Choosing the Right Jurisdiction in Dubai for Your Startup
When it comes to setting up your startup in the UAE, choosing the right jurisdiction is crucial. Each emirate and free zone has its unique advantages and regulations. Your decision should align with your business goals and industry. Here are some key jurisdictions to consider:
Selecting the Ideal Jurisdiction for Your Business Setup in Dubai
Dubai Mainland offers maximum flexibility and access to a broader customer base. Ideal for businesses looking to operate across the UAE without restrictions. Suitable for a wide range of industries, including retail, services, and trading.
Here are the most preferred locations to start a Mainland company in Dubai.
- Sheikh Zayed Road
The key business and tourist destinations like Dubai World Trade Centre, Emirates Tower, Financial Centre, etc are located along the most happening Sheikh Zayed Road. The world-famous Burj Khalifa stays very close to Sheikh Zayed Road. Sheikh Zayed Road offers scenic beauty too.
- Business Bay
Business Bay is a fast-paced developing region in Dubai. Many projects and developmental activities are taking place in the region. Business Bay is a deal for investment in the hospitality sector. The close proximity to Burj Khalifa is another added advantage. Other preferred locations to start a mainland company in Dubai are Al Qusais, Bur Dubai and Al Quoz. Company formation in Dubai is not at all a tedious task provided you have a dedicated consultant to assist you in all matters related to back-end operations. As an investor, you can leverage Dubai’s strategic location and diversified economy. Kilton Business Setup Services provides the A to Z services connected with company formation in Dubai. We undertake the process of finding the right sponsor, Bank Account opening, liquidation procedures, registration etc in the most professional manner. Feel free to contact us for all your business set up in Dubai requirements
Deira – being one of the oldest localities of Dubai is home to the workforce populace. The region has so many apartments, hotels and is a bustling place. Deira is a desirable niche for many SMEs.
- Al Qusais
Al Qusais is an outlying region of Dubai. Even though it is located in the suburbs of Dubai, Al Qusais has well-developed infra-structure facilities. The region comprises housing areas and various industrial establishments. Therefore, the region is ideal to start service-oriented endeavours, educational concerns, hospitals, and trading ventures. If you are looking for an economical option, setting up your business venture in Al Qusais can be helpful. Other preferred locations to start a mainland company in Dubai are Bur Dubai and Al Quoz.
Dubai Free Zones
Dubai has several free zones, each tailored to specific industries. Choose a free zone based on your business activity, such as Dubai Silicon Oasis for technology or Dubai Media City for media and communications. Benefit from 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified customs procedures.
Here are the most preferred locations to start a Free zone company in Dubai.
- JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free zone)
The Jebel Ali Free zone popularly known as JAFZA was formed in 1985 and is regarded as one of the oldest free zones in the Emirates. With more than 7500 companies that comprise of close to 100 Global Fortune 500 establishments, JAFZA serves as a vibrant and happening trading base for business conglomerates around the world. Industrial License, Trading License, Service License, Innovation License are the major business licenses connected with JAFZA. Apart from trade licenses, JAFZA provides investors with a platform for offshore company formation.
- DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodity Centre)
Dubai Multi Commodity Centre was formed in 2002 and is considered as the Gateway to global trade. The DMCC free zone is specifically focused on international trading. The free zone controls and assists in the trading of diverse products like diamond, gold, food products, tea and industrial commodities. DMCC serves as a trading platform for startups as well as MNCs and offers immaculate infrastructure and flawless services for around 17,000 business establishments.
- Dubai South Free Zone
Dubai South is a multipurpose economic free zone which is spread around an area of 145 sq.km. The free zone serves multiple sectors like aviation, logistics, ancillary services and light industry. The Dubai South free zone is located in a strategic location and its proximity to Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport offers several logistical advantages. Due to the strategic advantage, the Dubai South Free zone helps the businesses save time and operational costs.
- Ajman Media City
Ajman Media City Free zone is a media and creativity hub mainly aimed at media houses, creative professionals and entrepreneurs. The free zone is comparatively new and was established in 2018. Entrepreneurs and investors in the field of media, IT and advertising prefer Ajman Media City mainly due to the affordable Business Setup cost.
- Shams Free Zone
Shams Free zone or Sharjah Media City Free zone is considered as the fastest developing media related Free zone in the Emirates. The Shams Free zone was established in 2017 in the Emirate of Sharjah. The free zone appeals to media professionals and innovative ventures who rely greatly on creativity. The free zone offers diverse business activities like media, wholesale and retail and services.
- Gold and Diamond Park Free Zons
Established in 2011, the Dubai Gold and Diamond Park Free zone is dedicated completely to the jewellery and ornament industry. Gold and Diamond Park Free zone promotes the trading of jewellery items and other precious metals like silver, gold, platinum, expensive ornaments, gemstones and other related add-ons. The trade of jewellery and other high-end products are aimed at both inbound customers and international tourists. Gold and Diamond Park free zone is the one-stop destination for jewellery and ornaments related requirements as it houses the world’s best designs and accessories.
