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Business, Licenses, Startups

Key Steps to Free Zone Business Setup

Free zone company formation is an alternative to setting up in mainland or onshore, it is also possible to establish an LLC or branch in one of the many free zones across Dubai and the UAE. Free zones are specific areas within the UAE and were introduced to attract foreign investment. Each free zone is administered and governed by their own regulatory authorities with their own rules and regulations.

The licensing authority within each free zone is responsible for issuing free zone licenses and registering companies. Typically, free zones are industry focused and are tailored to specific industries and therefore, only license specific types of activities.

Although there are a large number of free zones within the UAE, the majority are situated within Dubai. Some of the most popular free zones are:

  • DIFC – Dubai International Financial Centre.
  • JAFZ – Jebel Ali Free Zone
  • DMCC – Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
  • DAFZ – Dubai Airport Free Zone.
  • DCC – Dubai Creative Clusters, otherwise known as TECOM and which includes Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City etc.
  • KIZAD – Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi
  • Masdar City

Setting up a business in a free zone is relatively straightforward when you have Synergy Group as your corporate service provider.


  • Decide the type of legal entity you wish to set up
  • Select a trade name that fits with UAE naming regulations
  • Application for a business trade licence
  • Choose an office space type within the free zone jurisdiction
  • Get pre-approvals, register the business and the trade licence is issued


Determine the type of legal entity your business would take up. In a free zone, you can set up one of the two types of companies:

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Company (FZ Co.)
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

The differences lie in the number of shareholders and whether the shareholder is a natural person or a legal person. All free zones might not register both types of companies, however Synergy are able to check with individual free zone authorities about the type of company we can register your company.


Do you need advice on starting your business in the UAE? Our business development team are waiting to speak with you today. Explore your options Contact or call +971 4 563 7302.

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