If you’re looking to start a business in the UAE, the first step is to explore the nation’s free zones. All offer 100% customs tax exemption and zero currency restrictions, as well as allowing entrepreneurs to repatriate all capital and profits back to their country of origin.
This is, of course, on top of the UAE’s already attractive trading location, world-leading business infrastructure and 0% tax rate on corporate and personal incomes.
As well as offering these benefits, each free zone also comes with its own advantages. Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), for example, is tailored to trade, logistics and industry.
As the region’s leading integrated trade, logistics and industrial hub, KIZAD businesses benefit from proximity to major highways, ports and airports, along with a welcoming and encouraging business environment.
Another major attraction is the free zone’s straightforward incorporation process. However, as with most things in business – it’s only simple when you know how. That’s why it’s also advisable to start a business with the help of a UAE company setup expert.
If you’re at the beginning of the process and exploring your options, here’s a simple step-by-step guide to getting started at KIZAD.
Benefits of setting up at KIZAD
Thanks to its direct links with Khalifa Port, KIZAD provides businesses with outstanding access to global markets. The port offers direct links to 60 global destinations via 20 shipping lines.
Several major airports are also nearby, including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Al Ain International Airport.
KIZAD is also well-connected by road and even has plans to include a rail network within its infrastructure.
The free zone welcomes a range of trading, logistics and manufacturing businesses with a focus on aluminium, engineered metal products, food processing and packaging, and general industries including pharmaceutical, polymer converting and automotive spare parts – among other sectors.
Getting started at KIZAD
There are several key decisions to make before submitting your license application to KIZAD. The first concerns your business activities. This will determine the type of licence you can apply for.
There are many to choose from as detailed below. Your activity should align to your license as follows:
Industrial License: This license is applicable for businesses carrying out any industrial activities. This permits the import of raw material, manufacturing, processing, assembling, packaging and export of intermediate and / or finished product.
Trading License or General Trading License: Covers all manner of trading activities including the import, export, distribution, stocking, warehousing of products and items specified on your license. A General Trading License allows you to trade in multiple, unconnected goods under a single license.
Service License: This permits service activities such as management and economic consulting services, marketing services, logistical support services such as cargo and freight forwarding, restaurants, retail food outlets, catering services, travel agencies and more.
KIZAD Business activities
KIZAD welcomes a range of business activities, including:
- Building materials trading
- Chemicals trading
- Electronics and electrical products trading
- Food and beverage processing
- General trading activities
- Glass industries
- Jewellery trading
- Manufacturing activities
- Meat processing
- Medical clinics and hospitals
- Motor vehicle and spare parts trading
- Plastic industries
- Printing and publishing
- Rental services
- Sewage and cleaning services
- Shipping, transport and storage
- Technical and professional workshops
Businesses that wish to do business from KIZAD must adhere to the free zone’s rules and regulations regarding anti-money laundering, auditing, use of facilities, permitted activities, access to Khalifa Port and more.
The full list of KIZAD regulations can be found on the free zone’s website.
What does the KIZAD license cost?
There are several costs involved in starting a business in the UAE, whether you set up in a free zone or on the mainland.
As well as the cost of your license, you will also need to account for e-channel and visa fees, admin charges, establishment card application and use of co-working space or other premises.
The most cost-effective way to start a business in KIZAD is to work with a company setup expert such as WorldWide Formations. Our KIZAD license packages start from just AED 11,500 and are inclusive of many of the costs detailed above.
KIZAD free zone business setup – step by step
With your business activities and license type decided, there are just three simple steps involved in KIZAD free zone business setup.
Step 1: Choosing your company name
A step of the business incorporation process that takes on more importance here in Dubai is the choosing of your company name. That’s because as well as the need for a name that’s catchy and captures the essence of your business, you’ll also need to stick to the UAE’s clearly defined naming conventions.
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 the name of any other company and be available to register.
Step 2: Make your license application
The next and most important KIZAD free zone business setup step is your license application. You can undertake this step either directly to KIZAD or with the help of a company setup agent. The latter is also advisable to avoid delays and rejection.
Along with your completed application, you will usually be asked to submit:
- 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 3: Make your visa application
You’ll need a visa to work in the UAE. Again, you can make your application with the help of a company setup agent, or you can make a separate visa application yourself.
This application 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 trade license, you can also sponsor others such as children, a spouse or domestic staff for their visas too, providing you meet the eligibility criteria.
Start your business at KIZAD?
When starting a UAE general trading business, 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.