DUBAI FREE ZONE BUSINESS REGISTRATION

JAFZA company formation

JAFZA free zone overview

JAFZA is the oldest free zone of the UAE. It was founded in 1985.

It became home for more than 7,000 international and local companies, factories and logistics firms, manufacturing plants and assembling units.

Jebel Ali free zone has direct access to Jebel Ali Sea port and to the Al Maktoum International Airport.

It has a single customs area, which helps to reduce cargo clearance times and costs.

Shipping, logistics and trading companies are often based in this free zone. If you are intending to do such business setup in Dubai, JAFZA has a lot to offer for you:

Logistic Corridor

  • By sea: Jebel Ali Port has one of the best global ocean connectivities. It serves over 150 shipping lines which are capable to handle over 19 million containers per year.     
  • By air: Al Maktoum International Airport is considered to be one of the largest cargo airports around the globe. 
  • By land: The UAE region is fully equipped with extensive highway link. It makes the cargo travel fast and safely in Dubai and between the emirates. 
  • By Rail: Nowadays Etihad rail is under construction. It's going to link JAFZA to the whole Arabian Peninsula. 

Facilities

Jebel Ali free zone has a vast portfolio of facilities:

  • Plots of land
  • Warehouses
  • Showrooms
  • Customised development solutions 
  • Offices                
  • Business Park
  • Retail outlets
  • On-site residence         

It is difficult to get a flexi-desk for Jebel Ali company setup due to low availability. If you are planning to start your business here, you have to consider an office space right away.

JAFZA Dubai activities

According to the type of your business setup in UAE, the category of your license can be different.

The list of activities is quite vast, the following license categories are offered:

  • Trading
  • Industrial
  • Service
  • Logistics
  • General Trading

Company with service activity can be registered only as a branch of an existing UAE Mainland entity.

Trading, Industrial and Service licenses have 2 types. They differ according to the number of activities you can have under the license:

1 type: up to 7 products from the same group

2 type: up to 12 products from the same group

If you want to add extra activity to any type of license, it will cost 500 AED.

JAFZA company formation is highly recommended for those who are planning to deal with international trading, distribution or logistics sectors.

JAFZA license costs

The company setup in Jebel Ali Free Zone is quite reasonable compared to the other Free Zones.

Jebel Ali free zone company registration starts from:

  • 10,000 AED fee for the registration
  • 5,500 AED license of type 1 (7 categories of products)
  • 9,000 AED license of type 2 (12 categories of products)

As you can see, JAFZA free zone license cost is reasonable, considering the big number of activities you can get in the license.

It is a mandatory requirement to have an office space in this Free Zone. One of the smallest offices is 26.88 sqm, with an annual rent 53,670 AED.

The total company setup in JAFZA without resident visas will cost about 86,935 AED. Apart from the above mentioned costs, it includes name approval fees, attestation of documents costs and establishment card as well.

How to start business

JAFZA company setup can be started without your presence, but you will need to make a visit to the free zone when the documents of your company are generated.

Here is the list of basic documents for JAFZA company registration:

  • Application form
  • Brief Project Summary (1 page is sufficient)
  • Passport copy
  • Company name options
  • Business activities

The time-frame of Jebel Ali free zone company setup can be from 2 to 4 weeks. It depends on the business activity and the type of facility that you choose.

UAE Residence visas in Jebel Ali

Just like any other free zone business setup in UAE, Jebel Ali Free Zone makes your company eligible for resident visas.

You will be entitled to 1 resident visa per every 10 sq meters of the office space you have got.

JAFZA visas costs (AED):

 JAFZA costsMedical checkEmirates ID
Owner2,923690370
Employee2,923690370

The visas are valid for 3 years.

Health insurance is required in this free zone. The cheapest package you can get is 600-800 AED. Health insurance needs to be renewed annually.

Business renewal

In order to do company renewal you need to pay:

  • License fees
  • Office (facility) fees
  • Establishment card costs

Renewal of Jebel Ali free zone license costs the same as JAFZA company registration.

The company renewal can be done without visiting Jebel Ali free zone.

You need to provide your company’s audit report at the time of company renewal. Audit can be done through any UAE licensed and accredited auditing company.

License can be renewed for three years for companies having plot of land and sublease facility.

Corporate amendments

Most of amendments of your JAFZA company can be processed without personal visit to the free zone.

Such amendments include:

  • change of name (personal and corporate)
  • business activity
  • change of manager/director, etc.

For shares transfer procedure you will be required to visit the free zone. Otherwise it can be done by a person, holding a notarized Power of Attorney.

License cancellation

The liquidation procedure requires personal presence of the owner or it can be done by Power of Attorney holder.

The Freezone will request you to return the original documents and pay the liquidation fee. License cancellation fee will be around 2,000 AED.

The company closure will take approximately 1 month. JAFZA company register will provide you a certificate of liquidation upon completion of the procedure.

Opinion

Jebel Ali Free Zone can be suitable for the following setups:

  • international trading
  • importing and exporting
  • distributing and logistics
  • manufacturing

The price of the company formation in Jebel Ali free zone might seem higher than in other zones, but JAFZA is a prestigious place to be and has all possible types of facilities.

Company formation in Dubai Airport free zone can compete with it to some extent the sea port will be substituted by an airport in that case.

Another biggest free zone after JAFZA is Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and can recommend registration options over there.

