Free Zone

Free Zones are designated economic areas that provide preferential tax and customs rates for trade. They were initially established in the UAE to enhance international business by offering advantages such as 100% foreign ownership. The UAE currently has more than 50 free zones, some of which provide generic activities for all industries, while others cater to specific sectors.

Benefits of operating in a free zone include:


  • Complete foreign ownership
  • No requirement for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the current employer
  • No paid-up share capital necessary
  • Option to establish a company under common law
  • No mandatory requirement for physical office space
  • 0% corporate and income tax
  • Option to incorporate remotely
  • Flexibility to incorporate in jurisdictions where employee health insurance is not mandatory.


Free Zones in Dubai include the following:


The International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) has emerged as a preeminent global destination for new business setup in the UAE, owing to its highly competitive pricing and diverse range of business activities. The establishment of an IFZA company is a preferred option for those seeking a cost-effective general trading company license in the UAE. In addition, IFZA also offers licenses for consultancy, service, commercial trading, industrial, and holding activities.


Located in the heart of Ras Al Khaimah, the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is a dynamic hub in the UAE that offers highly customizable solutions within a highly efficient ecosystem. With a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, RAKEZ has established itself as a major player across more than 50 industries, catering to a diverse range of clients that includes freelancers, startups, SMEs, and industrialists in sectors such as media, academia, business, and industry.


Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPC) is a new addition to the free zones located in Sharjah. While its core licensing activities are publishing and printing, SPC also provides licenses for a wide range of other activities, including general trading, consultancies, e-commerce, IT, and more. SPC stands out for its stunning offices, strategic location, and remarkably fast incorporation times, making it an ideal destination for businesses looking to establish a presence in the UAE.


Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) is a relatively recent addition to the free zones, having been launched in early 2017. As the third largest emirate in the UAE, Sharjah is highly desirable for its proximity to Dubai, making it an attractive location for businesses looking for cost-effective setups. SHAMS caters to a diverse range of businesses, from small startups to corporate giants, with a particular focus on media startups.


Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), established in 2002, is a free zone located in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). It's an ideal hub for commodities trading, financial services, and a broad range of specialist industries such as agro, energy, diamonds, gold, and base metals. DMCC has been awarded "Global Free Zone of the Year" for seven consecutive years, bringing together over 20,000 businesses from a diverse range of sectors and industries to create the world's most interconnected free zone.

License Type & Activities

There are more than 3000 business activities listed by the free zones in the UAE. For more details on business activities, reach out to our company setup consultants.

+Commercial License

A Commercial License is required in the UAE for businesses involved in trading and supplying goods such as:

  • Computer software trading
  • Food & beverages, plastic bags & containers trading
  • Medical gas, acids & alkaline trading
  • Agricultural pesticides, perfumes & cosmetics trading
  • Wooden products, pipes & fittings trading
  • Audio-visual, recording equipment & accessories trading

+Industrial License

An Industrial license is required in the UAE for manufacturing or other types of industrial activities such as:

  • Garments, carpets, uniforms manufacturing
  • Pastry & sweets manufacturing
  • Fabrics & textiles embroidery
  • Mineral water bottling
  • Plastic bottles & containers manufacturing

+Professional License

A Professional License is required in the UAE for individuals or business groups that deliver expertise as a service to the public such as:

  • Electronic, mechanical engineering consultancies
  • Science & technology consultancy
  • Immigration, educational consultancies
  • Health awareness, project management consultancies
  • Marketing research, media consultancies, corporate services provider

Process for mainland license

1Choose business activity
2Finalize company name
3Complete incorporation paperwork
4License issuance
5Open company bank account
6Receive immigration card
7Process residence visa