free zone’s website, DAFZA company setup regulations are as follows:

“The laws applicable to Dubai Airport Free Zone are set out in Dubai Law No 25 of 2009 (Concerning Dubai International Airport Free Zone). These rules and regulations state that every business in Dubai must have a legitimate formation and be registered, have a minimum share capital, a name ending with FZE, details of ownership, and an owner’s declaration.

Also, it must have a registered office, a sign-name plate, business letters, shares, proof of share transfer, directors and a secretary in place. In addition, it should carry out directors’ meetings, have objects, a seal, contracts, sufficient accounting records, clear distribution channels and sufficient funds. We keep these rules and regulations in check to help you while registering a business in Dubai. Moreover, we will appoint an investigating power to monitor services. We also have the power to revoke the registration of any company.”

Understanding DAFZA company setup costs

There are several components to the DAFZA company formation cost. The number of visas you require, the type of premises you need, your license type and many other factors will have a bearing on the total price.

For example, a service or industrial license is likely to cost in the region of AED 15,000 per year while a general trading license could cost in excess of AED 50,000 per year. On top of this, you will also be required to make a one-off registration payment in the region of AED 7,000.

For a more detailed breakdown of the costs, it’s best to talk to a company formation expert who can build a tailored quote for you.

Starting your DAFZA business

Wherever you choose to set up, getting the right guidance beforehand is key. That’s why it’s 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 matter of weeks. We’ll manage the entire process on your behalf and correspond with all relevant authorities for you. All you need to do is wait for the green light to start doing business.

Worldwide Formations helps entrepreneurs in the UAE with all their company setup needs. For more information, call us now on 800 FREE ZONE (800 3733 9663). 

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