- International Free Zone Authority
IFZA is located in the Emirate of Fujairah. The free zone has good access to seaports in the Gulf of Oman as well as the Fujairah International Airport. The free zone offers great investment opportunities to investors all over the world by providing affordable warehouses, residential apartments, hotels, offices and retail outlets. The free zone gives much importance to business sustainability. IFZA caters to the needs of diverse sectors like trading, service and industries. The low business set up cost and the strategic location are two major benefits of setting up a business in IFZA.
- Dubai Airport Free Zone
Widely known as DAFZA, Dubai Airport Free Zone is one of the most celebrated Free Zones in Dubai. The proximity to Dubai International Airport gives a clear advantage to DAFZA over other free zones in Dubai. DAFZA is very investor-friendly and is a safe haven for business establishments that handle logistics, electronics and aviation.
- Dubai Knowledge Park
Dubai Knowledge Park provides the necessary infrastructure to serve the needs of the education sector. Educational consultants, educational institutes and training providers and universities operate in Dubai Knowledge Park. Many internationally acclaimed universities provide study centre facilities in DKP.
An offshore company is preferred by those entrepreneurs and investors who need business confidentiality and asset protection. Offshore companies are also called Non-Resident companies and are not allowed to perform business transactions in the UAE. There are two jurisdictions that offer Offshore Company formation in the UAE. And they are JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority) and RAK (Rasal Al-Khaimah). Offshore companies require an Incorporation certificate to initiate the operations.
Here are the most preferred locations to start a Offshore company in Dubai.
The Jebel Ali Offshore company formation procedures are conducted by collaborating with JAFZA free zone officials.
- RAK (Rasal Al-Khaimah)
Rasal Al-Khaimah is another Offshore company forming a jurisdiction in the UAE. The company incorporation formalities are conducted by liaising with the RAK authorities.
If you have any questions or need further assistance in determining the ideal jurisdiction for your startup, please feel free to contact us. RAG Global Business Hub experts here to support your entrepreneurial journey in the UAE.
Frequently Asked Questions on Where
- What are the main differences between Dubai Free Zone and Dubai Mainland jurisdictions?
Dubai Free Zones and Mainland jurisdictions have distinct characteristics. Free Zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax incentives, and simplified company formation processes, while Mainland jurisdictions require a local Emirati partner or sponsor and have broader market access.
- What are the advantages of setting up a business in a Dubai Free Zone?
Dubai Free Zones provide benefits such as full foreign ownership, zero corporate and personal income taxes, customs duty exemptions, repatriation of capital and profits, and access to world-class infrastructure and facilities.
- Can I do business with the local UAE market if I set up in a Dubai Free Zone?
Companies registered in Dubai Free Zones can do business with the UAE market, but they typically need to engage a local distributor or agent for Dubai mainland operations. However, Dubai Free Zone companies can operate with Dubai mainland businesses through specific channels.
- What are the advantages of setting up a business in the Dubai Mainland?
Dubai Mainland jurisdictions offer access to the wider UAE market, as well as the ability to trade directly with local companies. Additionally, Dubai Mainland businesses have greater flexibility in choosing office locations and can cater to various business activities.
- Is a local Emirati partner or sponsor required for Dubai Mainland business setup?
Yes, Dubai Mainland businesses typically require a local Emirati partner or sponsor who will hold a minimum of 51% ownership in the company. However, certain professional activities may allow full ownership by expatriates.
- Can I convert my business from a Dubai Free Zone to a Dubai Mainland jurisdiction, or vice versa?
Conversion between Dubai Free Zone and Dubai Mainland jurisdictions is possible but subject to certain conditions and approvals. It is advisable to consult with business setup experts for guidance and assistance throughout the conversion process.
- What factors should I consider when selecting a jurisdiction in Dubai for my business?
Some key factors to consider include the nature of your business activity, target market, ownership preferences, required infrastructure, potential partnerships, visa and residency requirements, and taxation implications. Evaluating these factors will help determine the most suitable jurisdiction for your business.
- Can you provide guidance on selecting the right jurisdiction for my business?
Yes, our business setup experts can assess your specific business requirements and provide personalised guidance on selecting the appropriate jurisdiction. We will consider factors such as your business activity, ownership structure, expansion plans, and other relevant considerations to help you make an informed decision.
- Are there any specific industry restrictions or regulations in certain jurisdictions?
Yes, some jurisdictions may have specific regulations or restrictions on certain industries. It is important to research and understand the industry-specific requirements and regulations in the jurisdiction you are considering for your business setup.
- Can I change my jurisdiction after my business is established?
While changing jurisdictions after business setup is possible, it involves a legal process and may have certain implications. It is advisable to consult with business setup professionals to assess the feasibility and requirements of changing jurisdictions for an existing business.