The UAE has emerged as a global business destination, renowned for its dynamic economy and diverse opportunities for entrepreneurs. Business setup options include Mainland, Free Zone, and offshore structures, each offering unique advantages tailored to different business needs and preferences. Free Zones in Dubai are particularly popular for their attractive incentives and strategic benefits, making them a top choice for many investors.

What Are Free Zones?

Free zones, or free trade zones, in the UAE are designated economic areas that offer businesses attractive benefits such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and streamlined processes for company formation. These zones operate under separate regulatory frameworks from the mainland UAE, providing a conducive environment for international investment.

Benefits of Free Zones for Foreign Investors

  • Complete Foreign Ownership: Free zones allow foreign investors to retain full ownership and control of their businesses without the need for a local partner.
  • Tax and Customs Duty Exemptions: Businesses operating within free zones enjoy exemptions from corporate taxes, personal income taxes, and import/export duties for extended periods.
  • Capital and Profit Repatriation: Free zones facilitate easy repatriation of capital and profits without currency restrictions, promoting financial flexibility.
  • Independent Regulatory Frameworks: Each free zone operates under its own set of rules and regulations, ensuring a business-friendly environment with clear guidelines.
  • Access to Global Markets: Strategically located free zones provide access to regional and international markets, enhancing market reach and business opportunities.
  • Modern Infrastructure: Free zones are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including advanced logistics, telecommunications, and office spaces, supporting diverse business operations.

List of Free Zones in the UAE

Dubai Free Zones :- Dubai hosts 28 diverse free zones, each catering to specific industries and offering unique advantages:

  1. Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
    • Specializes in aviation, logistics, and light industries.
    • Offers a strategic location adjacent to Dubai International Airport.
  2. International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
    • Located in Dubai Silicon Oasis, it caters to a wide range of business activities.
    • Known for its competitive setup packages and ease of business setup.
  3. Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)
    • One of the largest free zones in Dubai, focusing on trading and industrial activities.
    • Strategically located near Jebel Ali Port, providing excellent logistics facilities.
  4. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
    • Global hub for commodities trading, particularly in gold, diamonds, and precious metals.
    • Offers state-of-the-art infrastructure for trading and business operations.
  5. Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)
    • Focuses on technology, electronic industries, and innovation.
    • Provides high-tech facilities and a vibrant community for tech startups.
  6. Meydan Free Zone
    • Caters to a diverse range of industries with a prime location in Meydan, Dubai.
    • Known for its luxurious environment and modern infrastructure.
  7. Dubai Internet City (DIC)
    • Leading hub for IT, telecommunications, and technology companies.
    • Hosts numerous global tech giants and startups.
  8. Dubai Media City (DMC)
    • Focuses on media, advertising, and communication industries.
    • Provides a dynamic environment for media companies and freelancers.
  9. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
    • Premier financial hub for banking, investment, and professional services.
    • Operates under an independent regulatory framework with its own legal system.
  10. Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)
    • Specializes in healthcare services, medical education, and research.
    • Hosts numerous hospitals, clinics, and medical training institutions.
  11. Dubai South (formerly Dubai World Central)
    • Focuses on logistics, aviation, and light industrial sectors.
    • Home to Al Maktoum International Airport and Expo 2020 site.
  12. Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP)
    • Dedicated to education and training institutions.
    • Provides facilities for universities, colleges, and professional training centres.
  13. Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech)
    • Focuses on biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industries.
    • Offers specialized infrastructure for research and development.
  14. Dubai Maritime City (DMC)
    • Caters to the maritime industry, including shipbuilding, repair, and marine services.
    • Provides a strategic location for maritime businesses.
  15. Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ)
    • Specializes in the automotive industry, particularly in car re-export and trading.
    • Offers facilities for car storage, repair, and trading.
  16. Dubai Design District (d3)
    • Dedicated to fashion, design, and creative industries.
    • Provides a vibrant community for designers, artists, and creative professionals.
  17. Dubai Science Park (DSP)
    • Focuses on scientific research, development, and innovation.
    • Hosts companies in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and energy sectors.
  18. Dubai Textile City
    • Specializes in the textile and garment industry.
    • Provides facilities for textile trading, storage, and distribution.
  19. International Humanitarian City (IHC)
    • Dedicated to FreeZones in Dubaiumanitarian aid and relief organizations.
    • Offers logistical support and facilities for humanitarian operations.
  20. International Media Production Zone (IMPZ)
    • Caters to the media production industry, including printing, publishing, and broadcasting.
    • Provides specialized infrastructure for media production companies.
  21. Dubai Production City (formerly International Media Production Zone or IMPZ)
    • Focuses on media production, printing, and publishing industries.
    • Offers state-of-the-art facilities and a supportive environment for media businesses.
  22. Dubai Outsource City
    • Dedicated to outsourcing and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
    • Provides infrastructure and support for outsourcing companies.
  23. Dubai Studio City
    • Specializes in film, TV, music, and entertainment production.
    • Offers world-class production facilities and services for the entertainment industry.
  24. Dubai International Academic City (DIAC)
    • Focuses on higher education and academic institutions.
    • Hosts numerous international universities and colleges.
  25. Dubai Techno Park
    • Dedicated to technology and innovation-driven industries.
    • Provides advanced infrastructure for research and development.
  26. Dubai Auto Zone
    • Specializes in the automotive industry, particularly in car trading and re-export.
    • Offers facilities for car storage, repair, and trading.
  27. Dubai Flower Centre
    • Dedicated to the flower and horticulture industry.
    • Provides facilities for flower import, export, and distribution.
  28. Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
    • Focuses on the gold, jewelry, and diamond trading industries.
    • Offers state-of-the-art facilities for jewelry manufacturing and trading.
  29. Dubai Industrial City
    • Focuses on manufacturing, logistics, and industrial sectors.
    • Provides comprehensive industrial infrastructure and support services.
  30. Dubai Wholesale City (Dubai Industrial Park)
    • Specializes in wholesale trading and logistics.
    • Offers extensive warehousing and distribution facilities.
  31. Dubai Logistics City (Dubai South Logistics District)
    • Dedicated to logistics and supply chain management.
    • Provides integrated logistics solutions and services.

