SAIF – Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

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About Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF) is one of the best-connected free zones in the UAE. Built adjacent to Sharjah International Airport, the free zone is also easily accessible to Port Khor Fakkan on the Gulf of Oman and Port Khalid on the Arabian Gulf.

SAIF issues general trading, commercial, service, and industrial licences to businesses in a range of industries.

Prices starting from AED 9,000

Average business setup time: 5-7 days

Benefits of setting up a company in: SAIF – Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

100% BUSINESS OWNERSHIP AND CAPITAL REPATRIATION

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

STRATEGIC LOCATION

SAIF Zone provides a direct link to the markets of East and West. It is well connected by the sea.

FULLY EQUIPPED

SAIF Zone offers office, warehouse, and industrial facilities. It also has land for development.

RANGE OF SERVICES

SAIF Zone offers a range of consultancy services including legal assistance, couriers and training.

FLEXIBLE OFFERING

Set up as an FZE, FZC, or branch under a commercial, general trading, industrial or service licences.

Business Activities

SAIF – Sharjah Airport International Free Zone welcomes a range of financial and professional business activities. Here are some of the most popular options:

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General Trading

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Warehousing

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Trading

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Distribution

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Manufacturing

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Assembly

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Wholesale

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Storage

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Packaging

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Import/Export

Physical Presence Requirement

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

Sharjah Free Zone

Nestled in the dynamic landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Sharjah Free Zone presents a lucrative ecosystem for businesses worldwide. Offering unparalleled advantages, this zone is a beacon for investors looking to tap into the thriving Middle Eastern markets.

The Sharjah Free Zone accommodates diverse industries with its strategic location, cost-effective setup options, and robust infrastructure.

With tailored licences, a seamless registration process, and a welcoming legal framework, setting up in the Sharjah Free Zone could be your gateway to commercial success in the region and beyond.

The Sharjah Free Zone

Introduction to Free Zones in the UAE

The UAE is renowned for its free zones, which offer special tax, customs, and import regimes. These zones are strategically placed across the UAE, including in Sharjah, and operate under their own rules.

These zones aren’t subject to UAE criminal law. They are broadly categorised into seaport, airport, and mainland free zones, each catering to specific industry sectors and governed by an independent Free Zone Authority (FZA).

In these zones, businesses can enjoy a host of benefits. These include the following: 

  • 100% foreign ownership. 
  • Full repatriation of capital and profits.
  • Exemption from various taxes.

Companies can be set up as Free Zone Establishments (FZE) or as branches of existing companies. An FZE enjoys limited liability status and doesn’t have to adhere to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL).

Key Industries in Sharjah Free Zone

Sharjah Free Zone is a dynamic and business-friendly environment that’s become a hub for investors from a wide range of sectors. The zone is home to industries focusing on manufacturing, trading, technology and IT services, logistics, media, healthcare, education, and business consultancy.

Its strategic location near major ports and airports makes it an ideal hub for manufacturing and logistics companies, offering easy access to global markets. The technology and IT services sector thrives here thanks to the zone’s modern infrastructure.

Creative industries like media, advertising, and film production find a conducive environment for growth in Sharjah. Meanwhile, the zone’s robust facilities benefit the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. Education and training providers are also drawn to the Sharjah Free Zone, meeting the regional demand for skill development.

Business consultancy and advisory services thrive in the zone, providing expertise across these industries.

Benefits of Setting Up Business in Sharjah Free Zone

Entrepreneurs find Sharjah Free Zone attractive due to its cost-effective setup options. The zone offers small and medium-sized enterprises significant incentives, including affordable land and labour costs.

As previously mentioned, businesses enjoy 100% foreign ownership— which allows them to operate without local involvement. They’re exempt from duty on exports to non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Tax exemptions, hassle-free visa renewals for investors, staff, and their families, and access to a skilled and affordable workforce are just some perks.

The free zone’s infrastructure is designed to support business growth, offering energy at low costs and maintaining confidentiality over company assets. Sharjah Free Zone’s strategic geographical position links it to an extensive network of roadways, seaports, and airways.

This makes it an ideal choice for business incorporation. The emirate’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP, fair judicial system, and low crime rate further enhance its appeal. With five distinct free zones, including the expansive Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and the specialised Sharjah Publishing City, you can select the most suitable location for your operations.

