Specially designated Economic Zones, there are a number of Free Zones in the UAE. Considered as International companies, they are a popular option with foreign nationals, with over 40 free zones currently operational within the UAE – 30 of which are in Dubai.Regulated by the Free Zone authority of each Emirate, Free Zone companies also benefit from 100% foreign ownership and tax concessions.
Companies can import products to and from the free zone, so a good set up for International trade. In order to sell locally, companies are required to appoint distributors in the mainland. Free Zone licenses offer incredibly flexible solutions, from shared work stations and flexi-desk set ups, to zero visa and freelancer packages. They also offer warehousing options for storage, cold storage, manufacturing and more. Whether a small operation, or a rapidly expanding business, Free Zones offer excellent options.
Major Free Zones across the UAE
|DUBAI||ABU DHABI||SHARJAH & RAS AL KHAIMAH||NORTHERN EMIRATES|
|Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) was created in 1985 to promote trade and support container throughput at the Jebel Ali Port. Today it is one of the largest free zones globally and the region’s most efficient logistics hub. Located in Dubai, between Jebel Ali Port, and Al Maktoum International Airport, Jafza provides the best in multi-modal connectivity.||Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ) is part of Government of Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 for the Emirate to become a dynamic economy. ADAFZ owns, operates, develops and manages business/logistics parks and business centres around Abu Dhabi’s airports.||Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAIF) is one of the prominent free-trade zones in UAE. More than 6000 companies operate from SAIF Zone attracting SAIF investors from more than 90 countries.||Fujairah Free Zone is adjacent to the Port of Fujairah. Companies established here have easy access to all Arabian Gulf ports, the Red Sea, Iran, India and Pakistan on weekly feeder vessels. A fortunate combination of geographic location, with access to the world’s major shipping routes, a sea port and airport, and streamlined procedures, make the Free Zone of Fujairah a great place for business.|
|Dubai Multi Commodity Center (DMCC) was established in 2002 by the Government of Dubai to provide the physical, market and financial infrastructure required to establish a hub for global commodities trade. DMCC Free Zone is the largest free zone in the UAE, with more than 18,000 registered members as of 2021||Twofour54 is named after the geographic coordinates of Abu Dhabi, symbolic of the city’s goal to put Abu Dhabi on the map as the capital of content creators. Twofour54 was launched in 2008 to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s media industry and has since become a dynamic media zone providing the infrastructure and services to attract international, regional, and local media businesses.||Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) was launched in February 2017 to act as a catalyst for creative and media businesses to grow and thrive. Aiming to be a world-class media hub for innovative facilities and services, Shams covers a wide range of business activities.||Creative City Free Zone Authority in Fujairah specialises in Media, Events, Consulting, Education, Communication and Marketing, Music and Entertainment, Design and Technology complementing existing media clusters in the region and facilitating further creativity in these fields.|
|Dubai World Central (Dubai South) economic zone supports a number of activities including logistics, aviation, commercial, exhibition, humanitarian, residential and other related businesses around Al Maktoum International Airport. Dubai South has the planned annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of cargo and 160 million passengers.||Masdar City Free Zone is a thriving business community located in Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments, and the perfect place to start, nurture or expand a business. It is home to a diverse, innovative and ambitious collection of companies, ranging from start-ups, to SMEs and multinationals.||Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ) was established in 2017 by the Ruler of Sharjah. SPCFZ provides all the infrastructure and services, along with a business-friendly environment to successfully operate your company and contribute to a thriving local and regional ecosystem. SPCFZ is located within one of the most central and accessible developments in Sharjah.||Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ) is a strategic initiative of the Government of Umm Al Quwain, with a mandate to provide the required infrastructure and incentives for a prosperous business community. Conveniently located within 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Umm Al Quwain is an ideal location for Micro Businesses, SMEs and Conglomerates to do business in a safe and secure free trade zone environment.|
|Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) is a globally-recognised free zone and an integrated technology park that allows people to live, work, and play. Hosting modern technology based industries and an urban master-planned community in an iconic location, DSO offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and in-house business services.||Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) offers a wide range of business solutions that are suitable for all types of business activities such as manufacturing, logistics, trade and distribution. Whether you are a small start-up or an established large-scale business, KIZAD can offer customised business facilities spread across its Free Zone and Domestic Tariff Areas.||Hamriyah Free Zone (HFZ) is a free zone in the city of Sharjah. Established by an Emiri decree in November, 1995, the Free Zone is 24 square kilometers in size and has a 14 metre deep port and 7 metre deep inner harbor. Sharjah is the only emirate, which has ports on the Arabian Gulf’s west coast and east coast, with direct access to the Indian Ocean.||Ajman Free Zone Authority (AFZA) was first established in 1988. One of the UAE’s northern emirates, AFZA is a leading unbonded free zone offering mainland and offshore company setup and operation to investors. As of 2021, over 14,000 companies operate out of AFZA.|
|Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) was established in 1996 as a free economic zone in Dubai. Providing customised office and warehouses with a range of business support services.||Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is situated in the heart of Ras Al Khaimah. A powerhouse business and industrial hub that offers customisable solutions to free zone and non-free zone businesses, RAKEZ is a multi-national community flourishing in over 50 sectors.||Ajman Media City Free Zone is the newly formed free zone offering in the United Arab Emirates, in the city of Ajman. It has been formed with an aspiration to create a dependable, harmonious and a professional environment for businesses|
|Dubai Design District (D3) is a purpose-built master-plan development in Dubai dedicated to the design community including startups, entrepreneurs and established international design, luxury and fashion brands.|
|Dubai Internet City (DIC) is an information technology hub and business park created by the Government of Dubai as a free economic zone and a strategic base for companies targeting regional emerging markets. DIC is home to many global tech firms, such as Facebook, LInkedIn, Google, Intel, Huawai, Samsung, Microsoft and IBM, as well as UAE-based companies such as Ducont, which moved its regional base to the DIC.|
|Dubai Knowledge Village is a human resources management, professional learning and educational free trade zone and campus in Dubai that provides facilities for corporate training and learning institutions.|
|Dubai World Trade Centre Free Zone offers a highly competitive, single-point of contact operation for corporations, affording them a unique and flexible offering to operate seamlessly, including as an onshore registered business, under an independent free-zone license or as a dual licensed entity from within the same zone.|