Free Zone Company Registration

Registration overview

Registering your future Free Trade Zone Company at a UAE Free Trade Zone is the first step in getting your business established. As a owner you will receive a Free Trade Zone License allowing you to do business in the UAE.

UAE Free Zone Trade License example
UAE Free Zone Trade License from RAK Free Trade Zone for consulting services

It can take quite a while before this step is completed. In this stage most of the paperwork is done.

Being prepared before coming the UAE is half the work done and can significantly speed up the full process.

The next step after Registration is Company Formation.

Registering in Oman? Have a look at the Muscat Free Trade Zone.

Free Zone Company registration requirements

  1. Registration form  - usually available for download - be sure to get the LATEST version.
  2. Business plan - this varies from a single piece of paper up-to a full-blown business plan
  3. Passport copy - form each one one of the partners
  4. UAE Visa copy - when already inside the country.
  5. Attested, Certified, Translated Diplomas
  6. Translated Bank statement -
  7. Registration fee
  8. Your patience

Be careful submitting business sensitive information to the Free Trade Zone. Assume your business plan floats from desk to desk and is visible to anyone inside the Free Trade Zone. Confidentiality statements do not work in such an environment.

Bottom line - Free Trade Zone's rent office-space. Your business growth predictions can easily be used by the Free Trade Zone to plan expensive office space upgrades. See Free Trade Zone disputes for more info about forced office upgrades.

The registration process

Validation of the documents by the Free Zone Company, specially of the attested, certified, translated diploma and the bank statement. (foreign account).

Equally important is the precise definition of the activity performed as a business within or outside the Free Zone. For most activities outside the Free Zone in the UAE, the company needs an UAE agent to operate / bill to local UAE companies. There are exemptions though which requires making contact with the Chamber of Commerce to get into the fine details of definitions.

The process duration ranges between 1-2 weeks, however can take much longer depending on the professionalism of the people working at the Free Zone Company.

Registration result

Invoice of the costs to register your company and the go-ahead to continue for the business outlined in the business plan. Also the Free Zone expresses it's intent to act as your business / residency sponsor in the UAE.

Attested Certified Translated diplomas

A free trade zone can require proof (one of the) partners has a university diploma.  Getting a foreign university diploma, certified, attested, translated is a lengthy process, and can stall this step significantly. Ask at the free-zone what they need in detail, or ask for an example.

The process to get your  university diploma certified, attested, translated depends on your country of origin. In the European union there are independent (government) institutions specialized in diploma attestation and translation.

Company Registration details

When setting up with 2 or more partners - one of the investors (or someone else) is the manager who has a power attorney to act in the name of the other investors / partners. Usually the Free Zone creates the power of attorney. The manager has an important position - being the front man for communication with the Free Trade Zone and the bank.

Registering at a free zone in the UAE is usually linked to a real estate deal. For instance (pre) paying a year's rent, a deposit for the next years rent and all sorts of vague costs for document handling, reviews etc etc.