Free zone is a particular geographical area in the emirate where 100% foreign ownership is allowed. Free zones do not require partnership with a UAE citizen or with a local service agent.
Dubai Multi Commodities Center (“DMCC”) prides itself as the number one free zone in the UAE. It garnered four consecutive years endorsements from the Financial Times fDi magazine as the “Global Free Zone of the World” awardee.
Centered to the national economic diversification strategy, DMCC’s latest set of awards is a testimony to its ability to attract foreign direct investment, drive market-friendly reform and foster a commercial environment that removes barriers to trade, intrusive regulations and prohibitive bureaucracy.
DMCC is home to a vibrant community, innovative infrastructure, world-class services and a stunning choice of properties, all minutes from excellent air, sea and road links to the world. DMCC is the gateway to global trade having being home to more than 15,000 companies.
Its strength lies primarily on its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, products and services. DMCC offers a seamless and simple route to setting up a business in Dubai with 100 percent ownership.
Established in 2002, DMCC’s succeeding years is a manifestation of various rapid developments and growth, specifically in terms of membership.
In 2014, DMCC management launched an internal portal for all its member companies. Today almost all services are available online through DMCC Portal, which significantly speeded up processing of documents and requests. In addition, DMCC supported and promoted opening of Dubai Immigration office and a Medical Fitness Center in Jumeirah Lakes Towers area.
In August 2018, DMCC renamed Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) metro station to DMCC. This step highlights DMCC’s continuous effort to develop, enrich and connect the JLT district, host to an emerging community of over 100,000 people who live, work and visit the area.
DMCC management is also highly committed to surpass new heights in the coming years by launching projects like Expo 2020 Tower, which will be one of the largest commercial towers in the region. This initiative is getting fame as the “Uptown Dubai”.
At the initial stage of the company’s registration, there are sets of documents and information which will be required to be provided to DMCC authority. Documents required will be based on whether the shareholder/s of the DMCC company is an individual or a corporate entity. Also, a summary of the Business Plan will be required for certain activities.
- Passport Copy
- U.A.E. residence visa copy, if applicable
- Proof of residential address. If a utility bill is provided, it should not be more than six (6) months old.
- No Objection Certificate from the sponsor, if holding a valid UAE residence visa
- Certificate of Registration of the parent company
- Trade License of Parent Company (if the parent company has a trade license).
- Memorandum & Articles of Association (MOA) of the parent company
- Certificate of Incumbency issued by the Company Registrar (or a similar document showing the company’s authorized signatories).
If documents are in any language other than English and Arabic, then, it must be legally translated into English and to be notarized in the home Country. At least one of the parent company documents to be attested (preferably the Certificate of Incumbency) by the UAE Embassy or a Consulate in the country of origin or by any Arab Embassy if a UAE Embassy or Consulate is not available.
DMCC offers several types of licenses.
- General Trading License which allows importing, exporting, distributing, consolidating, and storing almost all types of products (except for a few types of products).
- Commercial/Trading License which allows importing, exporting, distributing, consolidating, and storing products that are specified in the license.
- Service License which allows carrying out service or consultancy activities that are specified in the license.
There are also additional customized license structures like the Single -Family Office option which helps in managing the wealth of a family.
In order to maintain a DMCC business license, companies are required to rent either a flexi-desk or a physical office within the DMCC. The total cost of company formation will also depend on the chosen office solution. There are, however, several business activities that would require a physical office rather than flexi-desk.
Visa eligibility of the company is related to the size of the office facility. Each 9 sq.m. of the office space allows a company to apply for one resident employment visa.
Establishment card files a company with the General Directorate of Residency & Foreign Affairs (“GDRFA”). Issued for three years, it allows a company to recruit staff from abroad and apply for foreign investors, partners and employment visas.
For companies who chose a physical office, an Operational Fitness Certificate will be required to be arranged prior to registration of the company. This certificate is issued by Concordia, the designated community manager within the DMCC area.
Third party approvals for certain regulated business activities.
A DMCC licensed company must ensure that its employees are authorized to work in the DMCC Free Zone by either holding an employment residence visa, an identity card, or an access approval. The DMCC employment residence visa is valid for 3 years.
A DMCC company is required to provide proof of transfer of share capital. As such, opening a corporate account should be taken into consideration when setting up a company in DMCC.
The cost of setting up a free zone company varies in different free zones. But generally, it will comprise of a one-time registration fee, yearly renewal fees, yearly rent and miscellaneous expenditures like telecommunication, post box, card charges, etc.
common share capital requirement is AED 50,000 (USD 13,698), where each shareholder holds a minimum of AED 10,000. Share capital needs to be deposited into company’s bank account.
1 year only, as in any other emirate, after which the license needs to be renewed.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre requests all member companies to submit audit reports on an annual basis. A newly established company has to appoint auditors from the list of registered service providers. Late audit report submission may result into a penalty of AED 5,000.
unlike many other free zones, DMCC has a very rigorous approach towards late license renewals. In case company’s license is not renewed within the period of 4 months since its expiration, it becomes annulled, and for its renewal the payment of penalty and re-registration charges apply.
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