How to setup a free zone company

By Afreen Razak Razak AccessTimeIcon

UAE Free Zones are areas for business designated by the government in order to encourage prospective investments from all across the world. The introduction of free zones has seen major benefits for everyone! Those who aspire to start their own business setup can find opportunities in company formation within a free zone. Due to the continuous support and benefits offered by the UAE Government as well as the Free Zone Authorities, setting up a company within a free zone is a lucrative opportunity that investors would never miss. Here are some of the key steps that can help you set up a company in a free zone.

1. Select the company structure

The most important step to beginning your entrepreneurial journey in a free zone is to determine its ownership structure. Free zones have the added benefit of allowing 100% ownership to expatriates who wish to start a business- which is not available to companies outside a free zone. For investors who wish to establish their business setup in a free zone, can do so by registering the company in the form of a Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or a Free Zone Company (FZC). The primary difference between these two structures is that an FZE has one shareholder, whereas an FZC has two or more shareholders present. These forms of ownership are both under the broad classification of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), though they are governed by the laws of the free zone they reside in and not under the provisions of the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL).

2. Select a trade name

Naming your entity gives it an identity and is the first step to establishing your company’s brand presence. Before finalizing a name for your venture, it’s best to check with either the Department of Economic Development (DED), or the free zone authority that governs your business setup. Enquiring about the validity of the name you chose can let you know whether the name does not comply with the protocols established with respect to trade names, or if the trade name has already been registered by another entity. Some naming conventions for trade names are as follows:

  • The name must be followed with the legal form of the entity (LLC, FZE, FZC, etc.).
  • The name should not violate public morals or the public order of the country.
  • The name should not use the names of any governing authority, the names of the emirates, the UAE, or the names of any religion.

3. Application for a business license

This aspect of the free zone company setup process involves the primary economic activities of the venture. What products or services you plan to conduct business with is directly related to the trading license you will have to acquire. Trade licenses are particularly important due to the fact that a license is the ultimate proof your business has the legal right to function within the UAE. In terms of free zone licenses, free zones like SPC Free Zone offer a multitude of benefits ranging from over 1,500 various business licenses across multiple industries to 10-year license duration periods.

4. Select an office space

Free zones offer flexibility in terms of office space requirements. You can choose to rent or even buy the property required for you to begin your business journey. The office specifications all depend on the type of business you will engage in, and free zones have a large variety of office suits that range both in size and availability of certain facilities.

5. Registration

The registration for free zone companies is simple and easy to comprehend. All you have to do is submit your application along with the relevant trade license, documentation and paperwork, after which you will have to pay the registration and licensing fees. Business setup costs in free zones are not as high as what it would be on the mainland. Due to perks like zero paid-up capital requirements as well as economical pricing of office spaces, the initial cost of starting a business is reduced, easing any financial strain. The process after your payment is completed is smooth sailing, with entry permits issued for non-residents and your business legally established.

Starting a business in a free zone doesn’t have to be daunting. Our experts here at SPC Free Zone can help you set up the business of your dreams with no hassle! Contact us at 800 SPCFZ to bring your entrepreneurial dreams to life in just a day.


The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content in this website without seeking independent legal or other appropriate advice. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. SPC Free Zone disclaims any and all liability for actions which you take or fail to take based on any of the content contained in this website.

The operation of this website does not create a professional relationship between you and SPC Free Zone.


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