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 Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) was established in 2004 and is wholly owned by the Government of Dubai. DSOA provides both a living and integrated working community which offers trade zone incentives and benefits to companies operating within the tech park.
DSOA prides itself for having Dubai’s first smart city, the Silicon Park. The technology park possesses infrastructures and facilities that are of world-class quality. It houses 8 Signature Boutique Buildings offering a unique opportunity for companies to establish their Headquarters in the heart of Silicon Park overlooking the lake and located in the Central Square. These flexible smart buildings provide superior fitted office spaces for companies to move straight into.
On the same park, there is a designated space, where various international brands and exceptional local retailers are all represented.
A separate area for residential complex is also available. This is where stylish apartments are built to the most rigorous standards of sustainability.
DSOA is also home to Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus which is the largest startup campus in the Middle East. DSOA has partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) New York, an internationally recognized leader in professional and technology-oriented education and established RIT Dubai.
Whatever the business requirement would be, DSOA presents a wide variety of options for business start-ups. In addition, Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) has a network of roads allowing access to Dubai’s major highways.
DSO offers a number of Dubai free zone benefits that attract investors to the location. These advantages that they find helpful are listed below:
- 100% foreign ownership
- Tax exemption
- No restriction on capital repatriation
- 0% import or re-export duties
- No currency restrictions
- No restriction on foreign talent or employees
- Onsite customs
- In-house Immigration and visa services
- FZCO- An FZCO is a legal entity incorporated/registered with a minimum of two shareholders. Shareholders can be either individuals or non-individual(s)/corporate.
- FZE- An FZE is a legal entity incorporated/registered by a single shareholder. The shareholder can either be an individual or a non-individual/corporate.
- Branch- Any established company, whether in the UAE or abroad, can register its branch in the Dubai Silicon Oasis. The activity of the branch proposes to conduct in the Dubai Silicon Oasis is required to be identical to the activity conducted by the parent company.
- DED registered companies- Companies who are already established with the Dubai Economic Department (DED) and wish to operate in The Administrative Zone in DSO (i.e. in non-DSOA property) should apply for a Business Operation Permit.
The minimum share capital required is AED 100,000 for both FZE and FZCO.
- Service License- This allows the registered entity to carry out only specified services.
- Trade License- This allows the registered entity to practice activities which are related to import, export, and distribution of items and goods as specified in the license.
- Industrial License- This allows the registered entity to import raw material, manufacture, and process, assemble, package and export the finished product.
- Business Operation Permit: This is a special permit given to companies by the Dubai Economic Department (DED) operating under the Administrative Zone in DSOA (areas owned by private developers) using a license issued by Dubai Economic Department (DED). This license is issued based on the license issued by Dubai Economic Department. No share capital is required for this type of license.
- Entrepreneurial Business License (EBL): EBL is a low-cost license that offers a lesser business stake, and is designed to offer a wide range of support resources and services to budding entrepreneurs who are members of DSO’s incubator program.
Within Dubai Silicon Oasis are projects built and managed by private developers. These projects are not owned by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and are sold/leased/managed directly by the developer or their chosen provider. These freehold & leasehold projects are located in the freehold & leasehold areas of DSO. Privately developed areas in DSO are plots of land for residential and commercial use which are sold on freehold or 99 years leasehold basis to UAE nationals and non-UAE nationals.
In Dubai Silicon Oasis, the list of business activities that are allowed are the following:
- Law firms
- Finance institutions
- Oil and gas
- Alternative energy and mobile startups
- Company headquarters offices
- Sales and marketing
- Support offices training
- Testing and checking
- Submit relevant application form with the required documents
- Obtain initial approval from DSOA
- Choose a fitted office from DSO’s selection that’s the most appropriate size and layout for your business requirements or decide whether you’ll require DSO-regulated contractors for fit-out service for unfitted offices. Submit the lease agreement to authority.
- Collect corporate documents from DSOA.
- Relevant application form and letter of intent
- Company profile
- Annual financial report or shareholder(s)’ 6-month bank statement (not applicable for new registration)
- Copy of officers’ CV and passports
- Original bank reference letter (for each shareholder)
- No objection letter by the current sponsor, for the manager (if a resident of UAE and a UAE employment visa-holder)
- Initial approval(s) from the third authority(s) in case your business activities required such approvals, e.g., media, IT, pharmaceutical
- Business plan
- Attested and notarized Memorandum of Association/Article of Association—it must be attested from the UAE Embassy at the place of origin.
- Fully legalized Board resolution by the board of directors of existing company/entity at the place of origin, expressing the intent of establishing a new setup abroad
- Fully legalized Certificate of registration (if applicable) of existing company/entity, license, or certificate of incorporation of existing company/entity.
Depending on the industry and the specific business activity that Client wishes to proceed with, the following fees are applicable to each license types.
- Trade License - Ranging between AED 10,000- AED 20,000.00 (USD 2,700 – 5,479)
- Service License- - Ranging between AED 10,000- AED 20,000.00 (USD 2,700 – 5,479)
- Industrial License- Approximately AED 10,000 (USD 2,700)
All fees for government and related authorities are estimation only. The exact government fees will be determined at the time of submission of the applications.
The estimated timeline to receive full set of corporate documents from the DSOA is between two (2)- four (4) weeks’ time.
minimum share capital requirement amounts to AED 100,000 (USD 27,397). The price of one share in FZE company shall equal AED 100,000, and in the company with several shareholders (FZCO) AED 10,000 shall be a cost of one share.
1 year only, as in any other emirate, after which the license needs to be renewed.
DSOA requires all companies registered with the free zone to submit audit reports on an annual basis.
Company’s license is due for renewal prior to its expiration date, otherwise, penalties for late renewal apply.
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