Business Setup in Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA)

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The Dubai Airport Free Zone [DAFZ] was created in 1996 to facilitate business formation in the UAE in an effort to become an investment-driven economy. It covers 696,000 square meters and includes more than 250 warehouses and 13 additional buildings. The Dubai Airport Free Zone, like all the UAE Free Zones, offers several advantages over locations outside the free zones. One particularly attractive advantage for foreign business owners is that no local sponsor is required. Businesses operating outside an established free zone must have a local sponsor – a business partner with UAE citizenship and certain specified authorities within the business.

Benefits of Locating in the Dubai Airport Free Zone

DAFZ is governed by the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority [DAFZA] which administers trade licenses and visas for international companies. Businesses wanting to do business within DAFZ must work through the DAFZA to get the full benefits of doing business in the free zone. A partial list of these benefits includes:

・ 24/7 cargo fast clearance through customs
・ One-stop shop for administrative support
・ World-class cargo handling facilities
・ Established connections with Government departments
・ The access to 130 airlines connecting to 220 countries
・ Central Dubai location
・ Modern infrastructure*
・ No currency restrictions
・ 100% repatriation of profits and capital
・ No local sponsor required (100% foreign ownership)
・ Income tax rate 0%
・ Import and export taxes 0%
・ Corporate tax 0%

*DAFZ infrastructure is equal to quality business services anywhere in the world. Business owners, top managers and invited customers can use the state-of-the-art telecommunication system; world-class golf courses; five-star restaurants and hotels; exceptional residential and office accommodations and, of course, first class medical facilities.

Business types and License types

There are two types of businesses permitted in the DAFZ – a Branch Office and a Free Zone Establishment [FZE]. Although the requirements are similar, there are some important differences between the formation processes for the two business types. The FZE business type is a shareholder-based organization while the Branch type is a DAFZ branch of an existing foreign company. In addition to the two business types there are three business license types. A Trade License permits the license holder to import, export, distribute and store specified items. A Service License allows specified services as outlined in the license documents. With an Industrial License, a business can perform light industrial processes, packaging and assembling.


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Required Documents (New Company or FZE)

I – Required documents/information for getting Initial Approval
• Proof of reserved trade name. You must apply for a trade name by submitting at least three options. When the authority approves your trade name you will receive proof of your registered trade name to submit along with you application for initial approval. Our firm (Push Digits) can manage this process for you.
• Registration application. You must complete an application for business registration. We* can help you complete the form.
• You must provide a passport copy.
• If the applicant is a UAE national a copy of naturalization identification is required
• The manager must provide a passport copy and CV (resume).
• If the applicant is a corporate entity (an existing business) – The Board of Directors of the existing company must provide a resolution stating the intention to form a new business in Dubai Airport Free Zone. This must be attested by the UAE embassy in the country of origin.
• If you utilize the services of a local agent the agent must have a Power of attorney

II – Registration of Business

After initial approval, following documents are required to complete the Business registration:

• Proof of initial approval for business formation activities (from step one)
• Power of attorney for local agent (from step one)
• Proof of reserved trade name (from step one)
• Registration application (from step one)
• The applicant must provide a passport copy
• If the applicant is a UAE national a copy of naturalization identification is required.
• Managers and directors must provide passport copies
• A minimum office space is required. We* can locate the required space and obtain the lease documents for you.
• If the applicant is a corporate entity in UAE or another country notarized proof of company registration is required
• the authority may require additional documents at the time of registration

Required Documents (Branch Office in Dubai Airport Free Zone)

• Copies of shareholder passports
• Copies of passport and C.V. (resume) for the designated manager of the branch office
• Completed personal information sheet for each shareholder
• Proof of reserved trade name. You must apply for a trade name by submitting at least three options. When the authority approves your trade name you will receive proof of your registered trade name to submit along with you application for initial approval. We* can manage this process for you.
• Proof of approval from the authority for initial activities. We* can arrange this initial approval for you.
• A notarized (by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin) Memorandum of Association or Articles of Association for the existing company
• A board resolution from the existing company board of directors expressing intent to establish the Branch Office in Dubai Airport Free Zone. This must be notarized by the UAE Embassy in the origin country.
• A certificate of registration for the parent company. This can be a business license or a certificate of registration for the parent company notarized by the UAE Embassy in the origin country
• A certificate of good standing issued by the registrar of companies in the origin country and approved by the UAE Embassy
• A lease agreement for minimum approved office space. This establishes a physical address for the Branch Office. We* can locate the required space and obtain the lease documents for you.
• A feasibility study or business plan. We* can help with this.
• Documents describing the company profile
• The physical address of the parent business

Additional documents may be required at the time of registration

Business license fees in Dubai Airport Free Zone

Description Cost AED Cost US$
Industrial License 9,375 2,570
Commercial Specific Trading License 9,375 2,570
Commercial Oil and Gas Trading license 12,500 3,425
Commercial Real Estate Trading license 18,750 5,135
Commercial Aviation Trading license 18,750 5,135
General Trading License 18,750 5,135
Specific Services License 9,375 2,570
Oil and Gas Services license 12,500 3,425
Freight Forwarding license 10,625 2,910
Real Estate Services license 18,750 5,135
Aviation Services License 18,750 5,135

Although the requirements and restrictions seem intimidating, the DAFZ authority was established to promote business formation. These regulations provide security for legitimate businesses against predatory business tactics and protect the rights, privileges and sensibilities of UAE citizens. The UAE free zones are some of the most crime-free areas of the populated world. You will be doing business in a safe and stable environment.

How We Will Help You

All of this paperwork and red tape can appear daunting but it does not have to. Here at Push Digits we have the skills, experience, and strong local connections to smooth out the process. We can make business formation in the Dubai Airport Free Zone quick and painless. We offer templates for required documents and assistance as required to assemble and present the documents. Our partners will guide you through the process and get your new business or new branch office operating legally and as quickly as possible.

After your business or branch is operating we offer continued services such as accounting and financial services; financial projections; internal audits; preparation for external audits and a host of other valuable services. We push the digits for you, leaving you time for your business and more time for your personal life.


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