Jebel Ali Free Zone, fondly called (JAFZA), is not just any free zone found in the UAE. And as we know – in business, the name of the game is finding the right location, you are already in for a win with a JAFZA-licenced company in Dubai! One of the biggest perks for a business to be part of JAFZA is its superior location and proximity to the sea and airports. With a variety of business activities and facilities to accommodate them, Jebel Ali Free Zone has something for everyone, for sure! The free zone’s journey from 19 companies in 1985 to 500+ businesses in 1995 to 8,700+ companies today itself is a dead giveaway of how fast the free zone is growing. Knowing the business formation process before you step inside the world of unlimited opportunities can help you greatly. And we are happy to explain the process of setting up a business in JAFZA, one of the fastest-growing free zones in the MEASA region. But before we talk about “hows”, let’s discuss a little about the “whys” of Jebel Ali Free Zone business formation!
Adjacent to the Dubai Expo 2020 site, alongside the region’s largest deep seaport in Jebel Ali sits the world’s largest free zone spanning over 57 square kilometres on both sides of Sheikh Zayed Road namely Jebel Ali Free Zone. With Al Maktoum International Airport and Dubai International Airport at a distance of 24km and 40km respectively, the Free Zone is such a relief when it comes to customs and air cargo operations. The area is well-connected to major highways of Dubai such as E11 (Sheikh Zayed Road) and E311(Mohammed Bin Zayed Road) making transportation and logistics through buses, cars and metro trains (Dubai Metro Red Line) an easy breeze.
Bustling with more than 8,700 businesses from about 130 countries including 100+ Fortune Global 500 companies, JAFZA is a bonanza Free Zone for entrepreneurs and investors. The feather in the crown of DP World, Jebel Ali Free Zone is the largest customs bonded zone in the Middle East and an ideal hub for global trade and a well-integrated business setup solution provider. Thanks to the free zone’s central location in an unrivalled ecosystem and the bad boys – Jebel Ali Port, Al Maktoum International Airport, and Expo 2020 Dubai – in the neighbourhood.
Complete with a multi-modal transport infrastructure linking air, land and sea, JAFZA is a treat for your senses if your business needs a robust logistics system. Boasting one of the best global ocean linkages, the free zone offers more than 150 shipping lines that can handle over 19 million containers per year. Al Maktoum International Airport, one of the largest cargo airports across the globe and the city’s extensive 6-lane highway in the vicinity make the cargo travel from the free zone swift and safe within Dubai and between the emirates. And the cherry on the top is the Etihad rail which, once finished, will link JAFZA to the entire Arabian Peninsula.
Office Solutions Galore
Everything at Jebel Ali Free Zone has been conceived taking into account the specific needs of manufacturing and trading companies. Home to DP World, Dubai Trade and Dubai Customs, Jebel Ali Free Zone is fully equipped with world-class facilities to accommodate your business the way you want. Plots of Land, Warehouses, Office Space, Showrooms, Retail Outlets, Co-Working & Workstations, On-site Residence, Customised Development, you name it, and JAFZ has it all. Each facility at your disposal in the Free Zone is designed to squarely fit all the specific needs of a spectrum of activities.
Trade Licence Delight
The regulatory body of the free zone, JAFZA welcomes all kinds of business activities by dispensing five different types of trade licence – Trading, Service, Industrial, Logistics, and E-commerce. Every JAFZA licence comes with a 1-year renewable validity from the date of issuance. Opening doors to tons of opportunities in about 17 industries including Logistics, Food & Agriculture, Retail & E-Commerce, Petrochemicals, Automotive & Spare Parts, Electronics & Electrical, FMCG, and Healthcare Distribution, JAFZA allows entrepreneurs to form the following types of companies:
A Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
A Free Zone Company (FZCo)
Public Listed Company
Branch of a Company
An Integrated Community & Ecosystem
JAFZA screams “Dream big and achieve great heights!” with its vibrant and dynamic business community bursting at its seams with more than 135,000+ people working within companies registered under the free zone enjoying numerous routine services such as DEWA, Etisalat, du, Dubai Police and DGRFA in Dubai in addition to a smorgasbord of other facilities supporting their businesses. Such amenities include but are not limited to Full-Service Food Courts with food outlets, cafés, restaurants, travel agencies, business services, typing centres, printing services, money exchanges, insurance companies, a stationery store, supermarkets, a driver training centre, and a hotel.