The free zones’ friendly economic policies, world-class infrastructure, and cost-effective investment options make it a prime destination. Sharjah’s strategic location and high quality of life make it attractive for business setup and investment.

Types of Licences Available

The Sharjah Free Zone, a nexus for global commerce, provides a spectrum of licences to accommodate enterprises’ varied requirements. These licences are customised to bolster key sectors within the zone. Each licence is accompanied by specific prerequisites and constraints to ensure compliance with the legal frameworks established by the FZA.

Commercial Licences

Entities engaged in trading can obtain a commercial licence to import, export, distribute, and warehouse products within the zone. This licence necessitates leasing a physical office within the zone, which will serve as the company’s base of operations. However, this licence restricts direct sales to the local market unless conducted through local distributors or agents, maintaining adherence to the nation’s trade regulations.

Industrial Licences in Sharjah Free Zone

An industrial licence is essential for businesses involved in manufacturing, processing, or fabricating products. This licence is a prerequisite for establishing an industrial operation within the zone and ensuring compliance with environmental, health, and production regulations. It underscores the zone’s dedication to promoting industrial advancement while upholding stringent quality and safety norms.

Service Licences and Their Advantages

Entities that provide professional or consultancy services in areas such as legal, accounting, marketing, and IT require a service licence. This licence permits operations within the specified field of expertise and ensures that the services rendered conform to the licensed activities. Service licence holders are not permitted to engage in trading, maintaining a clear demarcation between service provision and merchandise sales.

The zone’s strategic positioning and state-of-the-art infrastructure make it a prime location for service-oriented businesses. Establishing in the zone provides advantages such as complete foreign ownership and access to business support services, providing a competitive edge. Additionally, sector-specific areas within the zone foster a synergistic atmosphere conducive to networking with fellow service providers.

The Company Formation Process

Steps to Register Your Business

Select an appropriate licence reflecting your company’s activities to initiate your venture. Various options are available, including those for Commercial and Trading or Professional services. Once a licence is chosen, reserve a name that aligns with your brand and adheres to naming regulations.

Submit a preliminary application to commence registration. The subsequent step is to secure office space, benefiting from the zone’s infrastructure and competitive leasing options. The authorities require minimal documentation, facilitating a swift establishment process.

Opt for a legal structure that best suits your needs, such as an FZ LLC, FZ Co., or FZE. Establishing a branch within the zone is also an option for existing businesses. Note that the capital requirements may differ across various Free Zones.

Required Documentation and Approvals

The documentation necessary for establishment varies based on the chosen activity, legal structure, and specific Free Zone regulations. Typically, a comprehensive business plan, passport copies of shareholders, and occasionally an NOC are required.

Annual licence renewal is mandatory and involves a renewal application and associated fees. The cost of obtaining a licence begins at AED 6,875 (USD 18,72), encompassing the licence fee and office space lease.

Adherence to the UAE’s regulatory framework, including the ESR and the Cabinet Resolution concerning real beneficiary procedures, is imperative to maintain compliance.

Understanding Sharjah Free Zone Legal Framework

The legal structure of free zones is designed to foster trade, investment, and entrepreneurial activities, with regulations catering to a broad spectrum of sectors. For example, the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone is a pioneer, being the first dedicated to the publishing industry.

Its geographical position enhances its logistics and maritime trading hub role, with seamless access to significant ports and the Sharjah International Airport. This connectivity is advantageous for businesses aiming for global reach.

Facilities within the zone allow collaboration with local and international banks, accommodation for employees, and freedom from currency exchange limitations. The SPC Free Zone offers a dual-licence option, enabling operations both on the mainland and within the Free Zone under a single licence.

The SPC Free Zone also supports business scalability by allowing up to 20 visas on a single licence.

Facilities and Infrastructure

Office and Warehouse Solutions

A variety of office solutions are available, from premium, fully furnished spaces with executive suites to semi-furnished, customisable spaces. These offices are equipped with modern IT and telecommunications infrastructure, and utility charges are included. For those needing flexibility, there are office spaces available around the clock on a non-sharing basis.

