The “Step-By-Step” guide that summarizes the various procedures businesses need to go through when they wish to set-up their Business in a Dubai Free Zone.
When it comes to deciding on the type of company to set-up in Dubai, the first resolution is choosing whether it could be done in mainland Dubai or in a Free Zone.
Each option has its own benefits, however if a foreign investor or entrepreneur is looking for 100% of ownership and a flexible solution in terms of requirements, initial costs and approvals, the Free Zone may be the most suited one.
In Dubai, there are over 30 different Free Zones, each one governed by an ad hoc authority and with different regulations when it comes to the layout and registration of a company.
Despite the many exceptions, this article offers an overview on the initial set-up process of a business in a Dubai Free Zone.
1. Choose the Business Activity & Licence Type
There is an extensive selection of activities, and corresponding licenses, available in the Free Zones – commercial, professional and industrial are the main ones, others are trading, educational, media, tourism and e-commerce.
Each activity is subject to approval and characterized by different requirements, depending on the Free Zone in which you decide to setup your business.
Once provided with your core business idea, our consultants at Kelmer Middle East can assist you in choosing the best activity and license to match your business plan.
2. Select the right Free Zone
When the type of activity has been chosen, you can decide on the location of the business, by picking the most appropriate Free Zone, in terms of available activities, convenience, position and logistics.
3. Pick Trade Name & Office Space
When choosing your trade name, you should check with the respective Free Zone legal department on the permitted trade names and the guidelines/restrictions.
At this stage, you can either buy or lease an office space amongst the available options, depending on the type of business activity and the selected Free Zone. The number of visas that you can request is subject to the chosen facility (and its square meters).
4. Determine the Type of Legal Entry
Upon selecting the legal form of your business, there are three options to choose from.
- Branch of the existing foreign company, benefitting from 100% of foreign ownership.
- Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Company (FZ Co.), which involves two or more shareholders as individuals and/or corporates.
- Free Zone Establishment (FZE), which is a single shareholder limited liability company.
5. Submit required documents and applications (valid for FZ Co. and Branch)
Depending on the chosen Free Zone, business activity, type of company and requirements by the specific Free Zone authority, you need to submit a specific list of documents:
For FZCO and Branch:
- Foreign language documents translated to English/Arabic by legal translators
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Memorandum & Articles of Association of Parent company
- Board Resolution to establish a branch
- Board Resolution giving signatory authority or Power of Attorney for 3rd Party
- Certificate of good standing, valid trade license or equivalent
- Passport copy of the General Manager
- Passport copy
- Proof of current address (utilities bill)
Additional documents may be required and it is recommended to make sure they are compliant to the latest law requirements, to avoid any delays or complications during the approval and due diligence process.
Our consultants at Kelmer Middle East can assist you throughout the whole application process, by taking care of all bureaucratic aspects and dealing with the local authorities.
6. Get your Initial Approval
The next step is to proceed with the attestation of documents by the local government authorities or the signature’s authentication (for individuals) by the concerned department, followed by several other processes including security, legal and internal business approvals.
7. Collect the License and Activate your Company
After getting the initial approval, you need to pay registration and licence fees; the amount depends on the type of license required.
Once the payment is confirmed, you can collect the original license and the corporate documents.
In order to complete the set-up of your new company, don’t forget to continue further legal and administrative procedures, such as opening the company’s bank account, requesting seal, nominating the auditor, registering for VAT and creating your logo and website.
How we can assist you
Over the last years, Kelmer Middle East has been assisting many entrepreneurs and investors through the incorporation process. Our specialized team of consultants has expertise in every sector and is ready to carefully guide you through every necessary step.
Get in touch
Telephone: +971 (0)4 432 7598