Scores of large global and multinational companies, including many Fortune 500 entities, have set up their offices in the UAE, which now ranks 16th globally in the Ease of Doing Business Index. The same goes true for small and medium businesses and independent entrepreneurs. But what is the cheapest free zone in UAE? Let’s find out.
Free Zones in UAE have contributed substantially to the country’s business-friendly environment. There are over 50 free zones in the UAE, each with different rules, regulations, and benefits. Whether you’re interested in using a free zone, wanting to know which is the cheapest free zone, which free trade zone to use or a free zone license- this is the article for you!
You will be wanting to ensure that your free zone license will work within the guidelines of the free zone authorities. Regardless of if you are foreign investors, or simply requiring economic development under currency regulation restrictions for you cost effective free zones- we have you covered. To help you choose the perfect free zone for your business, let’s review the cheapest free zones in UAE and see what they offer.
As a startup or business owner, there are many reasons to take advantage of the free zones in UAE:
- Unrestricted capital and profit repatriation: Free Zones in UAE let you take the entire profit or capital from your business activities back to your home country or wherever you want.
- 100% foreign ownership: Previously, foreign investors could own up to 49% of a business in the UAE. However, the government of UAE amended the regulation, and now you can own 100% of your business operating in the free zones.
- Tax exemption: Businesses in the Dubai free zones are not subject to any personal or corporate income tax.
- Quick company formation: You can obtain a trade licence and set up your company in the free zones in as little as five days.
- Sector-specific advantages: UAE has several sector-specific free zones, where you will find plenty of infrastructural support relevant to your business sector.
There are several categories of free zones in the UAE, such as mainland, offshore, economic, free trade, and media. Typically, economic free zones are the most affordable ones.
DUQE is one of the cheapest free zones in UAE that offer comprehensive benefits and structural facilities to various business types. You will also find quite a few similar cheap free zones in the UAE, where you can start a business with approximately AED 10,000 (USD 2,700) or even less.
Let’s take a look at the cheapest free zones in UAE where you can conveniently form your UAE business without spending a fortune.
DUQE Free Zone – One of the Cheapest Free Zones in UAE with a Unique Location
DUQE is one of the cheapest free zones in UAE that also lets you enjoy many of the benefits of the more expensive ones. DUQE free zone is highly suitable for companies of all sizes and across various sectors.
- Excellent location: DUQE has a unique location as the free zone is on the QE2 ship. It’s situated within 18 minutes of the Dubai International Airport and 15 minutes from Burj Khalifa.
- Pricing options: DUQE offers a range of customised packages for entrepreneurs to set up their businesses.
- One-stop service: DUQE has assembled a very approachable user support team to help you with everything you need for a company formation and free zone visa application.
- Fast service: You can get started with DUQE in as little as one week.
DUQE provides an interactive cost calculator where you can indicate your business details and get a cost estimate in no time. The details include:
- Business category
- Number of activities
- Number of shareholders
- Number of visas required
- Availability of business plan
- UAE residence status
- Annual turnover
- Tentative business opening time
Currently, you can obtain a trade licence and start your business activities in DUQE starting from AED 12,500 (USD 3,400).
DUQE is one of the cheapest free zones in UAE. The unique location also helps it stand out of the crowd. Get started with setting up your business with DUQE free zone today.
Located near Ajman port and two major airports, the Ajman Free Zone lets you establish various business activities related to project management, services, and consultations. In addition, the free zone also supports the establishment of industrial businesses related to waste management, transport services, and IT infrastructure.
- Business services: You will find many of the services needed to set up and operate your business within close proximity of Ajman free zone. For instance, you won’t have to commute to get a bank account- (instead you may use an international bank in Dubai), medical support, or insurance service.
- Dedicated customer care: Ajman free zone authority provides 24/7 customer support to address any of your problems and queries.
- Excellent infrastructure: From high-speed internet to a smooth road transportation system – Ajman free zone will support you with all the necessary business amenities.
- High-quality air: Ajman free zone authority has installed cutting-edge air quality monitoring systems throughout the free zone to ensure a healthy climate and reduce environmental footprints.
Ajman free zone offers various business licences, and your company formation cost will depend on several other factors, including your business licence type and size of operations. The licence types are:
- Commercial licence
- Industrial/manufacturer licence
- Service licence
- Pioneers package – AED 5,000
- Freelancer package – AED 6,000
- eCommerce licence – AED 5,600 (extension)
- Offshore licence
For most of the business types, you will be able to get the necessary approvals from the Ajman free zone starting from AED 11,000 (USD 3,000).
The versatile nature and great affordability have made the Ajman free zone one of the most promising places to set up your business in the UAE. Consider Ajman free zone to form your Dubai business.
Founded in 1995, Hamriyah is one of the oldest and cheapest free zones in UAE, with a total business area of over 30 million square metres. Over 6,500 investors from 163 countries globally have opened their businesses and entrepreneurships at Hamriyah.
- Fast service: If you have all the required documentation, it is possible to complete your business registration and obtain a trade licence at Hamriyah within hours.