Read also: How to Start a Business in a Dubai Free Zone

Abu Dhabi Free Zones :-  Abu Dhabi hosts several free zones designed to promote diverse industries and offer various business incentives:

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
    • Focus: Financial services, professional services, legal firms, fintech.
    • Overview: An international financial center located on Al Maryah Island, ADGM provides a strategic environment for financial institutions, offering a robust regulatory framework and a conducive business environment.
  • twofour54 Abu Dhabi
    • Focus: Media, entertainment, gaming, digital content.
    • Overview: Named after the geographical coordinates of Abu Dhabi, twofour54 is a media and entertainment free zone that supports content creation across various platforms. It offers world-class production facilities and business support services.
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
    • Focus: Industrial, manufacturing, logistics.
    • Overview: Strategically located near Khalifa Port, KIZAD offers excellent connectivity, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a variety of business setup options to support industrial and manufacturing operations.
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
    • Focus: Aviation, logistics, freight, airport services.
    • Overview: Located adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, ADAFZ provides a strategic hub for aviation-related businesses, offering modern facilities and logistical advantages.
  • Masdar City Free Zone
    • Focus: Renewable energy, clean technology, sustainable development.
    • Overview: Masdar City is a global hub for renewable energy and sustainable technologies, offering a research and development environment focused on innovation and sustainability.
  • Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) Free Zones
    • Focus: Maritime, logistics, trade.
    • Overview: Abu Dhabi Ports Company manages several free zones, including:
      • Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone: Supports maritime, logistics, and industrial activities.
      • Zayed Port Free Zone: Caters to maritime services and trade.
      • Musaffah Port Free Zone: Focuses on industrial and manufacturing activities.
      • Corniche Free Zone: Offers business support for various industries.
      • Al Sila’a Free Zone: Located near the Saudi border, facilitating trade and logistics.
  • Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD)
    • Focus: Heavy and light industries, manufacturing, logistics.
    • Overview: ICAD is an industrial zone that supports various industries with dedicated clusters, offering integrated infrastructure and services to enhance manufacturing and industrial operations.
  • ZonesCorp (Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones)
    • Focus: Industrial, manufacturing, logistics.
    • Overview: ZonesCorp is one of the largest operators of purpose-built economic zones in the UAE, offering comprehensive industrial infrastructure and business support for various sectors.

