101 Guide to Starting a Business in Dubai Airport Free Zone(Dafza)

Ever wondered, “wish I could start a business but have no idea where to start from?” … Yes, every day in my mundane job! Or wish to expand your business, but what’s the right location? Well, read more to join one of Dubai’s fastest growing Free Zones for the smoothest and easiest startups ever

Opening up your business in Dubai Airport FreeZone will get you benefits like never before, easy market access, world-class facilities and the best one of all – tax benefits. Here’s the perfect guide to cover all the right bases.

Why DAFZA

  1. Easy access to all necessary government offices and private offices
  2. 100% ownership to your company.
  3. Full visa support for you and your family
  4. Visa support for your employees
  5. An online service portal for your immediate problems and immediate solutions
  6. Has its own app that makes everybody’s lives easier

How to setup the Company

STAGE 1

Step 1

Company type

For new business owners

To establish any organization, one needs to know the type of organization that they are starting. DAFZA permits 100% foreign ownership to individual shareholders and upto 50 shareholders with a minimum share capital per shareholder of just 1000 AED (272 USD).

For old businesses that wish to open a branch

Branch opening of an existing business is simply easier. They do not have to pay share capital, but there are few conditions that must be followed:

  1. The branch is completely owned and operated by the parent company.
  2. The branch has to have the same name as the parent company.
  3. The branch is required to do the same business activities as the parent company.

Minimum share capital: AED 1,000 (USD 272) per shareholder

Value of each share: AED 1000 (USD 272)

This amount must be paid in advance.

A minimum of one shareholder and a maximum of 50 is required to form a company.

Step 2

  1. Get legal licenses for your organization.
  • Dafza has a list of different licenses that must be obtained before you start your business. These licenses vary with the type of business activity you indulge in. DAFZA’s list of business activities will give you a clear cut idea on which licenses you are to apply for.
  • There are various licenses provided by DAFZA these licenses will assist in the smooth functioning of the business.
  1. Trade license- allows the business to participate in trading activities including import, export, re-export, distribution, and storage of specific products
  2. Service License- Allows the business to conduct service-oriented businesses.
  3. Industrial license- This license enables the business to do light manufacturing industrial activities, packaging and assembling.
  4. General License – this license permits the business to trade in general activities including import, export, re-export, store, and distribute.
  1. Select the location

DAFZA offers state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technology. All you have to do is to select an office and the meet the interior designer, within DAFZA to help you sort the look for your new office. From the structure to the last details of lights and plumbing, everything will be taken care of by DAFZA.

STAGE 2

Submit all documents and for initial review and approval.

The documents required to submit are:

  • Document for application
  • Letter stating Intent ( the company’s profile summarized)
  • Business Plan
  • About the Company report(if available)
  • Financial report (1yr) or shareholders bank statement (6m) (not required for new companies)
  • A copy of the manager’s valid passport and CV
  • A copy of the shareholder’s valid passport and CV
  • A bank’s original reference letter
  • A NOC for the manager (if he is a UAE resident and holds a valid employment visa)
  • NOC from the ministry of your trade or business. (eg: if you are in the food and hospitality sector, you will need a NOC from that sector in Dubai.)
  • Depending on trade activity, one may require No Objection Certificate from external government agencies.
  • If share capital crosses the AED 150,000, bank letter is required.

In case of a freelancer, the number of documents you need to submit is fewer.

  • Application for registration
  • CV
  • Bank reference letter
  • Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) (Original and notarized)

All the legal documents required for a company registration whether branch or FZCO, will be available at the licensing department. All amounts must be paid in advance.

STAGE 3

Collect your keys.

Below are some of the prerequisites that you have to follow in order to obtain the keys to your brand new office.

Signing Lease Payment
Once all the documents have passed all required scrutiny, the lease will be signed by the authorized personnel.The lease agreement has been signed and payment to be approved. The DAFZA sales team will assist in finalizing all legal documents and the lease agreement.

To complete the registration one needs to submit the following documents.

  • Completed application for registration
  • Board Resolution appointing Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
  • Power of Attorney given to Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (Notarised and attested)
  • Specimen signature of Manager/Director (Notarised and attested)
  • Passport-size photo of Manager/Director against a white background
  • Share capital information

Once the registration has been finalized, the next step is Licensing and Visa Processes.

  • Lease agreements will be prepared by the authority
  • Then trade license will be issued
  • Visa processing will start

With respect to the visa processing, the individual may log in the DAFZA website using the TASHEEL Dubai login details or download the DAFZA app.

Tasheel provides for all Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation Services. They also provide services for other ministry and governmental establishments such as DAFZA. The processing time for this would be around 3-4 days for normal situations. In case of emergencies, urgent classified visas can take only 1-2 days.

Registration of the new business will take 2 working days to process the documents after you have submitted all the required documents and the full amount is paid in advance.

A question on everybody’s mind would be is Why DAFZA? What’s so special

Things that set apart any free zone are:

  • 100% ownership of your company. You don’t need a UAE national to partner in your business.
  • Tax benefits. Exemption of tax for your imports and exports and products.

Well, why DAFZA and not any other freezone?

  • State of the art technology
  • All facilities needed to help you run and set-up an office is already available in within the freezone. That is a lot of tax exempted!
  • DAFZA’s sales will assist you with your business’s leasing of the office space. They offer three packages – “Office packages”, ” Smart -Desk Office Packages” and “Executive Office Packages”.
  • The legal team in DAFZA will assist in obtaining visas and guiding you through all formalities regarding the employee’s visa in a smooth and efficient manner.
  • Last but not least- Nothing beats the view of this Freezone area.
  • Although DAFZA is right next to the Dubai Airport, it is not part of the Dubai Airport. DAFZA in itself is a separate entity.
  • DAFZA also brings to you, different banks and telecommunication centers and companies to help you run the organization with ease and minimal effort.
  • Other than all these facilities, the free zone area gives you other amenities such as
  • Security Services.
  • Interiors developers
  • Travel agencies
  • IT services
  • Centralized food court and
  • A Retail outlet.

Conclusion

Above will give you an idea of all the things you must know before you start a business in DAFZA Dubai, all the things you should know before you actually do business setup in Dubai and all the exciting features to convince your shareholders that this is it.

Don’t wait for too long, because in Dubai, if today you are on top, tomorrow you are not even on the list.

Rais Dar

A passionate business person who takes pride in sharing knowledge with those who need it.

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