Dubai South Free Zone

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About Dubai South Free Zone

Dubai South welcomes a wide range of activities including specialised trading and logistics activities.

The free zone’s strategic location is its major selling point—directly linked to Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport, making it the ideal hub for international travel, trade, and logistics.

It is also the site of the upcoming Expo 2020, an event that is expected to attract 25 million visitors to the UAE and 1 million residents at the territory of Dubai South.

Prices starting from AED 32,000

Average business setup time: 2 weeks

Benefits of setting up a company in: Dubai South Free Zone


As an expatriate, you can own 100% of the company and remit all profits to your home country.


Dubai South is linked to major international ports and airports and situated close to Expo 2020 site.


Dubai South issues trading, commercial, service, trading and logistics licences.


Establishing a business in Dubai South can be done within 2 weeks.


Dubai South offers warehousing and residential units for lease.


Dubai South allows you to transport goods from ship to plane in just four hours.

Business Activities

Dubai South Free Zone welcomes a range of financial and professional business activities. Here are some of the most popular options:






All Trading Activities








Food and Beverage Trading


IT Consultancy








Management Consultancy

Physical Presence Requirement

You do not have to be physically present to complete the setup process of your company.

Dubai South Free Zone: Business Formation

Every year, tons of new businesses are set up in Dubai, with more than 70,000 business licenses being issued last year. That number has almost doubled since the previous year, meaning that business set up in Dubai Free Zones is only going to keep rising. 

One Dubai free zone where many people choose to start a company is the Dubai South Free Zone. This free zone offers numerous benefits and makes it easy for individuals to start a company. 

If you’re interested in becoming one of the many businesses in Dubai South, this guide is for you. Here’s what you need to know about Dubai South Free Zone business formation. 

What Is the Dubai South Free Zone?

Before we dive into the ins and outs of Dubai South business formation, let’s talk about what the Dubai South Free Zone actually is. After all, you should know a little bit about the Free Zone before starting a company there!

The Dubai South Free Zone originated in 2006 and is one of the leading options for Dubai Free Zone company setups. It’s one of the most rapidly developing areas, as well as one of the newest Free Zones. 

The reason why it’s such a popular place for business setup is that it offers easy access to Abu Dhabi and to the Dubai mainland. The free zone sits nearby the Al Maktoum airport, making it easy for business owners to move goods and products around. 

What’s more, there are numerous roadways throughout the free zone. And, a metro runs through the zone, making transportation even easier.   

What Business Activities Are Allowed in Dubai South?

Each free zone has its own restrictions on what types of business activities company owners can perform. In order to set up a business in a particular free zone, you’ll need to adhere to the local business activity requirements. 

In Dubai South, you can participate in a number of different types of activities. The groups of activities allowed in the zone include

  • Commercial activities 
  • Service or consulting activities
  • E-commerce business
  • Manufacturing businesses
  • Freelance permits

Depending on the type of business you want to set up, you may need to prove your experience in the field. In those cases, you’ll typically need to have a degree in order to start your company. 

You should note that you can’t combine non-related activities in the same license. You also can’t combine service and commercial activities in the same license.  

Company Structure in Dubai South Free Zone

In the Dubai South Free Zone, there are a few different company structures you can choose to set up. These structures are based on the size of the organization and the nature of the business. 

In Dubai, you can start businesses with: 

  • One shareholder
  • Two or more shareholders
  • Local branches of companies already present in the UAE
  • Foreign branches of companies outside the UAE 

Benefits of Starting a Dubai South Free Zone Company

There are tons of different benefits to starting a business in the Dubai South Free Zone. Let’s take a look at a few of the different reasons why you should start a company in this area.  

Hub for Business

The Dubai South Free Zone is a hub for business. It has easy access to neighbouring countries as well as connections to other areas around Dubai, making it an amazing place for business owners to set up shop.

100% Ownership

Probably the biggest benefit of opening a business in Dubai South Free Zone is that you get 100% ownership. And, the area has 0% tax requirements for owners, so you don’t have to worry about being double-taxed. 

Flexible Office Solutions

Business owners love the Dubai South Free Zone because it offers tons of different office solutions. No matter what kind of business setup you have, you can find an office space that makes sense for your company. 

Fewer Nationality Restrictions

Many nations have pretty stringent restrictions on who can get a visa and start a business. The Dubai South Free Zone, however, has fewer restrictions for getting a visa or sponsoring dependents. There are also fewer restrictions for ownership of the company.

The Dubai South Business Set-Up Process

With all the details out of the way, let’s talk about the Dubai South Free Zone business setup process. For this process, you’ll need to be physically present as the owner of the company. 

The reason why the owner has to be present to start the company is so that he or she can sign the documents. If they truly can’t make it out to the free zone, they can send someone with power of attorney in their stead. 

Just make sure that you know that if you’re using power of attorney, the person must be legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They’ll also need legalization from a UAE embassy.  

Regardless of whether you’ll be heading to Dubai on your own or sending someone in your stead, you’ll need to go through a few steps. 


