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There are now over 30 free zones in the country spread across all seven emirates, each

having different reasons for and against why one should consider them. How to navigate all this offering?

By popular demand, owners solutions DMCC   structuring team has compiled a comparison of UAE’s major free zones, their core focus, key features and USPs. This guide will help you and/or your clients determine which free zone is most suitable for every specific business concept.

Selecting an appropriate free zone depends on a number of criteria, chief among which:

•• Availability of suitable license

•• Location – one may favour being close from its main customers or supply chain.

Location should also be considered in relation to employees’ projected domicile;

•• Price – the costs of constitution and maintenance of an entity will vary from zone to

zone. An important factor to take into consideration is the cost of the premises. As a rule

of thumb, the farther the zone from an urban area – i.e. Dubai or Abu Dhabi City – the

cheaper the premises. Some zones offer cost-effective versatile options in the form of

flexi-offices/smart-offices/shared offices.

•• Administrative/logistic facilities – the quality of support offered by the zone – i.e for

license processing, visa processing, etc. – may vary.

•• Branding/credibility – one may favour an established zone (or “premium”) over relative

newcomers, for branding and market awareness purpose. The internal ratings of banks

of the most credible free zones are relevant when financing is required.

A Comparison of UAE’s major free zones, their core focus