business setup in sharjah free zone

Business Setup in Sharjah Free Zone: A Guide

It doesn’t matter if you’re an existing businessman trying to set up shop in Sharjah or a foreigner hearing about the Sharjah Free Zone for the first time, this is a place that’s going to fulfil all your professional needs. 

Being the third-most populated city in the UAE, Sharjah is a traditional and culturally fresh place which is located about 20 kilometres north of Dubai.

Setting up a business in Sharjah is a great idea for many reasons.

But before you enquire further, there are a few things you need to know.

Let’s talk about how you can set up your business in Sharjah Free Zone.

Why Sharjah?

Sharjah is one of the renowned places in the UAE due to its enrichment of universities, entrepreneurs, and govt bodies.

With a steady rise in GDP, the city consists of a highly educated, ambitious, and outward-looking population.

The city is also increasingly well-known for its industrial hub, ease of access to local and international markets, and innovation and startup hub.

What is the Sharjah Free Zone?

In our guide on the business bank account setup in the UAE, we’ve already discussed the difference between free zone, mainland, and offshore companies in the country.

Sharjah Free Zones are those economic zones that offer a favourable environment for trade, investments, and entrepreneurship.

Located in the emirate of Sharjah, free zones are significant because of their strategic location, advanced infrastructure, and diverse range of sectors that exist within the city.

A few key industries that flourish in this region include:

  • Healthcare and Education
  • Information Technology and Innovation
  • Trading and Logistics Sector
  • Media and Creative Sector
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Sector

Benefits of Starting a Business in Sharjah Free Zone

Setting up a business anywhere in the UAE comes with its own set of unique advantages.

Similarly, with the Sharjah Free Zone, you could expect the following benefits:

Foreign Ownership: Benefit from 100% ownership for foreign investors, allowing you to have full control over your business operations.

Adaptable Regulations: Sharjah Free Zone offers flexible regulations that cater to the diverse needs of businesses, making it easier to navigate legal requirements.

Import-Export Benefits: Avail 100% exemption on imports and exports, facilitating smooth trade operations.

Investment Security: Enjoy a secure investment environment with robust legal frameworks and regulatory support.

Affordable Leasing Rates: Access well-priced leasing options, reducing operational costs for businesses.

Labour Accommodation: The Sharjah Free Zone provides facilities for onsite labour accommodation, ensuring a conducive working environment.

Currency Barriers Eliminated: Conduct transactions seamlessly without worrying about currency barriers.

Banking Facilities: Access to both local and foreign banks for financial transactions.

Licenses for Business Setup

To establish your business in the Sharjah Free Zone, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate license. 

Depending on your business activities, you may require one of the following licenses:

  1. Commercial License: Ideal for companies involved in trading goods such as logistics, car rental, and real estate.
  2. Trading License: Required for businesses engaged in industrial and manufacturing activities like food production, furniture manufacturing, and packaging.
  3. Professional License: Suited for service-oriented businesses such as artisans, law firms, and medical services providers.

Exploring Major Free Zones in Sharjah

Sharjah’s strategic location on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman makes it highly advantageous for businesses, particularly those involved in sea-route trades. 

Irrespective of the area you’re from, Sharjah Free Zones can offer you diverse business needs and offer a range of opportunities for growth and expansion.

Here are the major Free Zones in Sharjah:

  1. Sharjah Media City Free Zone (SHAMS)
  2. Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA)
  3. Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF)
  4. Sharjah Publishing City (SPC)

1. Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) Free Zone

Despite being the newest addition to Sharjah’s Free Zones, SHAMS has rapidly gained traction and is witnessing exponential growth. 

While its name suggests a focus on media-related activities, SHAMS offers a diverse range of business opportunities including trading and professional services. 

To establish a presence in SHAMS, you’ll need at least one shareholder and the following documents:

– Application form

– Business strategy

– Passport copies of the owner or the applicant

– NOC from the sponsor

– Signature of the shareholder

2. Hamriyah Free Zone

Recognized as one of the most cost-effective Free Zones in the UAE, Hamriyah Free Zone boasts competitive advantages and a strategic location near major seaports.

Entrepreneurs can benefit from 100% ownership in a tax-free environment with no currency restrictions or customs duties. 

The documents required for business setup in Hamriyah Free Zone include:

– Shareholders’ passport and visa copies

– Application form

– Bank reference

– Legal documents duly signed

3. Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone)

SAIF Zone, also known as Sharjah’s premier Free Zone, offers a plethora of business opportunities with the advantages of foreign ownership, strategic location, global networking, and tax benefits. 

While traditionally known for industrial activities, the SAIF Zone accommodates businesses across various sectors. 

To initiate a business venture in the SAIF Zone, prepare the following documents:

– Owners’ passport and visa copies

– Application form

– Summary of the project


– Bank statements for the last 3 months

4. Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone

Located conveniently on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone is designed to nurture the publishing industry. 

Whether you require co-working spaces, retail chains, commercial offices, or storage services, this Free Zone caters to all your business needs. 

If you’re venturing into the publishing industry, Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone could be your ideal destination. 

The documents needed for business setup in this Free Zone include:

– Passport copy

– Residence visa copy (if applicable)

– Copy of educational certificates of the Managers

– 2 passport-sized photographs

For businesses existing outside Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone, additional notarized and attested copies of documents such as Certificate of Incorporation, MOA, and Confirmation from the Board are required.

Start your business in Sharjah with AB Capital

It’s almost impossible for a business to keep up with all the legalities and regulations of starting a business in the UAE.

But we simplify all this for you. 

With careful navigation and complete transparency along the way, we at AB Capital help you start a business in Sharjah with the utmost transparency. 

Book a free consultation call with us and let us help you successfully open a business bank account in the UAE.

Scroll to Top