OWME Global Business Services

UAE Company Formation

UAE COMPANY FORMATION / Free Zone Company Formation

Free zone entities (FZ)

If there is little or no scope to sell goods directly to the UAE market, but office space and local staff are required, then setting up in a FZ is often more attractive than using a local company. FZ companies also meet the growing necessity in international tax planning of ensuring requisite substance. This is often impossible to deliver from the traditional offshore jurisdictions since they typically only offer an IBC regime.

The main advantages of setting up in a FZ in the UAE are:

• 100 percent foreign ownership is allowed
• guarantee for 15-50 years against the future imposition of corporation tax.
• import of goods are duty free, provided the goods are not supplied to the local market for which there is a 5 percent levy
• streamlined procedures: all formalities are typically dealt with through the FZ authorities instead of the various government departments
• no restrictions on hiring expatriates

A free zone (FZ) entity in the UAE offers many tax and business opportunities. For a start, a FZ company enjoys full exemption from income and corporate taxation, 100 percent foreign ownership, no exchange restrictions, free profit repatriation, benefits accruing from the UAE’s nearly 80 double tax treaties and many more. A further possibility available to a FZ is to issue residence permits and obtain tax residence certificates from the UAE authorities for its foreign owners and employees.

Physical presence

A FZ company, must have physical presence in the UAE and, in that respect, it must own or hire premises. If only a small office is required as the company will be used by its foreign owners mainly for residency purposes, the most cost effective options are available by FZ in the northern emirates, notably - Ajman, Hamriya and Umm Al Quwain (UAQ). Physical presence options include flexi desks and flexi offices.

Tax Residence Certificates

Furthermore, if a local bank account is maintained with movements, the foreign owners and managers can apply to the Ministry of Finance to receive the UAE tax residence certificates. A UAE residence permit and a tax residence certificate can be useful to foreign owners and employees of FZ who wish to register tax residency in the UAE. It is worth noting that banking institutions, in the UAE and outside, consider UAE tax residence certificates as proof of tax residency in the UAE. As in all cases, the advice of a competent tax lawyer must be sought.

Economic substance

As world markets become increasingly intertwined, taxpayers need to be ever more aware of cross-border considerations. This is especially important in the current environment, where focus on the disclosure, reporting, and taxation of foreign assets has sharpened. Rules are introduced continuously and the focus on anti-avoidance directions is building up. Whilst domicile in the UAE may not be possible depending on the laws of the home country, certainly with a renewable residence visa that is issued to owners, managers or associates of a FZ, individuals may reduce or eliminate home country taxation. If they also obtain a tax residence certificate in the UAE they can claim tax residency which they can enhance by having inter-alia, private accommodation and maintaining a local bank account.

JAFZA Freezone Company Formation Dubai

As one of the largest and fastest growing free zones, JAFZA aspires to be the international business hub of the Middle East. JAFZA has successfully been attracting “crème de la crème” in all business sectors from all over the world by sheer force of its unique value added offerings and propositions.

JAFZA is today one of the strongest brands in the region and stands for excellence, innovation and the power of partnership. It is the first free zone in the world to win ISO certification. Jebel Ali lies in the south of Dubai and is built around the world’s largest seaport.

Key features of Jebel Ali Free Zone offshore company formation

  • 100% foreign ownership - vis-à-vis non free zone areas where majority local partnership is required.
  • Zero percentage corporate tax for a period of 50 years, a concession that is renewable.
  • Unrestricted repatriation of capital and profits
  • 0% import or re-export duties
  • 0% personal income tax
  • No currency restrictions
  • No restriction on hiring foreign employees
  • The facility to mortgage owned premises on leased land. A company established in the Free Zone that has built its own facility may mortgage its premises to any bank.
  • Access to abundant energy makes it cost-effective for clients to conduct production operations
  • Availability of high class pre-built offices
  • On-site chamber of commerce, international banks, insurance companies, consultancies, etc.

Licenses issued by JAFZA:

  • General trading license: The holder can import, distribute and store all items as per JAFZA rules and regulations.
  • Trading license: The holder can import, export, distribute and store items specified on the license.
  • Industrial license: The holder can import raw materials, carry out the manufacture of specified products and export the finished product to any country.
  • Service license: The holder can carry out the services specified in the license within the Free Zone. The type of service must conform to the parent company’s license, issued by the Economic Department or Municipality of the relevant Emirate in the UAE.
  • National industrial license It is designed for manufacturing companies with an ownership or a minimum 51% AGCC (Arabian Gulf Co-operation Council). The value added to the product in the Free Zone must amount to a minimum of 40%. This license allows the holder the same status as a local or AGCC owned companies inside the UAE.
JAFZA Allows More Activities under Single Trade License

JAFZA offers additional options to its clients on trade license classifications, allowing them to combine a number of activities under the same license.

A company in JAFZA can opt for a total of seven activities under a similar business activity group, up to 12 activities under two different business activity groups, or up to 17 activities under three different business activity groups.  It is the only durisdiction where entities can own property in the UAE.

RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone) is a free zone that was born in 2017 as a result of the merger of the erstwhile freezones 

RAK FTZ and RAKIA. Broadly, it offers 2 types of company establishments
  • RAKEZ companies (also referred to as licensed/ onshore freezone company) and
  • RAK ICC companies (also referred to as RAK Offshore or RAK International Companies). RAK ICC stands for Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Center which is the Registrar of RAK ICC companies governed by a separate set of regulations different than the licensed RAKEZ companies.
The notable differences you should understand before taking a decision are:
  • A RAKEZ company like all other freezone companies must lease an office space within the freezone premises (in Ras Al Khaimah) in order to establish the company. Whereas, for a RAK ICC Company, the registered offices address is provided by the registered agents. Oneworld Mideast Ltd is a registered agent of high repute and provides incorporation and domiciliary services for RAK ICC companies to an international clientele from its self owned Dubai offices in the business bay district.
  • A natural person must be appointed as the Manager (Director) of the RAKEZ company. Whereas, in a RAK ICC Company, it is possible to have Corporate Directors. Oneworld can provide both - professional corporate and/or individual resident director services to your business for operational and cost efficiencies.
  • A RAKEZ company is able to sponsor UAE residence visas for its owners and employees. Whereas, a RAK ICC company is not qualified to offer residence visas for its owners and officers.
  • As with most other freezones, RAKEZ company is restricted in its scope of activity depending on the type of license it has obtained -- Trading/ Consultancy/ Industrial license. Whereas, a for a RAK ICC company, the scope of activities is unrestricted and the company can perform any lawful commercial activities outside UAE except certain prohibited activities such as - banking, insurance, financial services etc.
  • A RAKEZ company with a trading license is empowered import and re-export goods physically into and out of UAE. A RAK ICC company cannot physically import goods into the UAE, however, it can carry out trading activities outside UAE.

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is a strategic initiative of the Dubai government created to establish a commodity market place in Dubai. It is rated 'A' by Standard & Poor's.It provides industry-specific market infrastructure and a full range of facilities for the gold & precious metals, diamonds & colored stones, energy and other commodities industries.

DMCC was the first UAE free zone authority to offer freehold business premises which comprises

  • a 50-year holiday on personal and income taxes,
  • full foreign ownership of business and
  • a one-stop shop facility for processing of all documentation including immigration and licensing needs.

The objectives of this progressive Centre include:

  • Creation of a dedicated market place in Dubai
  • Increase the value and volume of commodities traded in and through the region
  • Facilitation and integration of the entire value chain of its key segments
  • Broaden the local market horizon e.g. Refining – Manufacturing – Trade
  • Create industry specific market infrastructure for its core segments, innovate new products and services
  • Provide a supportive business environment through purpose-built infrastructure
  • Promote regional industry growth
  • Enhance local industry through implementation of international standards


  • Unique World wide centre Industry Clustering
  • 100% Business Ownership
  • Purpose built infrastructure
  • Ability to purchase premises
  • World class security systems
  • Single Window Clearances (incl. Licensing, Immigration, etc)
  • Preferential freight rates
  • Guaranteed 50 year tax holiday on personal and income taxes
  • Regulated environment
  • No foreign exchange controls or barriers to entry
  • No restrictions on capital repatriation


  • Industrial License
  • Trading License
  • Service License

Dubai Airport Free Zone was established in 1996, as a part of the Dubai Government’s strategic plan to be an investment driven economy. The growth rate of Dubai Airport Free Zone is the fastest in the region and houses over 1300 companies from industry sectors as varied as: logistics & freight, jewelry, aviation industry, pharmaceutical products, IT and mobile phones accessories.

Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) is easily accessible; it is located in the heart of Dubai and can be reached from any point of the city with ease. Its location within the Dubai International Airport has made DAFZA the most sought after free zones among international investors. Located strategically within the boundaries of Dubai International Airport, DAFZA offers a range of modern facilities with a state of the art infrastructure.


  • 100 % foreign ownership
  • 100 % tax exemption
  • Fast and efficient cargo clearance facility
  • Logistics facility within the free zone
  • “One stop shop “ administration facilities
  • On site customer inspection
  • Companies at DAFZA can operate 24 hours a day
  • Investment – Oriented Management


  • Trading license
  • Service license
  • Industrial license

Dubai Internet City provides a knowledge economy ecosystem designed to support the business development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies. DIC houses global giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, HP, Siemens and Sun Microsystems to name a few, side by side with many Small and Medium size businesses in Software Development, Business Services, e-commerce, Consultancy, Sales and Marketing and Back Office Processing. Dubai Internet City (DIC) is located about 25 km south to downtown Dubai. It provides a strategic and cost effective platform for Information and Communication Technology companies that target emerging markets in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Africa and Central Asia.

Dubai Media City is a place where every kind of media business can operate with collective synergy, including media and marketing services, printing and publishing, music, film, new media, leisure and entertainment, broadcasting and information agencies. Dubai Media City has also set up Media Business Centres to promote talent and entrepreneurship in the region. These unique facilities are targeted at freelancers and independent media professionals. Freelancers find the Centres an ideal base for gaining visibility and building relationships with the media industry. Dubai Media City (DMC) is strategically located in Dubai at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and has rapidly emerged as a global media hub.