Free Zone-Specific Benefits
Outfitted with a business-perfect environment to set up and scale a business in the UAE, JAFZ is an investors’ paradise, oozing with benefits more than any other free zone in the UAE can offer. The premium spot, decked up with all the amenities required to nurture a small budding business into a successful giant entity, offers a wide range of benefits as well, that can save you a fortune, such as:
100% foreign ownership
100% capital repatriation
0% corporate tax for 50 years with renewable concession
0% personal income tax
0% import or re-export duties
Zero restriction on currency exchange
Restriction-free hiring of foreign talent or employees
Ability to mortgage your premises
Cost-effective business packages to suit individual requirements
Effortless & quick business setup
How to start a business with JAFZA?
A company registered under JAFZA right away becomes part of the international network of successful businesses from all over the world. If you are determined to join the JAFZA’s spirited community, get familiar with the rules and regulations and process of setting up a company in the free zone. And as they say, you can’t make bricks without straw, you also need to collect the whole bunch of required documents before kicking off the process. Here’re the three simple steps to a clear legal formation setup process for you to get started.
1. Online application submission
Based on how you want to operate your business, select your entity type and trade licence to establish a company and complete the application form, available on the JAFZA portal, with all the requested details, upload supporting documents and submit it for review. The authority will verify the submitted documents for activity approval and provide the Trade Name Registration certificate. They will also acquire necessary approvals from other authorities concerning the chosen business activity on your behalf.
2. Selection of product(s), registration of company & payment
Upon receiving the initial approval from the licencing authority, submit the pending documents and make payments towards the company set-up process.
1. Receive Product Key 2. Register on Dubai Trade Online Portal and activate your account
Handover the product key to the applicant
Documents Required for JAFZA Trade Licence
The list of documents can differ depending on the type of legal entity and intended activity.
JAFZA application form
Environment Health and Safety (EHS) application form
Passport/Emirates ID copy of manager, directors and secretary (FZE/ FZCo – manager plus shareholder(s) included)
No Objection Certificate from local sponsor, applicable to the UAE resident only
Free Zone / Company (FZCo) / Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
For Individuals: 1. Business profile of shareholder(s) 2. Board resolution and Power of Attorney (for FZCo only), attested by JAFZA 3. Specimen signature of manager, shareholders, director and secretary, attested by JAFZA For Companies: 1. Certificate of Registration, duly notarised and attested by the UAE embassy 2. Memorandum & Articles of Association, duly notarised and attested by the UAE embassy 3. Specimen signature of manager, attested by JAFZA or UAE Embassy 4. Board Resolution & Power of Attorney, attested by the UAE Embassy
Branch of a Company (Abroad)
1. Certificate of Registration, duly notarised and attested by the UAE embassy 2. Memorandum & Articles of Association, duly notarised and attested by the UAE embassy 3. Board Resolution & Power of Attorney, attested by the UAE Embassy 4. Specimen signature of manager, attested by JAFZA or UAE Embassy
Branch of a Company (UAE)
1. A copy of Licence 2. A copy of Memorandum of Association 3. A copy of Article of Association 4. A copy of Share Certificate 5. A copy of Chamber of Commerce certificate 6. A Letter from company to open branch in JAFZA 7. Original copy of Board Resolution 8. Specimen signature of manager, duly attested
JAFZA Business Formation Fees
Below is the comprehensive break down of the fees involved when setting up a company in JAFZA.
Facility Rental: Ranging from AED 25 / sqm to 30,000 / office (Depends on the choice of property)
Miscellaneous Documents Costs (Computer Immigration Card: AED 2,500 & Power of Attorney: AED 1,500)
Residence Visa in JAFZA (valid for 3 years): Employment Visa:AED 4,900 (outside the country) & AED 5,320 (inside the country); Visa Status Change: AED 950; Health Insurance (Basic Plan): AED 1,000
Business Consulting Service Package Fee (if applicable)
Type of Expense
One-time Fee (AED)
5,000 (For Free Zone Company (FZCo), Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Branch of a Company)
Memorandum of Association & Article of Association
Annual Fee (AED)
Trading Licence – Type 1 (7 products max from one group)
Trading Licence – Type 2 (12 products max from two groups)
Industrial Licence – Type 1 (7 products max from one group)
Industrial Licence – Type 2 (12 products max from two groups)