Business Setup in Dubai: Free Zones Make Good Sense

Dubai is known as a world-class tourist destination, but this progressive city does more than just attract casual visitors. Dubai’s location, superior infrastructure, and business-friendly policies have enabled it to emerge as a leading global economic center. This is just one of many reasons why the UAE is ranked as one of the very top nations for business setup.

And doing business in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly expensive, either. Free Zone business setup cost is lower than you might think, and some Free Zones like the IFZA are particularly attractive. Like to learn more about business setup services IFZA? Then you’re in the right place! Keep reading for more important tips and info, brought to you by your friends at MSZ Consultancy!

Why a Free Zone? And Why the IFZA in Particular?

One of the things that really sets the UAE apart for aspiring business founders is the introduction of Free Trade Zones, more commonly known as Free Zones. If you’re not familiar with how they work, a Free Zone like the International Free Zone Authority (or IFZA) is a special business area that operates separately from the laws and rules which apply to traditional business setup in Dubai mainland. Having a separate regulatory jurisdiction for Free Zones makes it much easier to set up a business, and offers many unique benefits to entrepreneurs and enterprises alike.

That being said, there are now more than 50 established Free Zones in the UAE. Why choose the IFZA? For starters, the IFZA is one of the most affordable Free Zones for starting and conducting business, it’s in a desirable location, and it offers more than 1,000 licensed business activities!

Reasons Why IFZA Free Zone Business Setup Makes Sense

What are the advantages of setting up a Free Zone business in the IFZA? There are many, but here are just a few worth noting:

What are the advantages of setting up a Free Zone business in the IFZA? There are many, but here are just a few worth noting:

1. Maintain full ownership of your company

In the case of Dubai mainland company formation, you’d be required to partner with a local party that maintains at least 51% ownership of your company. But Free Zone businesses aren’t limited in this way. A business incorporated with the IFZA offers the possibility of 100% foreign ownership, with no obligatory share capital requirement!

2. You keep all of your profits

In many other types of company ownership situations, the framework and regulations under which you launch your business doesn’t allow you to recoup 100% of your capital and profit gains. But if you operate your business venture out of the IFZA, you can repatriate ALL of your capital and profits, with NO restrictions!

3. No assessed income tax or corporate taxes

One key benefit of operating a foreign-owned company in Dubai is the fact that you enjoy 100% exemption on personal income taxes. Corporate taxes are still levied on certain businesses which operate outside of Free Zones however, including petroleum-related and foreign banking-related enterprises. But if you set up a Free Zone company in the IFZA, not only are you exempt from personal income taxes, but you won’t have any corporate taxes to worry about either!

4. Streamlined process for company formation

Free Zones generally make it easy to start a business, but the IFZA has streamlined the process even further to get your business set up even faster. Basic license packages don’t require mandatory office space, and business owners need not be physically present to incorporate.

5. Visas for shareholders and employees are easy to obtain

Businesses incorporated with the IFZA are able to apply for a flexible number of Dubai residency visas for both shareholders and employees, valid up to 3 years. By comparison, the process for obtaining Mainland Dubai residence visas is much more restrictive.

IFZA Company Setup Requirements

Forming a Free Zone business in the IFZA need not be a prohibitive process, but there are a few essential steps you’ll need to take in order to get your company setup in Dubai:

1. Decide on a business entity

You’ll need to decide on what business activities you’ll pursue, and how to categorize your business. This will determine what type of business license you’ll need to acquire.

2. Choose a business name

The company name you choose should reflect the nature of your business.

3. Get initial approval

Send in your application and all required supporting documents, along with required payment.

4. Apply for visas

Once your company license is approved, you’ll then need to apply for any visas you might need.

5. Open a corporate bank account

After obtaining your business license and visas, you’ll then need to open a local corporate banking account.

Bear in mind that there may be some additional steps you’ll need to follow, depending upon the nature of your specific business activity.

Business License Options in the IFZA Dubai Free Zone

The International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) issues many types of business licenses, including the following:

1. Professional license

This type of business license is primarily intended for service-oriented firms and consultancy businesses.

2. Industrial license

This type of business license is applicable to companies who plan to import raw materials, process them, and then export specific manufactured goods.

3. General trading license

This type of business license is for business owners and investors who plan to trade goods and services following a B2B, B2C, or C2B business model.

4. Commercial license

This type of license grants you the legal authority to initiate import, export, storage, and distribution activities.

5. Service license

Service licenses allow for the production and transportation of specific permitted services.

6. Consultancy license

If your goal is to offer expert consultancy services for professionals, then your best fit would be to obtain a consultancy license in the IFZA.

What About IFZA Free Zone Licensing Costs?

The IFZA free zone license price includes the cost of the general trading license, service license, and consultancy license. Here are some specifics about pricing factors:

• The cost of the IFZA 1-year business license package with 1 investor visa can range from AED 17,900 to 27,900.
• A 3-year IFZA business license package will cost anywhere from AED 43,700 to 65,000.
• Expect to pay between AED 62,500 – 85,300 for a 5-year IFZA Free Zone license.

How MSZ Consultancy Can Help You Set Up Your Free Zone Business in the IFZA

In this article, we’ve sought to provide helpful information about what it takes to get a business set up in the IFZA Free Zone. But even so, it’s best not to try and take on this process by yourself. Our experts at MSZ Consultancy are here to help! If this all still seems a bit confusing, or you’re not sure where to go from here, there’s no need to fret. MSZ Consultancy can come alongside to help you make everything happen! We’re located right here in Dubai, and we know all the ins and outs for making sure that the whole business formation process will go smoothly for you.

Reach out today to book your free consultation! You can give us a call at +971 52 544 1248, or you can also get the conversation started by shooting us an email at Don’t wait any longer; let’s make your dreams of opening a business in Dubai come true together! Our team is standing by to assist!

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