Read also: Step By Step Guide To Start A Business In Dubai, UAE

Sharjah Free Zones :- Sharjah hosts several free zones that cater to a variety of industries, each offering unique benefits and incentives for businesses:

  1. Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, logistics, aviation.
    • Overview: Located adjacent to Sharjah International Airport, SAIF Zone provides a strategic location for businesses involved in trade and logistics. It offers a range of facilities including warehouses, offices, and industrial plots.
  2. Sharjah Media City (Shams)
    • Focus: Media, entertainment, technology, creative industries.
    • Overview: Shams is a hub for media and creative industries, offering a dynamic environment for businesses involved in digital media, production, technology, and creative services. It provides cost-effective setup options and modern infrastructure.
  3. Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTIP)
    • Focus: Research, technology, innovation, renewable energy.
    • Overview: SRTIP supports research and development activities in various fields including renewable energy, water management, environmental technologies, and industrial innovation. It offers state-of-the-art facilities and a collaborative environment for innovation.
  4. Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC)
    • Focus: Healthcare, medical education, wellness.
    • Overview: SHCC is dedicated to healthcare and wellness industries, providing facilities for hospitals, clinics, medical education, and research institutions. It aims to create a comprehensive healthcare ecosystem in Sharjah.
  5. Sharjah Publishing City (SPC)
    • Focus: Publishing, printing, media, distribution.
    • Overview: SPC is the world’s first publishing and printing free zone, offering a specialized environment for publishing houses, printers, and media companies. It provides facilities for book production, distribution, and related services.
  6. Sharjah Human Resources Development Free Zone (SHRD)
    • Focus: Human resources, training, education.
    • Overview: SHRD supports human resource development and training institutions, providing a conducive environment for educational and professional training organizations.
  7. Al Zahia Free Zone
    • Focus: Mixed-use, commercial, residential.
    • Overview: Al Zahia Free Zone offers a mixed-use development that includes commercial and residential facilities, catering to businesses and individuals seeking a balanced lifestyle and work environment.
  8. Sharjah Technology and Innovation Park (STIP)
    • Focus: Technology, innovation, industrial development.
    • Overview: STIP focuses on technology and industrial innovation, offering facilities for research, development, and industrial operations. It supports businesses involved in advanced technology and innovative solutions.

Ajman Free Zones :- Ajman offers several free zones that provide attractive incentives and a supportive business environment:

  1. Ajman Free Zone (AFZ)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, logistics, service industries.
    • Overview: AFZ offers a variety of business setup options including offices, warehouses, and land for industrial projects. It provides cost-effective solutions and easy access to Ajman Port.
  2. Ajman Media City Free Zone
    • Focus: Media, entertainment, creative industries.
    • Overview: This free zone is designed to support media and creative businesses, offering streamlined setup processes and flexible licensing options.
  3. Ajman China Mall Free Zone
    • Focus: Trading, retail, wholesale.
    • Overview: Located within Ajman China Mall, this free zone focuses on trading and retail businesses, providing a strategic hub for import and export activities.

Read also: Cost Of Free Zone Company Setup In Dubai

Fujairah Free Zones :- Fujairah provides several free zones that cater to various industries, offering strategic advantages and modern infrastructure:

  1. Fujairah Free Zone (FFZ)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, logistics, service industries.
    • Overview: Located near Fujairah Port and Fujairah International Airport, FFZ provides excellent connectivity and a range of business facilities including warehouses, offices, and industrial plots.
  2. Fujairah Creative City
    • Focus: Media, entertainment, creative industries.
    • Overview: This free zone supports media and creative businesses, offering flexible licensing options and a conducive environment for creative professionals.
  3. Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ)
    • Focus: Oil, gas, petrochemicals.
    • Overview: FOIZ is dedicated to the oil and gas industry, providing facilities for storage, refining, and distribution of petroleum products.
  4. Fujairah Port
    • Focus: Maritime, logistics.
    • Overview: Fujairah Port offers facilities for maritime businesses, including shipping, logistics, and related services.

