Free Zones are import-tax-free areas where non-GCC citizens can own 100% of a company. Each Free Zone has a defined set of activities that a company can choose from.
When choosing a Free Zone, the first factor to consider is the activity the company wants to perform. In addition, you may consider the location of the Free Zone, starting with the Emirate in which the Free Zone is located and the area within the Emirate, especially when you want to minimize travel time to the office.
Please note, that each Free Zone company needs to rent an office within the free zone and the office size defines the number of employment visas the company can apply for.
Dubai is the business hub for many prestigious Free Zones. The main Free Zones in Dubai are: Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ), Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ), Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and TECOM area (Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village etc.).
Another very popular Emirate is Ras Al Khaimah with the following Free Zone: RAKEZ, the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone. Ras Al Khaimah is an Emirate in the North of the UAE, about 1.5 hours car drive from Dubai.
The Emirate of Sharjah and Ajman are located even closer to Dubai. Both Emirates offer Free Zones either for trade (for example the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, SAIFZ) or manufacturing (for example the Al Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah).
Hensley&Cook coaches you in finding the best fitting Free Zone and helps you to incorporate your company in this Free Zone.
A Free Zone company is an Onshore company with an incorporation process that takes considerably longer than an Offshore company but in general is shorter than an UAE Onshore company registered with the economic department. All documentation can be done in English, which is often an advantage. The company documents are issued in English as well.