Free Zone Company Formation Procedures.

Free Zone Business Setup - Investors may be interested to know the procedures involved in setting up a business in Dubai Free Zones. In this write-up, I’m trying to give an outline of the step by step procedures to setup a Free Zone company. These are general guidelines intended for making the investors aware of the steps they need to go through for company formation in Free Zone.

Step 1. Decide the ownership pattern.

First of all you need to decide who will be the owners / shareholders of the company. You should also decide whether you are going to hold shares in the proposed company as an individual or a corporate entity like another company is going to hold shares in the new company.

Step 2. Decide the legal form of the company.

If there is only a single shareholder, the legal form of the proposed company will be Free Zone Establishment (FZE). If there are more than one shareholder, the legal form of the new entity will be Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZCo / FZ LLC).

Step 3. Decide the share capital of the company.

Considering the business activity of the company, decide the share capital. Most of the Free Zones stipulate the minimum share capital required to register a company.

Step 4. Select an appropriate name for your company.

You have to give two or three alternative names to the Free Zone Authority. They will allot the name, if it is available.

Step 5. Decide the manager of the company.

The manager will be representing the company for all legal and administrative formalities. Manager’s name will be mentioned in the business license of the company.

Step 6. Attested basic documents of corporate shareholder.

If a corporate entity becomes the shareholder in the new Free Zone company, the certificate of incorporation and memorandum of association of the parent company attested by the UAE embassy in that country need to be attached.

Step 7. Resolution of the board of directors of the parent company.

The parent company should pass a board resolution authorizing the formation of a Free Zone company in UAE. The resolution should mention the name of the manager. The board resolution should also get attested by the UAE embassy in the country in which the parent company is registered.

Step 8. Approval for name and activity.

Submit application for getting approval for proposed name and business activity. Once it is approved, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 9. Submit application along with all required documents.

Once the name and business activity is approved, you can submit application along with documents like business plan, passport copy of manager, profile of investors, basic documents and board resolution of parent company; if applicable. At this stage, you will also identify suitable office package for your business. Some Free Zones offer a facility to book office space in advance on paying specified amount as security deposit.

Step 10. Open bank account

Once preliminary approval is granted, the Free Zone authority will issue a letter addressed to the bank for opening a bank account in the name of the company. You need to deposit the share capital of the company into that bank account. On depositing share capital, the bank will issue a letter confirming the deposit of share capital.

Step 11. Complete company registration procedure.

At this stage, you can submit the deposit confirmation letter issued by the bank for completing the registration procedure. The registration procedure includes signing lease agreement, paying lease rental and deposit, signing memorandum of association, paying one time registration fee and annual license fee.

Step 12. Receive your certificate of incorporation and license.

Once the registration formalities are completed, you can collect the certificate of incorporation, business license, memorandum of association, share register etc.

With the above step, your business incorporation in Free Zone is complete. Now you can start doing business.

Note: The steps mentioned above are a general outline of the procedures to setup a company in most of the Free Zones in Dubai. These procedures may slightly vary from Free Zone to Free Zone.

Mr. Baiju Masoodu is a Free Zone Business Setup Consultant. Our ‘corporate service firm’ can advise and assist you to set-up a business in Dubai and UAE Free Zones. For a free consultation & cost estimate, call me on: +971 50 214 1476 or mail me at:

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