Checklist for Setting up a Business in Any of the Free Zones of UAE

Dubai city illustration with skylines

So, you want to start your own business in any of the free zones of UAE. But, where do you begin?

First and foremost, you need to decide on the kind of business you desire to run. Do you intend to start as a freelancer? Or set up an Abu Dhabi free zone company and employ others? The choice is entirely up to.

Going the freelancer way can be an affordable option. Although, not all the zones will offer you the option of free zone company register. For the free zone company option, however, there is plenty of choices with both all-encompassing and sector-specific zones on offer.

Steps to starting your company in any Dubai Free zone

This post enlightens you on the effortless process of coming up with a company in the Dubai free zone. It is crucial to note that every free zone’s authorities have their own rules and regulations. Aside from that, they have their distinct setup procedure.

Below are the most common steps of setting up a business in any of the free ones of UAE:

#1 Choose a business activity.

The first step when setting up a business in any of the free zones in UAE is deciding on the activities you wish to carry out. That will have a direct impact where you can register the company.

Remember, the type of license you apply for will also be dependent on the activities of your business. That is commercial, trading, professional services, etc.

Outlining every individual activity you wish to undertake may seem challenging, but bear in mind that there is no point in limiting yourself. Most Dubai free zones will allow you to carry out different activities under a single license.

You can choose to work with a company formation specialist at this stage. They will give the best advice regarding particular requirements for different activities. And will also ensure that you encounter a smooth process.

#2 Find a free zone

Once you’ve come up with the list of business activities, you need to decide on the free zone that is appropriate for you.

That is dependent on a factor such as; if you intend to set up in a specific sector free zone. ICT, healthcare, design, production, media, outsourcing, maritime, finance, and science are some of the industries catered to by Dubai’s specific industry zones.

You need to bear in mind the location of your preferred free zone. Consider details such as accessibility to highways if you depend on international trade. Take into consideration the proximity to both airports and ports.

#3 Choose a company name

Deciding on a company name can turn out to be a very daunting task. Ensure that the business name you choose to settle on will have an impact on your potential clients.

Also, you need to perform a search to ensure that your choice of a business name is available to get registered. A company set up specialist can offer help with this.

Note that if you choose to name your business after a person, they should be a shareholder.

#4 Apply for a license

Once you’ve come up with the business name, it is time to make your Dubai Free zone company formation official by handing in your application.

Some of the most common documents you will require for this process include:

  • Business plan
  • Colored copies of shareholder(s) visa or passport
  • Board resolution
  • Articles and memorandum of association

If you are setting up a business as a freelancer, you may be required to show proof of work orders or paid invoices.

#5 Apply for visa

You may choose to apply for your visa or those of your employees and staff at this point. Some of the requirements for this stage include status adjustment, entry permit, medical tests, Emirates ID registration, and the stamping of the visas.

Most free zones authorities have a limit on the number of visas that can get dispensed to each business. To increase your visa quota, you may move to bigger offices or apply for an increase in visa quota.

You may consult a company formulation specialist for guidance.

#5 Opening a corporate bank account

For you to trade, you will require a bank account. However, you must meet several criteria before you can be eligible.

Aside from the license, you may also need:

  • An account opening form
  • A resolution from the board of directors agreeing to the opening of the account
  • A copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation
  • A copy of the share certificates
  • Copies of passports for all your partners
  • A copy of the company’s articles and memorandum of association

Once done with the free zone company register, you’ll need to decide on your preferred financial institution. A company formulation specialist can offer help with this.

Free zone company register made easy

The steps discussed above will help you set up a business in any of the free zones in UAE. Just like starting any other business, you may encounter pitfalls. However, with enough research and guidance, you should be able to navigate your way through business success.