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How to set up a company in the Jebel Ali free zone (jafza)?

Are you considering the prospect of setting up your business in the thriving Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)? If so, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the legal aspects involved.

business partners handshaking

Why Choose JAFZA for Your Business?

Before we delve into the process, let’s explore why JAFZA is an attractive destination for business setup:

1. 100% Foreign Ownership

One of the standout features of JAFZA is that it allows 100% foreign ownership, which is not the case in many other regions. This means you have full control of your business without the need for a local partner.

2. Low Tax Rates

JAFZA offers a competitive edge with its low corporate tax rate of 9% for businesses whose profits exceed 375,000 AED. This can significantly benefit your bottom line.

3. Strategic Location

Situated at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, JAFZA offers unparalleled access to markets. It’s home to Jebel Ali Port, one of the world’s largest container ports, ensuring smooth import and export operations.

4. World-Class Infrastructure

JAFZA provides state-of-the-art facilities, including modern warehousing, manufacturing units, and office spaces, to support your business operations.

5. Streamlined Processes

The free zone simplifies the setup and operational processes with minimal paperwork and quick registration times. This ensures a hassle-free experience for entrepreneurs.

Types of Licenses in JAFZA

To get started with your business in JAFZA, you’ll need to select the appropriate license type based on your business activity. There are five main categories:

1. General Trading License

This license allows you to import, store, and distribute a wide range of items in compliance with JAFZA regulations.

2. Trading License

With a trading license, you can export, import, store, and distribute specific items mentioned on the license.

3. Industrial License

An industrial license permits you to import raw materials and manufacture specific products for export.

4. Service License

This license is ideal for businesses offering specific services within the free zone, in line with the license issued by relevant authorities.

5. National Industrial License

For manufacturing companies with a GCC national as the majority owner (at least 51% stake), a national industrial license is available. This grants you the same status as a GCC national within the UAE.

Setting Up Your Business in JAFZA: Step by Step

Now, let’s break down the process of setting up your company in JAFZA into simple steps:

1. Initial Registration of Interest

Begin your journey by registering your interest online. Fill out the online form, and you’ll be contacted by the JAFZA sales team to verify your application.

2. Document Submission

Once your interest is registered, you’ll need to submit specific documents. The requirements vary for individuals and non-individuals (companies). Here’s a checklist:

– JAFZA Application Form

– Environment Health and Safety (EHS) Application Form

– Project Summary or Business Plan

– Know Your Customer (KYC) Form

– Ultimate Beneficiary Owner (UBO) Form

– Appointment Letters

– Passport Copies

Ensure that all documents are duly filled, signed, and submitted as required. JAFZA may request additional documentation if necessary.

3. Select Your License and Make Payment

Review JAFZA’s Activity List for your license type, select an offering, license type, and make the necessary payment to initiate the business setup process.

4. Receive Your License and Setup Your Space

Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive your license. Depending on your business type, you can now move into your selected solution, whether it’s a warehouse or office space.

Costs and Considerations

Before diving in, it’s crucial to understand the costs associated with setting up a business in JAFZA. Here’s a rough breakdown:

– Registration Fee: Starts at 5,000 AED

– License Fees: Varies based on the license type

– Office Space Rental: Costs depend on the size and type of space

– Visa Costs: For owners and employees

– Health Insurance: Mandatory requirement

Keep in mind that these costs can vary based on your specific business needs and circumstances.

Renewal and Amendments

Once your business is up and running, you’ll need to consider renewal and possible amendments:

– Renewal: You’ll need to pay license fees, office fees, and establishment card costs. Renewal can be done without visiting JAFZA.

– Amendments: Most changes to your company can be processed without a personal visit. These include changes in the business name, activities, or management.

Closing Your Business

In case you decide to close your business in JAFZA, the liquidation process will be necessary. This involves returning original documents and paying the liquidation fee, which is typically around 2,000 AED. For professional legal advice on setting up your business in JAFZA, consult with the best Dubai legal consultants and law offices in Dubai. These law consultants in Dubai can provide expert legal advice and ensure your business complies with all relevant regulations.