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.
Jebel Ali Free Zone, also known as JAFZA is U.A.E.’s first free zone and it commenced its operations in the year 1985 by virtue of a Ruler’s Decree. To this day, it still maintains its spot as the largest free zone in the U.A.E. It is home to almost more than 7,000 companies including 100 of the Global Fortune 500 companies and fosters a long- term relationship with investors and stakeholders.
Boosting its strategic location and world-class infrastructures, within the last few years from its establishment, JAFZA had seen an overwhelming growth in terms of membership. JAFZA now sustains more than 135,000 jobs and together with the Jebel Ali Port makes up to 21% of Dubai’s gross domestic product (“GDP”). It accounts to almost 32% of total foreign direct investment (“FDI”) flowing into the U.A.E.
A large volume of JAFZA companies are dealing with exports. It is a global hub for companies wishing to expand its into the Middle East and African markets. It’s a center for trade and logistics with unparalleled benefits and incentives and excellent customer service. A few minutes drive from Al Maktoum International Airport makes it an idea company setup option for business owners.
A company can be formed with a single shareholder as well as multiple shareholders & depending on the number of shareholders the following company formation types can be incorporated in JAFZA. As such, it would be best to check which type would be applicable for the company’s establishment.
- Free Zone Establishment (“FZE”) refers to a company with one shareholder, be it individual or corporate.
- Free Zone Company (“FZCo”) refers to a company with two or up to 50 shareholders. Shareholders can be purely individuals or purely corporate or a mixed of both individuals and corporate. In essence, it is a limited liability partnership, liabilities of the company limited to the paid-up capital.
- Branch office for existing companies, whether local or international.
- Trading License- this is available for companies wishing to engage in trading activities
- Service License- available for those companies providing various types of services in JAFZA
- Industrial License- type of license for foreign and local companies which would carry out manufacturing activities
For specific businesses, JAFZA issues specific licenses and they are as follows:
- E-Commerce License- It is a kind of trade license mainly issued for the trading of goods via the internet
- Innovation License- This is required if the activities involve the development and invention of new products
- National Industrial License- To obtain this license, a company should be owned by a UAE national
- Offshore Registration- This is a different type of license and, is issued to entrepreneurs looking to establish an offshore company in JAFZA
- 100% foreign ownership
- 0% VAT on transaction of goods between companies located in Designated Zones in Jebel Ali Free Zone and outside the United Arab Emirates
- No restriction on capital repatriation
- No restriction on foreign talents or employees
- 0% corporate or personal income tax,
- No currency restrictions
- Acquisition of multiple visas even without physical office space
- Simple and straightforward incorporation process
- Can hold shares in UAE free zone companies and limited liability companies
- On site customs
- A world-class infrastructure, support systems, and communications
- Permission to mortgage your property to a bank or financing corporation
- Ready to occupy warehouses and factories
- Application Form
- Letter of Intent for incorporating a Jafza company
- Existing company brochure (if available)
- Annual financial report or shareholder(s) 6 months bank statement for the shareholder not applicable for new registration
- Copy of the manager’s passport and his CV
- Copy of shareholder(s) passport and CV
- Original bank reference letter (for each shareholders)
- No Objection letter by the current sponsor, for manager (if a resident of UAE and UAE employment visa-holder)
- Business plan
- A legal representative, if any
- Initial approval(s) from the third authority(s) for few business activities
Investors can choose from among the several variety of business facilities, which can cater to any business needs.
- Onsite residences for employees’ accommodation
- Jafza One is a commercial complex which houses several offices for rent, with panoramic views of JAFZA, Jebel Ali Port, Sheik Zayed Road and Palm Jebel Ali.
- Customized Development solutions provides investors with flexibility and efficiency with designing and delivering build to suit facilities
- Plots of Lands
- Work Stations
- Retail Spaces / Outlets
The following costs should be taken into consideration when incorporating the company:
- Trading License- For maximum 7 products from one group, license fee if AED 5,500. For maximum 12 products from two groups, license fee is AED 9,000.00
- General Trading license- AED 30,000.00
- Service License for branch of a UAE based company- AED 8,000.00
- Industrial License-For maximum 7 products from one group, license fee if AED 5,500. For maximum 12 products from two groups, license fee is AED 9,000.00.
- FZCo – AED 15,000.00
- FZE- AED 10,000.00
- Branch of a company- AED 5,000.00
- Additional of AED 200 for the MOA & AOA Attestation and AED 200 for the Board Resolution per type of company. Additional AED 50 for specimen signature of each shareholder and/or appointed representative of the company.
Visa allocation depends on the size of the office. 9 sq.ft is equivalent to one (1) visa eligibility.
- Office in Business Park cost ranges between AED 23,000 – AED 30,000 per office.
- Offices in other Jafza buildings cost ranges from AED 2,000 per sq.m. to AED 2,500 per sq.m.
- Showrooms price ranges from AED 700.00 per sqm. To AED 1,000 per sq.m
- Warehouses and Industrial Units are from AED 25.00 per sq.m to AED 600 per sq.m.
- For retails spaces/ outlets the cost is available upon request from JAFZA.
All fees are the subject for additional 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) and excludes Third party approval cost, if required.
The company needs to have an establishment card to enable the company to register in Residency Department. The establishment card costs around AED 1,890.00
The residence visa in JAFZA is valid for three (3) years. The cost of each visa depends on the status of an applicant’s current location, whether application is taking place inside or outside the UAE.
The cost for visa processing can be anywhere between AED 4,100 to AED 5,000.00
Employment Visa Guarantee Deposit is also required in JAFZA, which should be added on top of the visa cost. Medical test and Emirates ID application should also be taken into account when computing the total costs.
Jebel Ali Free Zone waived the requirement for share capital. Investors are free to decide which amount they want to specify as share capital.
1 year only, as in any other emirate, after which the license needs to be renewed.
It is mandatory to appoint auditors and submit annual audit report at the end of company’s financial year.
Company’s license is due for renewal prior to its expiration date, otherwise, penalties for late renewal apply.
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