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Free Zones

The UAE is well known for its numerous free zones.  These are defined areas in which goods and services can be provided to other organisations within the specific zone or with overseas companies. Hence free zones are often sector specific, e.g. TWOFOUR54 is a free zone for media-related companies in Abu Dhabi.

 A free zone license is only valid for the zone in which it was issued.  It is not allowed to operate in other free zones or onshore.  To sell goods to the mainland, an agent or distributor must be appointed.

Dual License

As part of the UAE’s initiative to attract foreign investment and provide more opportunities, it is now possible for free zone companies to apply for a dual license.  The dual license would enable the free zone entity to operate onshore and supply to government departments.  The dual license is only applicable for certain activities.

The benefits of setting up a free zone entity include:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • No Customs duty
  • No corporation tax
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • Relatively quick to setup (timescales vary per free zone)
  • Cost effective
  • Free zone visas are usually valid for three years

Would a free zone license enable you to operate legally? These licenses are popular with both startups and established international companies.

Gateway can work with you to identify which free zone is most suitable for your requirements and manage the whole registration process so that you can focus on developing your business.

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