Warehousing solutions are tailored to various uses, including manufacturing and logistics. These facilities are equipped with built-in offices, pantries, and lavatories and feature industrial exhaust systems and sufficient power capacity for heavy machinery. Plots for custom-built warehouses or factories, starting from 2,500 sqm, are available for tailored requirements.

Connectivity and Logistics Support

The zone’s proximity to major logistical hubs is enhanced by an on-site Immigration and Customs Office, streamlining the movement of goods and personnel. Labour accommodation can be arranged to meet workforce requirements efficiently.

The zone expedites the issuance of licences and permits, often within an hour. To facilitate financial transactions, a new partnership with Al Ansari Exchange has been established.

Technological Amenities and Services

The zone provides state-of-the-art laboratories, R&D facilities, and IT services to support innovation and align with the UAE’s vision for a knowledge-based economy. The SRTIP is a testament to this, offering training, funding opportunities, and a collaborative environment for research and entrepreneurship.

The SPC Free Zone provides a supportive ecosystem for the publishing industry, with over 2000+ business activities. It has received the ISO 9001:2015 for its infrastructure and accessibility to markets.

Shared business spaces encourage collaboration, and a variety of office spaces cater to different business needs. Retail spaces within the zone serve the community, and warehouses facilitate efficient logistics operations, including packing and inventory management.

Why Choose The Sharjah Free Zone

Since the establishment of the first zone in 1995, Sharjah Free Zones have been instrumental in fostering economic diversification and industrial advancement. These zones are designed to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. They offer a variety of incentives and benefits to businesses.

Cost-Effective Business Setup

Licence costs are relatively low, starting at AED 6,875 (USD 1,872). However, depending on your company’s specific needs, such as office or warehouse space and visa requirements, you might run into additional expenses. Overall, setting up shop in the Sharjah Free Zone is competitive, especially when you consider the extensive support services available to help you grow your business.

Companies will have Limited Liability

This legal structure is a game-changer for entrepreneurs and investors because it lowers their risk and provides a secure environment for doing business.

Allocation of Up to 12 Visas on a Shared Desk Facility

The Sharjah Free Zone offers an efficient solution for businesses that need a physical presence. Up to 12 visas can be held on a shared desk facility. This setup lets companies manage their staffing efficiently and take advantage of the free zone’s shared resources and infrastructure.

Shareholders are Not Required to Be Physically Present in the UAE to Incorporate a New Company

The incorporation process in the Sharjah Free Zone is flexible, letting shareholders set up a new company without having to be there in person. This online registration process makes starting a business a breeze and is particularly handy for international investors who want to tap into the UAE market without having to move there right away.

Wide Range of Business Activities Available on the Same Business Licence

For your business licence in the Sharjah Free Zone, you’ve got over 1,500 business activities to choose from. Whether you’re into trading, manufacturing, media, logistics, IT, or healthcare, you’re likely to find a category that fits your business. And if you’re looking to expand, the option to get a dual licence for both mainland and free zone operations on the same licence opens up even more opportunities for growth.

Quick and Simple Online Registration Process

Through SPC Free Zone, you can get your business licence in as little as 45 minutes. The quick and easy online registration is a major plus for businesses eager to get started.

Location

Being nestled between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah gives businesses access to a larger regional market and a skilled workforce. The emirate’s infrastructure and stable, investor-friendly regulatory environment make it an ideal base for businesses aiming to reach the Middle Eastern and African markets.

Discover Sharjah’s Business Oasis

Stepping into the Sharjah Free Zone is akin to unlocking a realm of unparalleled possibilities. It’s more than just a strategic location; it’s a comprehensive ecosystem designed for your business to flourish, surrounded by modern facilities, robust infrastructure, and a supportive economic framework.

Sharjah Free Zone serves as a beacon to entrepreneurs, SMEs, and multinational conglomerates alike, offering a gateway to markets across the Middle East, Asia, and beyond. A testament to Sharjah’s commitment to business excellence, the Free Zone enables you to leverage cost efficiencies, enjoy flexible operational models, and immerse in a collaborative business culture.

Here, your aspirations take flight in an environment that respects and fosters your ambition. Welcome to Sharjah Free Zone, your next business destination.

Start your business today

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