At present there are approximately 45 Free Zones in the United Arab Emirates

At present there are approximately 45 Free Zones in the United Arab Emirates, over 20 of which are located in the Emirate of Dubai. The others are to be found in the remaining Emirates of Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain.

Each Free Zone is dedicated to a specific commercial sector and issue licenses for companies that operate within that category and related activities.

One of the biggest advantages of setting up your company within the Free Zone, rather than outside of them (in the so-called “mainland”), is that there are no restrictions to foreign ownership. This means that a non-Emirate individual or corporate is allowed to hold 100% of the share capital.

In addition, a Free Zone company grants its Shareholders, Directors and employees the right to apply for residence visas in the UAE.

The companies formed in a Free Zone are subject to an independent authority (Free Zone Authority) which is in charge of issuing the commercial licenses and regulates corporate activities within its jurisdiction.

In order to get your license, usually the key steps to follow are:

Determine the type of legal entity required (FZE / FZCO / FZ LLC)

Decide on a company name and check availability

Choose the type of license and submit the relevant documentation

Find an office space or opt for flexi-desk if permitted

Obtain pre-approvals from the Free Zone Authority

Register your company and receive the license

The advantages of setting up your business in a Free Zone include:

  • 100% foreign ownership (no local partner / sponsor required)
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • 100% tax exemption for companies and individuals
  • Possibility to apply for residence visas for investors and employees
  • Can opt for flexi-desk (with some restrictions)

It is crucial to choose the right Free Zone for your business, but the large amount of alternatives available can be confusing. Our team will help you weigh in all important factors that contribute to your decision and then support you every step of the way until the you have reached your goals.

Looking for Company FormationBank Account openingUAE Residence VisaAccounting, Audit and VATBusiness Consultancy ?

    The Western Group, whose head office is based in Panama, now has an office in Dubai, based in the heart of the free zone, in Dubai and we are committed to providing clients with a wide range of business services.


    Office no. 4EA-720, PO Box 54562,
    Dubai Airport Free Zone,
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates


    +971 (0) 4204 5282