- Versatile facilities: Whether you need office space, a warehouse, or land for your business, Hamriyah offers all three.
- Small office: Hamriyah is an excellent choice for small investors. You can rent the economic office space starting from only 10 square metres.
- Electricity solutions: Hamriyah offers a full range of industrial electricity connections, from 20KW to 150 KW.
- Strong security: Hamiyah provides 24/7 security for clients, so you don’t have to worry about safeguarding your business.
- Financial stability: You can lease land at Hamriyah free zone with fixed rent for your first five years and be unaffected by inflation.
Hamriyah free zone welcomes all investors and entrepreneurs. The cost of setting up your business will depend on the type and size of operations and the facilities you need. The main licence categories are:
- Commercial (trading, general trading, and eCommerce)
The company formation cost at Hamriyah free zone starts from AED 9,000 (USD 2,500).
Located in Sharjah, the Hamriyah free zone is the second-largest free zone in the UAE. Jumpstart your business activities at Hamriyah.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is one of the most versatile and cheapest free zones in UAE, where over 50 business sectors are operating within a strong community. RAKEZ comprises two business zones, two industrial zones, and one academic zone.
- Banking partners: RAKEZ has formed a strong partnership with six leading UAE banks for account opening services and with five banks for easy payment planning.
- Tailored packages: Instead of implementing a strict fee structure, RAKE aims to fully understand your business goals and offer you a customised package to best suit your needs.
- Professional advisers: RAKEZ has a team of experts and business consultants whom you can contact for any support.
- One-stop service: As RAKEZ has separate business and industrial zones, they have customised the facilities to offer the best services possible.
- Free and non-free zones: RAKEZ lets you choose from both free and non-free zones for company formation.
- Mobile app: The free zone authority has launched a feature-rich mobile app where you can access all the resources you need.
The RAKEZ free zone is highly budget-friendly. You can register a business in this free zone starting from AED 11,200 (USD 3,050) which includes the residence visa fees as well. The facilities include:
- Flexi workspaces
- Shell and core offices
- Executive offices
- Land for development
Situated in one of the most strategically convenient locations in UAE, the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF) is also one of the cheapest free zones in UAE. The zone is near Port Khor Fakkan and Port Khalid, which brings added advantages for industries to transport cargo.
- Easy setup: Once you have all the documentation ready in your hand, SAIF can set up your UAE business within one hour.
- Instant support: SAIF aims to provide instant customer support with 24/7 availability.
- Versatile offices: SAIF offers various facilities to match your needs. The free zone provides office spaces, warehouses, land, and jewellery manufacturing plants.
- All services under one roof: From visa assistance services to custom clearance – you will find everything your business needs within one location at SAIF.
The actual cost of your company formation at SAIF free zone depends on the licence and business type. You can set up a business with as little as AED 9,000 (USD 2,450). SAIF lets you choose from one of the following licencing options:
- Free zone establishment
- Free zone company
- UAE-based company’s branch
- Foreign company’s branch
SAIF lets you establish a diverse range of businesses within the facility. Transform your business idea to reality today at SAIF.
Dubai Internet City (DIC) – The Cheapest Free Zone in UAE for IT Businesses
Dubai Internet City (DIC) is a tech-friendly free zone in UAE focusing extensively on the infotech businesses. This is also the cheapest free zone in UAE for IT professionals and independent freelancers. DIC aims to develop an excellent and engaging community of IT professionals to help you grow consistently.
- Excellent partnerships: DIC has partnered with IBM, Microsoft, CISCO for round-the-clock tech support and sustainable tech implementations.
- Commercial spaces: DIC offers every type of commercial space you may need for your IT business. The commercial space categories are known as D/Quarters (coworking space), Retail (SME-friendly space) and in5 Centres (suitable for large businesses).
- International events: DIC frequently hosts global IT events, which can help you build a strong professional network.
- Freelancer licence: DIC is one of the few places in Dubai that approves your licence as a freelancer without having you open a full-fledged business. You can also obtain an employment visa through the GoFreelance program.
Being a tech-focused free zone, DIC offers some of the most affordable free zone packages for tech professionals and startups. A one-year employment visa costs only AED 2,750, whereas a three-year visa costs AED 5,000. You will also need to purchase an establishment card for AED 2,000.
Currently, the total cost of obtaining a trade licence as a freelancer starts from AED 7,500 (USD 2,040).
The Dubai Internet City free zone has everything you need to set up and sustain your IT business. If you are an IT professional, don’t forget to check DIC before registering your business.
A free zone in UAE is a special economic zone that offers ample opportunities for businesses to get started quickly and at relatively lower costs. Businesses enjoy tax exemption in a free zone, and foreign business owners can maintain complete ownership of their UAE business.
UAE free zones are the best places to set up a business if you are looking for foreign ownership, easy company formation, and tax exemption. The cheapest free zones in UAE are DUQE, DIC, Ajman and Hamriyah, where you can start your business activities with less than AED 10,000 (USD 2,700).