List of free-trade zones in the United Arab Emirates

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Free-trade zones in the United Arab Emirates are areas that have a special tax, customs and import regime, and are governed by their own framework of regulations (with the exception of UAE criminal law).


The UAE has a number of free zones across Dubai,[1] Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Quwain. Free zones may be broadly categorized as seaport free zones, airport free zones, and mainland free zones. Free-trade zone exemptions are:[2]

  • 100% foreign ownership of the enterprise
  • 100% import and export tax exemptions
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Corporate tax exemptions for up to 50 years
  • No personal income taxes
  • Assistance with labor recruitment, and additional support services, such as sponsorship and housing.

Each Free Zone is designed around one or more business industry categories and only offers licenses to companies within those categories. An independent Free Zone Authority (FZA) governs each free zone, and is the agency responsible for issuing FTZ operating licenses and assisting companies with establishing their business in the FTZ.

Investors can either register a new company in the form of a Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or simply establish a branch or representative office of their existing or parent company based within the UAE or abroad.[3] An FZE is a limited liability company governed by the rules and regulations of the Free Zone in which it is established. Except for acquiring nationality in the UAE, the provisions of the Commercial Companies Law (CCL) do not apply to FZEs, provided that the Free Zones have special provisions regulating such companies.

There are a few Free Zones in UAE that offers Dual Business License for investors.[4] It will allow them to do business in the Free Zone as well as in the mainland of UAE using the same business license. For Example, Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) Free Zone offers a Dual License for the investors enabling them to easily offer services in the mainland and Free Zone together.[5]

Advantages of setting up business in Dubai Free Zone[edit]

  • Government ownership is not interrupted. The matter of possession is fully in the hands of investors.
  • Companies within Free Zones are not subject to duty-free shopping.
  • Profits and capital are fully repatriated.
  • Imports and exports are exempt from tariffs, taxes, and duties. Warehouse usage is free.
  • A company located in a free zone can be run independently by any foreign investor.
  • For 15 years, corporations are also exempt from corporate tax.
  • Confidentiality is assured throughout the operation.
  • Different activities are available to investors, including owning property. Bank accounts can be opened easily for him.
  • Employees of the company and other support staff, as well as the housing facilities, can get visas without any problems.

Free zones[edit]

The Microsoft sign at the entrance of the Dubai Microsoft campus, Dubai Internet City
Dubai Maritime City, Dubai under construction in 2008

There are 45 Free Zones operating in UAE. [6]

Abu Dhabi
Dubai [7]

Ras Al Khaimah


Umm Al Quwain

Free zones under construction[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Free Zone Business Registration – Dubai". UAE: Freezone Registration. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  2. ^ Petch, Neil. "Benefits of UAE Free Trade Zones". Virtuzone.
  3. ^ "Free zone company formation Dubai, Free zone license Dubai". Decisive Zone. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  4. ^ "Dual Business License in the Free Zone". Retrieved 16 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone offers a Dual License for the investors".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "45 free zones in the UAE: Find the right one for your new business". Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  7. ^ "Top 13 areas for new businesses in Dubai". Shuraa Business Setup. 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2021-03-29.