  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100 % repatriation of profits
  • 100 % exemption from personal income tax for 50 years
  • 100% exemption from corporate taxes for 50 years
  • Metro Ethernet environment
  • Unparalleled opportunities for business interaction and networking
  • Great opportunities for channel and market development
  • Neighborhood of dynamic international community
  • Communications infrastructure of next-generation technology
  • Digital voice and high-speed data services offered at competitive rates
  • Equipped with world’s largest commercial IP telephony network
  • Single-window operations for business with government departments such as Police, Immigration, Post Office, Customs and access to Human Capital
  • Satellite broadcasting and Internet Services through a dedicated teleport
  • Support services such as food courts, banks, travel agents, car rentals, beauty salons, pharmacies, clinics, supermarkets and gymnasiums within the premises

Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is the world’s only Free Zone dedicated to Higher Education. Established in 2007 as part of TECOM Investments, DIAC aims to develop the region’s talent pool and establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy. The intention is for Academic City to be a base for schools, colleges and universities, while Knowledge Village will house training institutes and educational service organizations. Dubai Academic City will create a global academic destination that provides all institutions housed in it with opportunities for communication, experience-sharing and cooperation to utilize latest technologies and processes, said a senior official.


  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% Freedom from taxes
  • 100% Repatriation of profits
  • Effortless visa issuance procedures for students, staffs and faculties


DIAC is able to license the following business segments and provide you with the support to help launch your business:

  • Academic Service Provider
  • Educational Services Provider
  • Freelancers

Dubai Gold and Diamond Park was established in May 2001 - and is located 20 km from Dubai International Airport. The DGDP enjoys strong support from the government, the Gold and Jewelry Group, and the World Gold Council. Having established itself as the business, entertainment and service hub of the Middle East. The DGDP has emerged as one of the most investor friendly environment, offering all the necessary assistance for tenants in all government related issues.


  • 100% Business Ownership
  • Freehold Commercial Premises
  • Single Window Clearance (incl. Licensing, Immigration etc)
  • 50 year tax holiday on personal and income tax
  • No foreign exchange controls or barriers to entry
  • No restrictions on capital repatriation
  • Industry Benefits
  • Industry Clustering
  • Unique World wide centre
  • Purpose built infrastructure
  • World class security systems
  • Preferential freight rates
  • Luxury ambience


  • Trade license
  • Manufacturing license
  • Service license
  • National Industrial license

Dubai Health Care City is the world's first health care free zone. Dubai Healthcare City welcomes healthcare investors who share our vision of providing world-class healthcare and putting patients first. The Dubai Health Care City (DHCC) has been launched with the aim of filling up the gap between Europe and South East Asia and establishing a regional gateway for customers and patients to receive world-class healthcare and enjoy first class medical and wellness services. The purpose of DHCC initiative is to provide the highest quality healthcare services to medical care and wellness seekers from the region by creating a world-class cluster of healthcare professionals and service providers at the heart of Dubai.


  • 100% foreign ownership (no requirement for a local partner)
  • 100% tax free status
  • No corporation tax
  • No income tax
  • No customs duty
  • No restrictions on capital, trade barriers or quotas
  • Competitive pricing
  • On-site, one stop shop for government services (such as visas and permits)
  • Hassle-free company registration and legal framework
  • Fast track immigration process
  • Access to a wide network of healthcare professionals
  • Special interest seminars to promote professional standards and business growth


  • Professional license
  • Clinical license
  • Commercial license

Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) is the world’s only Free Zone area dedicated to Human Resource Management and learning excellence. Established in 2003 as part of TECOM Investments, DKV aims to develop the region’s talent pool and establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy. This thriving knowledge community was founded as part of a long-term economic strategy to develop the region’s talents, in an effort to introduce new skills and the latest learning methods and tools following international standards of upgrading individual skill and professionalism. DKV is totally focused on professional training and learning support services. Knowledge Village in Dubai also offers first-rate facilities for the use of its knowledge partners and their students including serene landscapes, a food court, sports grounds and a gym.


  • 100% Foreign Ownership
  • 100% Freedom from taxes
  • 100% Repatriation of assets and profits
  • Effortless visa issuance procedures
  • Guaranteed 50-year exemption from personal, income and corporate taxes
  • Exemption from customs duty for goods and services


Freelance Permits:
  • Trainer: Individuals providing training to professionals in the areas of IT, Media, Business and Management, Logistics, Languages, etc
  • Tutor/Coach: Individuals coaching students on any curriculum specific to secondary and tertiary education
  • E-Learning Advisor: Individuals offering eLearning support services
  • Researcher: Individuals conducting research on various fields
  • Education Support Services: Individuals providing various services for the education system such as entrance exam coaching, curriculum design, application assistance, etc
Free Zone Limited Liability Company:
  • Professional Training Centre: Companies offering training courses and certifications
  • ELearning Provider: Companies offering eLearning Technologies and Support services
  • Research and Development Centre: Companies specializing in the field of research and development
  • Human Resources Development Centre: Companies specializing in Human Resource Development activities

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