First, you’ll need to get pre-approval for your business formation. This is important so that you know you’ll be able to legally open your company and commence operations. 

Visit the UAE 

After you’ve got your pre-approval, you’ll need to head out to the free zone. During your visit, you’ll need to get your signatures verified as well as sign your new lease agreement. 

Pay Your Business Fees

Once you’ve set up your business and taken care of the UAE, it’s time for you to make a payment to the government. The payment is required for getting your licensing approved.  

What Are the Documents Required to Set Up a Business in Dubai South Free Zone?

Once you’re ready to start the process of setting up your Dubai business, you’ll need to gather a few documents. These documents include: 

  • A business license application form
  • A business plan (only required for service-related businesses)
  • Visas and passports of the managers and shareholders
  • A photocopy of your Emirates ID
  • A signed copy of DWCBC terms and conditions
  • A specimen signature form
  • A memorandum of articles of association

Once you’ve gathered these documents, you’re ready to submit your documents for pre-approval. It will take about fifteen days for you to get pre-approval. 

After you receive pre-approval, it will take about ten days for you to get your license. The timeline will vary a little bit depending on how quickly you get your documents together and start the process.  

Cost Involved in Setting Up a Business in Dubai South Free Zone

While we all wish that setting up a business in Dubai South was free, it does involve a few different costs. These costs include your immigration costs as well as your business establishment costs. 

The business establishment costs that you’ll need to be prepared for include:  

  • Registration fee: 2,000 AED
  • License fee:  10,000 AED
  • Flexi-desk: 16,900 AED
  • Establishment card:  1,000 AED

In addition to these costs to actually set up your business, you’ll also need to pay a few costs for your immigration and visa documents. These costs include: 

  • Company immigration card: 1,000 AED
  • Domestic residence visa: 4,100 AED
  • Foreign residence visa: 2,500 AED
  • Emirates ID card370 AED
  • Medical tests: 880 AED 

If you use a representative, you’ll also need to be aware of any fees that the business charges to help you process your immigration status and set up your company. This is a great idea for ensuring that the process is handled correctly.

What to Know About Dubai South Residence Visas

As part of the process of setting up your Dubai business, you’ll need to get a Dubai residence visa. The good news is that your Dubai residence visa costs are fairly low. 

Just know that if you were in the UAE at the time that you made your visa application, the costs will be a little higher. You should also be aware that you’ll need to take out basic medical insurance to get your visa. 

Once you get your visa, it’s valid for three years. You don’t need to have any investor designations for the shareholders within the business as part of your visa.  

Making Amendments to a Dubai South Business License

Once you’ve filed and received your Dubai South Business License, you might need to make changes to that license. There are a few different situations that could call for an amendment to your license. 

One of these amendments is a name change. If you choose to change the name of your company or if your own legal name changes, you’ll need to update your business documents to reflect that. 

Another amendment that you might need to make is if you change the activity your business participates in. For example, if you run a hair salon that now sells hair products, you’ll need to update your business activity since you have introduced the sale of products. 

If you have any personnel changes that involve managers, secretaries, directors, or shareholders, you’ll need to amend your business license. And, if you upgrade your facility, you’ll need to change your business license as well.  

Remember that depending on the amendment you’re making, you might have to pay a personal visit to the Free Zone. Other activities can be conducted through power of attorney

Renewing Your Dubai South Business License

Once you finish setting up your Dubai business, you might think that you’re free of paperwork forever. However, your business license is only valid for a set amount of time, meaning that you’ll have to renew it to keep your company active. 

The good news is that it’s much more affordable to renew your Dubai South business license. And, you can have an agent renew your business license so that you don’t have to be in the United Arab Emirates to keep your company running. 

To renew your company, all you need to do is make the payment to the government. Then, provide the government with a copy of your signed lease agreement for the upcoming year and your receipt of payment. 

You should also note that from your second business license renewal onward, you’ll need to provide audit reports. You’ll have to submit these reports to the government once a year.  

How to Liquidate a Dubai South Business

Sometimes, you might want to close down your Dubai South business. This could be for several different reasons, but whatever the reason you have, it’s a pretty straightforward process. 

In Dubai South, you don’t need to be physically present to liquidate your company. That means that you can hire a representative to take care of the necessary steps on your behalf. 

To liquidate your company in the Dubai South Free Zone, you’ll need to start by cancelling your visas. This includes not only your visa but any dependent visas that are attached to it. 

Next, you’ll need to cancel your lease agreement with your landlord. You’ll also need to close your business bank account. 

Finally, you’ll need to get a clearance from Customs. This is only necessary if your business license includes a trading activity. Once all those steps are done, you’re ready to close your business. 

Just be aware that you’ll need to pay a government fee of roughly 4,000 AED. After you’ve paid your fee and gone through the necessary steps, you can expect the company liquidation process to last about one month.   

Launch a Business in the Dubai South Free Zone

With this guide on Dubai South company formation, you’re ready to take advantage of everything that the Dubai South Free Zone has to offer. It’s time to open a business and start bringing in booming profits!

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with Virtuzone, and we’ll help you launch your new Dubai business today. 

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