Over the span of the last decade, the UAE has emerged as the first choice of investors in the Middle East. The fundamental reason for this may be attributed to the fact that the UAE is composed of seven emirates, each of which offers unique investment options to the investors.
The UAE also has the provision for Free Trade Zones, simply referred to as the Free Zones to attract more and more investors. Among the seven emirates, Dubai is considered as the commercial capital owing to the fact that it has the maximum number of Free Zones. These Free Zones in Dubai are highly specialized and different Free Zones are suitable for different kinds of businesses.
For instance, if certain investors are interested in company formation in Jebel Ali Free Zone or the Dubai Airport Free Zone, they are most likely to be in trading or manufacturing services. Similarly, the Dubai International Financial Centre is best-suited for financial services while Dubai Outsource Zone supports outsource businesses.
Is it Easy to Choose an Appropriate Free Zone?
Company incorporation in Dubai Free Zones offers numerous advantages ranging from zero personal and corporate tax to 100% foreign ownership, this is no new information. However, with more number of free zones, the number of available options for the various investors also increases manifold.
Even within one Free Zone, multiple choices are offered. For instance, an investor might opt for sharing offices while another may prefer an independent plot of land for one’s office. Though the Free Zones are quite expensive, they efficiently make up for their cost by providing modern and advanced infrastructure services to serve the investors intending to form or incorporate companies in the UAE Free Zones.
Thus, although the investors have the benefit of choice while opting for a suitable Free Zone for themselves, the entire process might be cumbersome also.
What are the Salient Features of the Shifting Procedure of a Company from one Free Zone to Another?
If a company incorporated in one of the Free Zones intends to shift to another Free Zone due to any reason, then they are required to liquidate (close) the operation as well as cancel the visas in the old Free Zone and acquire a new license for the new Free Zone. This shifting might be from one Free Zone to another in the same Emirate or from one Emirate to another.
For instance, an investor is indulged in any of the Free zones, say Hamriyah Free zone. But soon he realizes that the business requirements have changed and considers moving to another Free Zone say Sharjah Airport Free Zone or Dubai Airport Free zone. For this, the liquidation of free zone Company in Hamriyah Free zone is required and new license for the new Free Zone- Sharjah Airport Free Zone or Dubai Airport Free zone-needs to be acquired.
A List of Free Zones in the UAE
Following is an exhaustive list of all the Free Zones across the seven Emirates of the UAE available for the investors to choose from:-
1 : Abu Dhabi
2 : Ajman
- Ajman Free zone
- Ajman Media City
3 : Dubai
- Jebel Ali Free Zone
- Dubai Airport Free zone
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Internet City
- Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (DMCC)
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- Dubai Healthcare City
- Dubai Outsource Zone
- Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)
- Dubai Studio City
- DUCAMZ-Dubai Cars and Automobile Zone
- Dubai Design District
- Dubai International Academic City
- Dubai Knowledge Village
- Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
- International Media Production Zone (IMPZ)
- Dubai World Central (DWC) (includes Dubai Logistic Cty and Dubai Aviation City)
- Jebel Ali Offshore Centre (JAFZA Offshore)
4 : Fujairah
- Fujairah Free Zone
- Fujairah Creative Zone
5 : Sharjah
- Sharjah Airport Free zone (SAIF ZONE)
- Hamriyah Free Zone
- Sharjah Media City (SHAMS)
6 : Ras Al Khaimah
- Rask Al Khaimah Free Zone Or RAKIA
- RAK Media City
7 : Umm Al Quain
- Umm AL Quain Free Zone
While a large number of Free Zones available in the UAE might complicate the things for the various investors considering company formation in the UAE Free Zones, it is an undeniable fact that the concept of Free Zones has indeed made the UAE the first preference of the various potential investors in the Middle East.