BENEFITS OF JAFZA COMPANY

  • Big choice of trading activities, up to 12 product categories per license
  • Biggest UAE sea port within the Free Zone
  • Warehouses and plots of land
  • Retail locations outside of the Free Zone for JAFZA licenses
  • The oldest and the biggest Free Zone of UAE - highly recognized and reputable
  • Favoured by local banks - quicker account opening process

START YOUR BUSINESS IN JAFZA TODAY

TRADING LICENCE COSTS IN JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE

Number of visas depends on office size

LICENSE TYPE VISAS INCLUDED TOTAL COST
Trading license + office no visa AED 86,935 $23,850download breakdown
Trading license + office 1 visa AED 90,960 $24,950download breakdown
Trading license + office 2 visas AED 94,986 $26,050download breakdown
Trading license + office 3 visas AED 99,011 $27,150download breakdown

GENERAL TRADING LICENCE COSTS IN JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE

Number of visas depends on office size

LICENSE TYPE VISAS INCLUDED TOTAL COST
General Trading license + office no visa AED 120,204 $32,950download breakdown
General Trading license + office 1 visa AED 115,460 $31,650download breakdown
General Trading license + office 2 visas AED 119,486 $32,750download breakdown
General Trading license + office 3 visas AED 123,011 $36,219download breakdown

DOCUMENTS FOR JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE SETUP

DOCUMENTS

PROCEDURE

INDIVIDUAL SHAREHOLDER

  • - Passport
  • - Latest utility bill as address proof
  • - Passport size photo
  • - NOC from sponsor for UAE visa holders
  • - Description of business
  • 1 week- Pre-approval
  • 1 time- Visit JAFZA for document signing
  • 1 week- Company establishing
  • 1 week- Establishment card
  • 2-3 days- Entry permit
  • 1 day- Medical Check-Up and Emirates ID (has to be done inside JAFZA)
  • 1 week- Visa stamping

Top 10 questions about Jebel Ali Free Zone company

  • If l register a company in a free zone outside of Dubai, can l live and have a bank account in Dubai?

    Yes, you can have a company registered outside Dubai, but reside in Dubai or any other Emirate. You do not have to live in the same Emirate where your visa belongs to. You can also have a bank account in a Dubai branch of any UAE bank of your choice.

  • Can I open a bank account remotely?

    No, you have to visit UAE personally. It is a requirement of a UAE Central bank which all local banks have to follow. Personal visit is required to make sure that the client is known by the bank.

  • Do banks give debit and credit cards or loans?

    Normally you can get a debit card for your newly opened company if there is only one shareholder. You can also have a credit card, but it will be given against a fixed deposit. As for the loan, it is possible to get it, but you need to show company operations and profits to the bank. Upon checking your company's turnovers and profits, a bank may approve a loan. We recommend applying for it at least after one year of company's operations.

  • Can a free zone company hold its offices outside the free zone?

    Officially an office of a free zone company has to be located only within the free zone where this company was registered. If you need an office in Dubai, you have an option to rent a space in a Business center and use it either a few times per month or daily, depending on the package that you choose. However, the free zone minimum required space (flexi desk) cannot be cancelled.

  • Why do I need a flexi desk or office?

    A flexi desk is an obligatory requirement for any company eligible for resident visas. UAE government obliges to have it because it's the minimum physical office space, that a company who has any individual under its visa must have. Apart from that, flexi desk is helpful for bank account opening. The compliance department of the banks needs to see that a company has some kind of office or at least a small physical seat, where it can be working from.

  • Do we have to pay VAT if our company is registered in the Free Zone?

    VAT obligations of the company depend not only on the place of its registration, but on the place where its business takes place. To start with, VAT comes into picture once your taxable turnover reaches 375 000 AED. Taxable turnover means the turnover which was done in the UAE. If your company is registered in a Free Zone, but the trading takes place abroad (for example you sell goods from India to Africa), that turnover is not considered taxable, because the transactions are taking place out of UAE. It means that you do not have to pay VAT. But if you have a free zone company and import goods to UAE, you have to add 5% VAT to your Invoices and pay VAT. If your company is registered in a designated free and sells the goods to another designated free zone or within the same zone, VAT does not appear.

  • Should I pay any other TAX?

    UAE is free from income tax and corporate tax. It has only imported tax 5% for the goods that you bring into the country and VAT 5% for the trading or service transactions that happened in UAE.

  • Why will a free zone company suit me better than an offshore or a mainland entity?

    Everything depends on your business model and requirements, but a free zone setup is the most suitable for the majority of the business needs. Free Zone company has 100% foreign ownership unlike mainland where you need a local partner or agent, it can be eligible for resident visas, allows doing business both in and out of UAE, more favorable by the banks in comparison to offshore companies, can have a flexi desk space instead of an executive office like in mainland companies. Free Zone is a good way to start a business for reasonable fees and without unwanted obligations.

  • Can you guarantee opening of a bank account?

    We do our best when we setup your company in such a way that would make account opening easier for you. Knowing your background and your business model, we can give you our estimation about the chances of successful account opening. The approval of the account fully depends on the bank. Each case goes to a few departments of the bank where it has to be approved before the account gets opened. If the bank has any questions or needs clarifications, it will contact you directly with the inquiries. The more clear picture about your business you give to the bank, the higher your chances of account opening are. Being a consultancy company, we cannot guarantee opening of a bank account, because it depends on the factors which do not depend on us. However, we do our best to prepare you and your company for smooth and fast account opening.

  • Should I renew my company? When? How much does it cost?

    Yes, the company should be renewed annually. The cost of the renewal is usually less than the setup cost. It depends on your company package. You can get the price by downloading the Estimate from this page. Renewal does not require personal presence of the owner and can be done by your agent. After company renewal, the new license has to be shown to the bank in order to extend the bank account. It is always included into our renewal service.

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