Ras Al Khaimah Free Zones :- Ras Al Khaimah hosts several free zones that provide diverse business opportunities and strategic benefits:

  1. Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, logistics, service industries.
    • Overview: RAKEZ offers a variety of business setup options including offices, warehouses, and land for industrial projects. It provides a supportive regulatory environment and modern infrastructure.
  2. Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, logistics, service industries.
    • Overview: RAK FTZ provides cost-effective business setup solutions and strategic advantages including proximity to RAK Airport and seaports.
  3. RAK Maritime City Free Zone
    • Focus: Maritime, shipping, logistics.
    • Overview: This free zone caters to maritime businesses, offering facilities for shipping, logistics, and related services.
  4. RAK International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC)
    • Focus: Corporate services, offshore companies.
    • Overview: RAK ICC provides a platform for international business companies (IBCs) offering a range of corporate services and a flexible regulatory framework.
  5. RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA) Free Zone
    • Focus: Industrial, manufacturing, logistics.
    • Overview: RAKIA supports industrial and manufacturing businesses, providing land for development, warehouses, and business support services.
  6. RAK Media City (RAKMC)
    • Focus: Media, entertainment, creative industries.
    • Overview: RAKMC offers a conducive environment for media and creative businesses, providing flexible licensing options and modern infrastructure.

Umm Al Quwain Free Zones :- Umm Al Quwain offers a free zone that focuses on supporting SMEs and startups:

  1. Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQFTZ)
    • Focus: Trading, manufacturing, service industries.
    • Overview: UAQFTZ provides cost-effective business setup options, flexible licensing, and a supportive environment for SMEs and startups.

Top 5 Cheapest Free Zones in Dubai UAE

For entrepreneurs seeking affordable business setups, here are the top 5 cheapest free zones in the UAE:

  1. Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP)
    • Located in Sharjah, SRTIP is dedicated to global leadership in renewable energy, water management, and environmental technologies.
    • Trade licenses start at AED 5,500, making it ideal for businesses in professional, commercial, and industrial sectors.
  2. Ajman Media City (AMC)
    • Known for its efficient company formation process, AMC is a growing hub for global media and entertainment businesses.
    • Trade licenses are available from AED 8,500, catering particularly to service, consultancy, media training, and e-commerce sectors.
  3. Sharjah Media City Free Zone (SHAMS)
    • SHAMS is the fastest-growing media free zone in the UAE, providing a vibrant ecosystem for media-related businesses.
    • Trade licenses start from AED 5,750, supporting trading, media, holding, social media influencing, and consultancy activities.
  4. Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
    • Strategically located near RAK airport and seaport, RAKEZ offers competitive advantages for entrepreneurs.
    • SME packages start from AED 5,499, offering customizable warehousing solutions and catering to commercial, service, industrial, educational, and professional sectors.
  5. International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), Dubai
    • Situated in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis area, IFZA offers competitive setup packages and a convenient business environment.
    • Setup packages start from AED 12,900, allowing up to three activities under one license, focusing on professional and commercial sectors.

Experience the multitude of benefits that come with setting up your company in a UAE free zone. Navigating the business landscape has never been easier, thanks to the initiatives introduced by the UAE government.

At Aristotle Consultancy, we are industry leaders in business setup services in the UAE. With over 13 years of experience, we have assisted countless entrepreneurs in establishing and maintaining their businesses in the country. Rest assured, our streamlined process will ensure a seamless company setup journey.

Our team of expert consultants will be with you every step of the way. From registering your business and providing clarity on free zone license costs, to obtaining necessary approvals from authorities, we’ve got you covered. Trust us to simplify the complex, so you can focus on growing your business.

Call us on +91 9958605588 or WhatsApp us on +91 9958605588 . You may also email us at