Setting up your Business in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Setting up your Business in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone

There are many benefits that businesses located in the UAE’s Free Zones enjoy, for example:

• 100% Ownership

• Import/ Export Duty Exemption

• 0% Personal / Corporate Tax

Forming a company within a Free Zone can be easier and quicker than with an Onshore Company largely due to a lack of a requirement to find a local partner.  The recruitment and labour procedures are also easier and there are generally fewer labour hiring restrictions.  All administration services are centrally located as well as customs inspections onsite for those import export zones

The Free Zones have three major limitations:

• Companies are restricted from trading directly with the United Arab Emirate market

• The Free Zone company must conduct business through approved distributors

• A 5% Custom Duty is applicable

There are over 12.000 companies including many major global brands operating under the UAE Free Zones Authority. The UAE’s Free Industrial Zones and Free Trade Zones are the only places in the Middle East available where investors retain a true 100% ownership of their business.

Jebel Ali, Dubai was the first Free Zone, formed in 1985. This sector has experienced tremendous growth in the years since its inception, drawing huge numbers of investors.  Having invested millions in establishing their offices, warehouses and factories in the Free Zones, first movers have experienced tremendous benefits and we are witnessing the trend continuing in Abu Dhabi today.

Document Requirements - Registering Your Business in the UAE Free Zones

There are standard procedure common to the Free Zones when setting up a business. Investors are encouraged to contact PRO Partner Group to determine if the business type is available in the Free Zone they wish to locate in.

Three types of company set ups are available:

1. (FZE) Free Zone Establishment (one shareholder)

2. (FZCO) Free Zone Company (two or more members)

3. Branch Office

Typically, the following documents for the specific type of establishment are required:


1. Application form

2. Original bankers reference

3. A copy of the owner’s Passport

4. The owner’s Business profile


1. A copy of the owner’s Passport

2. The owners Business profiles

3. Board Resolution

4. Banker’s reference

5. A valid copy of the Manager’s passport

6. A sample of the Manager’s signature

7. The original application for the FZCO


1.Registration Certificate

2.Articles of Association and Memorandum

3.Board Resolution

4.Manager’s attested signature and copy of passport copy

5.Profile of the Parent company

PRO Partner Group can help you navigate the paperwork and requirements. Performing due diligence on your part is only a small part of setting up and running a business.  Familiarise yourself with the requirements, pull together that which you understand and are able to facilitate and be as prepared as possible for your new business venture abroad.

James Swallow is Commercial Director of UAE based PRO Partner Group. PRO Partner Group specialises in providing foreign investors with a seamless and financially efficient means to setting up a profitable corporate presence in the Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We can advise on the best way to set up your business to undertake the relevant activities and access the relevant sections of the market, UAE local market, Government, Onshore, Freezone and Internationally. Contact James direct on for further information.

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