Best Free Zones in the UAE
Beginning your exploration of the top free zones in the UAE is the ideal initial step for you.
The UAE has solidified its position as a prime destination for entrepreneurs seeking to establish
businesses. Its appealing tax framework, numerous incentives, incubator programs, and more make it
a favourable location for investors.
Commencing your business venture in a free zone is the perfect starting point. Free zones represent
the ideal jurisdictions to kickstart your business and guarantee that your entrepreneurial journey is on
a well-directed course.
Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
JAFZA, a part of Dubai Ports (DP) World, is recognized as the flagship free zone within the DP World
UAE region’s integrated business hub. Established in 1985, JAFZA stands as one of the UAE’s earliest
free zones. Its strategic location in close proximity to the world’s 7th largest container port, Jebel Ali
Sea Port, positions it as the optimal choice for import and export activities.
Over the years, JAFZA has set a benchmark for other free zones to emulate, thanks to its distinctive
positioning and progressive operational procedures. The jurisdiction has obtained ISO certification,
enabling businesses to diversify their operational models.
JAFZA issues a variety of licenses, including those for trading, services, industry, and even ecommerce. Due to its popularity and consistent growth, JAFZA stands out as an ideal free zone for
multinational corporations (MNCs).
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
DMCC is recognized as one of the most prestigious free zones in the UAE and holds the title of the
world’s number 1 free zone. DMCC has played a significant role in the development of trade and
commerce in Dubai, making it an attractive industry to enter and establish a business in the UAE.
DMCC is open to nearly every business activity and offers a wide range of office solutions.
A single license issued by DMCC can cover up to 6 business activities within the same group. DMCC’s
license isn’t limited to industrial, service, or general trade; it’s also one of the few free zones that
permit crypto commodities trading
Additionally, DMCC allows entrepreneurs to obtain a dual license, enabling businesses to expand their
operations to the mainland or onshore. To qualify for a dual license, entrepreneurs must obtain both
a DMCC license and a mainland license.
International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
The International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) is among the highly sought-after free zones in the UAE.
Despite its relatively recent establishment, IFZA garnered rapid attention for its status as one of
Dubai’s most economically friendly free zones for company setup.
Strategically situated, IFZA offers an exceptionally cost-effective setup process, rendering it one of the
most promising free zones for business expansion and opportunities. IFZA also provides a diverse
range of licenses catering to the needs of entrepreneurs. These licenses encompass consulting,
service, e-commerce, commercial, and trading licenses.
A particularly attractive feature of establishing a company in IFZA is that there is no obligatory
requirement for a physical office space to initiate a business.
Fujairah Creative City Free Zone
Fujairah Creative City Free Zone (CCFFZ) stands out as one of the fastest-growing media free zones in
the MENA region, offering a wide range of flexible options for business entities.
What sets this free zone apart is its convenience. Not only is it highly cost-effective, but it also boasts
a streamlined setup process that requires minimal effort and documentation. Creative City in Fujairah
accommodates a diverse spectrum of business activities, with a primary focus on media, events,
consulting, education, marketing, and more.
A notable feature of this free zone is the option to establish a virtual office, allowing entrepreneurs
the freedom to work remotely. Investors and staff can form a company without the obligation of
obtaining a visa, though cost-effective visa solutions are available for those who require them. Fujairah
Creative City distinguishes itself by allowing entrepreneurs to obtain up to 20 visas under one trade
Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams)
Launched in 2017, Shams Free Zone in Sharjah has quickly gained recognition as one of the UAE’s
fastest-growing free zones. It offers a straightforward and cost-effective setup process, making it an
attractive choice for branch companies seeking business expansion.
Shams provides the flexibility to choose between LLC company formation and branch setup, with
minimal upfront and renewal costs. What makes Shams unique is the option to register without the
need for attested documents. It caters to various business activities, including service, industrial,
freelance, trading, and holding licenses
Despite its name, Sharjah Media City extends beyond media-related activities, offering opportunities
across diverse sectors.
Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ)
Sharjah Publishing City is a relatively new yet promising free zone that offers abundant opportunities.
It is the world’s first Printing and Publishing free zone and caters to various business needs, providing
world-class infrastructure and a business-friendly environment.
While the core activities revolve around publishing and printing, SPCFZ permits additional activities
related to trading, consulting, e-commerce, and IT-related businesses. One of its key advantages is the
ability for entrepreneurs to conduct up to five activities under one license without incurring extra fees
Entrepreneurs establishing a company in SPCFZ have the opportunity to obtain a dual license, and the
free zone offers a range of packages for UAE residents. Three company structures are allowed: Free
Zone Establishment (FZE), Free Zone Company (FZC), and branch company.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is a popular choice for business setup due to its strategic
location near a seaport and in close proximity to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) airport.
While RAKEZ accommodates a wide variety of business types, it is particularly well-suited for
manufacturing activities. It distinguishes itself by offering customizable warehouses and plots of
industrial land for development, a feature not common in most free zones in the UAE.
As one of the largest free zones in the emirates, RAKEZ permits a broad range of activities, spanning
from commercial and media to e-commerce and educational endeavours.
Key Highlights of Free Zone Company Formation
in the UAE
The Free Zone Company structure in the UAE is consistently the top choice for foreign investors,
offering numerous benefits such as:
- 100% Foreign Ownership
- Tax-free Income: No Corporate or Income Tax
- Full profit repatriation and capital transfer
- Effortless and rapid Business Setup with minimal documentation requirements
- 3-Year Residence Visa and Multi-Year License
- Some Free Zones in the UAE are exempt from VAT, making business transactions within the
Free Zone VAT-free
- Access to top-tier infrastructure facilities, including fully-furnished office spaces, 24/7 access,
security, and more
- Most Free Zones in the UAE are gated and feature in-house Customs Checkpoints,
streamlining the movement of goods
- No Customs Duty on imports into the Free Zones, making it an ideal choice for Trading
Companies operating both locally and internationally
- First-class Warehousing facilities for storage, packaging, and light manufacturing
- Proximity to some of the world’s busiest Airports and Seaports
- Global Connectivity: Direct connections via Airports and Seaports to over 180 countries
- Easy business expansion by capitalizing on extensive networking opportunities, meetings, and
events within the Free Zones
Top 5 most affordable free zones in the UAE:
Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP)
SRTIP is in line with the UAE’s 10-year strategic plan to establish the country as a global industry leader,
focusing on research in various sectors. It’s a relatively new player in the industry, offering trade
licenses starting at AED 5500 for a range of activities, including professional, commercial, and
Ajman Media City (AMC)
AMC offers a quick and straightforward company formation process, making it an attractive
investment destination in the UAE. With trade licenses starting from AED 8500, AMC is well-suited for
small and mid-sized business owners. It caters to a wide range of media and entertainment-related
activities, as well as some trading activities.
Sharjah Media City Free Zone (SHAMS)
SHAMS is the UAE’s fastest-growing media free zone, fostering an environment for both new
entrepreneurs and established businesses. You can obtain trade licenses starting at AED 5750 with
multiple business activities permitted per license type. SHAMS is an excellent choice for those seeking
a business setup in Dubai without a physical presence and offers licenses for trading, media, holding,
social media influencing, and more.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
RAKEZ offers one of the most cost-effective free zone licenses in the UAE and is strategically located
near the RAK airport and seaport. It provides SME packages starting at AED 5499 and is known for its
customizable warehousing solutions. RAKEZ covers a wide range of business activities, including
commercial, service, industrial, media, educational, and professional.
International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), Dubai
Located in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis area, IFZA is one of the most competitive and cost-effective free zones
in the UAE. It offers various low-cost company setup packages starting at AED 12,900. IFZA determines
the range of business activities that can be conducted within the free zone, and you can choose up to
three activities under one license. IFZA offers professional and commercial licenses.