Setting up a company in the
UAE’s Free Trade Zones

Affordable incorporation solutions with 100% foreign ownership, designed for doing
business both within the Free Trade Zone area and outside the country.

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SORP.AE

There are over 50 Free Trade Zones dotted across 5 of the 7 Emirates. Companies in a FTZ can be totally foreign owned with no local involvement required, unlike Mainland Companies. Each specializes in supporting one or more licensed business activities and offers unique benefits, such as financial, geographic, facilities, labor and more. They are linked to large logistics centers, ports or airports and offer ready-made warehousing and offices, with exceptionally high-grade infrastructure and utilities. Many FZ represent budget solutions for setting up in the UAE.

Setting up a company inside a Free Zone provides unique business opportunities

Run a trading
business
Conduct international trade, export, re-export, but sell goods in the local market of the UAE only through distributors.
Operate a manufacturing facility
Take advantage of duty - free import of raw materials, storage within the FZ, and export products outside the UAE.
Manage a service business
Provide a wide range of services to international contractors, including to the FTZ of incorporation.
Residence permit and tax domicile
Obtain a residence permit and the status of a tax resident (domicile) for shareholders, employees and their families.
Property and assets registration
All assets and real estate, including foreign ones, can be registered to the Free Zone company.
Global business operations
0% corporate taxes for international businesses provides genuine justification for setting up a FTZ company.

Consolidating business and assets at parent company level and creating international structures and schemes for business optimization are considered as legitimate actions under the United Arab Emirates legislation. This guarantees the confidentiality of the beneficiary’s data, the absence of major taxes and currency controls, and the protection of the rights of investors and their investments. Obtaining UAE tax resident status will allow shareholders and investors to protect themselves from automatic exchange of tax information.

SORP’s solutions for Free Zone company incorporation

Choosing the right zone
and business model

We will pinpoint the right business activity and the license, and the best FTZ for achieving all your business goals.

Registering your
Business

We tie up legal requirements quickly because of our strong cooperations with the licensing authorities as well as knowledge of the procedures.

Opening your
bank account

We guide you through KYC compliance with assistance in your choice of leading UAE banks. SORP know-how gets things done quickly.

Prestigious
legal address

Use our Business Center as your base for completing KYC procedures and while confirming ESR (Economic Substance).

PRO business
support

We do the legwork to obtain visas for investors, employees and their families, renew licenses, permits and so forth.

Outsourced
business processes

We provide integrated legal, tax, accounting and administrative services with full business support and a highly professional approach.

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Key features of the UAE mainland company’s professional license

100% foreign ownership

A company registered in the FTZ can be fully owned by a foreign investor, without any requirements for a local partner or agent to be involved.

Many business activities supported

FTZs specialize in one or more business activities and the range of their options is wide, from investment consulting and healthcare to trade, logistics and more.

Deciding on location is important

Rent or purchase commercial, warehouse, industrial and office premises only in the FTZ of your incorporation – not elsewhere.

Business licensing

Free Zone licensing process is unique to each FTZ and depends on the type of business activity you are carrying on.

Visa conditions

The number of visas that a company can get depends on the size of the premises it occupies.

License renewal

Some Free Zones require submission of annual financial statements and audits in order to renew the business license.

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Some important considerations when choosing a Free Zone for incorporation

Incorporation process
Your business activity is the deciding factor in choosing a FTZ. Each FreeZone has its own list of the activities it permits and supports. They also have their own registration terms, approvals as well as documentation required, and internal regulations.
Infrastructure and logistics
The needs of your business will help you decide where to register. Proximity to transport hubs, ports, airports matters if import, delivery and storage of goods are important. Availability of production facilities, engineering networks and technical services may be critical too.
Budgeting factors
Zones decide their own pricing for incorporation, premises leasing, and license renewal. Location is a factor. Those closest to Dubai and Abu Dhabi are generally more expensive and so your budget may dictate zones further away.

Reputation matters. Banks have their own internal rating of each UAE Free Trade Zone, which they use to determine the relative reliability of companies registered there. That can make opening bank accounts in the future significantly easier. Contractors, too, are aware of the jurisdiction of incorporation. It follows that you should ideally focus on the premium zones if possible or open a Mainland Company instead, especially if you are planning to enter the domestic market.

Comprehensive SORP support services for doing business in the UAE

Business planning
and the right model
We help you plan and implement a properly licensed business model and solid basis for operations. We guide you in creating a retail network and accessing international or local markets.
Advice, consultancy
and support
We will analyze the market, the competition and the relevant legislation. We will suggest the best locations for your business to ensure it can operate in the best and most productive environment.
Local nominee
partner or agent
We will provide a restricted rights director and shareholder to exclude transfer pricing and for concealing the actual beneficiary of company. A waiver of rights is obtained in the Dubai court.
Obtaining tax
residency status
Enjoy tax resident (domicile) status shielding you from CRS requirements for sharing your tax details and for preventing double taxation
International
Tax Planning
We design optimized tax solutions for international business within the full scope of UAE legislation, drawing on our wide experience in this field
Confirmation of
economic substance
We help fulfil proof of economic substance based on the registered location of your company, as well as localized decision making and management, and tax compliance.

SORP’s long experience guarantees the success of your operation in the UAE

Complex of all services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing, maintaining Bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual approach

Your requirements are unique. That is why we treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities.

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Banking support

Assistance in choosing a bank that is suitable for your purposes, support with bank accounts opening and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).

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