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A Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Business in Dubai's International Free Zones

Dubai’s international free zones offer a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to set up a business in one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse business communities. With tax incentives, simplified registration procedures, and streamlined regulatory frameworks, free zones are an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. Here’s a beginner’s guide to setting up a business in Dubai’s international free zones.

Understand the benefits of free zones
Free zones offer a range of benefits for businesses, including 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, simplified company registration procedures, and access to world-class infrastructure and business services.

Choose the right freezone
Dubai has over 40 international free zones, each with its own unique advantages and industry-specific focus. Research and compare the different free zones to find the one that best suits your business needs and goals.

Decide on the legal structure
The most common legal structures for businesses in Dubai’s free zones are Free Zone Establishment (FZE) and Free Zone Company (FZCO). An FZE is a single shareholder company, while an FZCO can have multiple shareholders.

Register your company
Registering a company in a free zone typically involves submitting the necessary documentation, such as the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, to the relevant authorities. The process can be completed quickly and easily with the help of a free zone consultant.

Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses, such as a commercial license or an industrial license, from the relevant authorities in the free zone.

Open a bank account
To operate your business in Dubai’s free zones, you’ll need to open a local bank account. This can be done through one of the many banks located within and outside the free zone.
Hire staff: To hire staff in a free zone, you’ll need to obtain an employment visa and comply with the relevant labour laws and regulations. Many free zones offer streamlined procedures for obtaining visas and work permits.

Set up your office
Most free zones offer a range of office spaces, from serviced offices to custom-built facilities. Choose the option that best suits your business needs and budget.

Comply with local regulations
While free zones offer many advantages for businesses, it’s important to comply with local regulations and laws. This includes adhering to the relevant tax and accounting regulations, as well as complying with labour laws and health and safety regulations.

Network and build relationships
Dubai’s international free zones offer a vibrant and diverse business community, with opportunities for networking and building relationships. Attend industry events, join business associations, and connect with other businesses in the free zone to expand your network and grow your business.

The above notwithstanding, we acknowledge that navigating emerging markets as a startup can be daunting, especially if you are not a local and without competent local support. That is why we at Dinku Transnational pride ourselves in not just being a service provider, but a partner who will walk with you on your journey toward achieving your business goals. Based out of Dubai, we provide end-to-end support for small and medium-scale companies, investors, and individuals looking to establish or optimise their business in the United Arab Emirates with a particular emphasis on its international free zones.

Want to know more? Please contact us at or visit contact us to schedule a free consultation.