Presently, there are more than 50 free trade zones in the UAE, the majority of which are concentrated in Dubai. The most known are Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) which was the first, Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and Dubai South (formerly Dubai World Central /DWC/). Each free zone caters to a particular industry or type of activity.
Unlike local company, the purpose of FZC is typically from the free zone to make business overseas or/and within the free zone with other businesses established there. Restrictions of foreign ownership related to local companies do not apply to companies established in free zones. Other major benefits are residency permit and work visa, free repatriation of profits and capital, corporate and personal income tax exemptions and import/export tax exemptions.
Once accepted into a free zone a company will typically operate under one or more licences (e.g. commercial licence, general trading licence, industrial licence, service licence). Costs of Free Zone set up vary in each Free Zone and will largely depend on the type of activity, entity, size of office required to rent and the number of work visas requested.