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Home / Business Setup / Company Formation

With five different company formation types, Jafza has something for everyone

COMPANY FORMATION EXPERTS

A legal formation that suits every business type

With no foreign ownership restrictions, Jafza is the perfect choice for international investors looking to establish their companies in the region. Businesses within these zones operate under the independent authority of the free zone that issues operating licences and regulates the activities of all enterprises within the zone.

At every step of your journey with Jafza, you will have access to services to help you achieve your business goals. Jafza offers an extensive range of services to suit the needs and resources of any company seeking to expand.

Depending on the number of shareholders and the nature of business, Jafza offers five formation types in addition to a variety of license types and license activities, allowing companies to connect directly to a market of more than 3.5 billion people.

 

Download investor guide

Set up a company in Jafza

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Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

A single shareholder

Free Zone Company (FZCo)

Multiple shareholders

Public Listed Company (PLC)

Public offering company

Branch of a Company

 

Offshore Company

Operating outside the jurisdiction

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A Free Zone Establishment (FZE) registration allows for a single shareholder to form a company. This shareholder can be an individual (person) or a non-individual (company)

As part of Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Arab World’s first and largest free zone, an FZE is a single shareholder limited liability company that can be incorporated. The main attraction in forming a company in a UAE free zone is that there are no foreign ownership restrictions, and companies are governed by an independent Free Zone Authority (FZA), which is responsible for issuing operating licences and regulating the activities of companies within the free zone.

An FZE is essentially a Limited Liability Company (LLC) within the free zone, meaning that the liabilities of the company are limited to its paid-up capital. An FZE has a legal personality distinct from that of its shareholder and has the capacity, rights, and privileges of a person.

What you need to know
Set up a FZE company

Jafza's company formation process is 100% digital and you can set up your business using our digital channels online.

You may alternatively also download our application form and visit us at our sales centre in Dubai, UAE to start the process of setting up your company.

A Free Zone Company (FZCO) registration allows for multiple shareholders to form a company. The shareholders can be individuals (people) or non-individuals (companies)

As part of Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Arab World’s first and largest free zone, an FZCO is a multiple shareholder limited liability company that can be incorporated. The main attraction in forming a company in a UAE free zone is that there are no foreign ownership restrictions, and companies are governed by an independent Free Zone Authority (FZA), which is responsible for issuing operating licences and regulating the activities of companies within the free zone.

An FZCo is essentially a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) within the free zone, with the liabilities of the company limited to the paid-up capital. The shareholders of an FZCO can be from two to fifty individuals or non-individuals or a combination of both.

What you need to know
Set up a FZCO company

Jafza's company formation process is 100% digital and you can set up your business using our digital channels online.

You may alternatively also download our application form and visit us at our sales centre in Dubai, UAE to start the process of setting up your company.

A PLC registration allows for listing on the stock exchange with a public offering of its shares in accordance with market laws.

A Public Listed Company (PLC) is different from a privately held company. A public company is an entity that has sold all or a portion of itself to the public via an initial public offering (IPO), meaning that shareholders have a claim to part of the company’s assets and profit.

The Jafza PLC formation allows for the setup of a company that is essentially a limited liability company, meaning that the liabilities of the company are limited to its paid-up capital. A Public Listed Company within Jafza can have two or more shareholders. This type of corporation has a legal personality distinct from its shareholders and can exercise all rights as if it were an individual person with their own assets. A PLC must list shares on a stock exchange in accordance with market laws and may allow the public to subscribe to its shares.

What you need to know
Set up a Public Listed Company

You can also visit our sales centre at Jafza to get started on setting up a Public Listed Company in the United Arab Emirates.

A branch is a legal entity of its parent company

There are many instances in which an existing company may choose to establish a branch within the free zone. Some of the primary reasons would include maintaining the company’s operating history and age, maintaining the same name as the parent company, ease of continuity of business for an existing business near a dynamic port, etc.

A branch of a company is a legal entity of the parent company. Any company established outside the Jebel Ali Free Zone can establish a branch within Jafza. The branch company should be 100% owned by the parent company, operate under the same name, and conduct the same business activities.

Setting up a branch of an existing company within Jafza has its perks and benefits. Such a formation can help existing companies seamlessly continue doing business without any operational changes.

What you need to know
Set up a Branch Company

Jafza's company formation process is 100% digital and you can set up your business using our digital channels online.

You may alternatively also download our application form and visit us at our sales centre in Dubai, UAE to start the process of setting up your company.

Set up an offshore company in United Arab Emirates with Jafza.

An offshore company is fundamentally different from a free zone company in terms of how it operates. An offshore company is a legal business entity that is set up with the intention of operating outside its registered jurisdiction and/or the location of its ultimate ownership.

An offshore company setup in Jafza requires a minimum of one or more shareholders. There is no restriction on the maximum number of shareholders for this formation type. A shareholder can be an individual (person), a non-individual (company), or a combination of both. An offshore company is essentially a limited liability partnership within the free zone, with the liabilities of the company limited to its paid-up capital.

What you need to know
Set up an offshore company

Jafza's company formation process is 100% digital and you can set up your business using our digital channels online.

You may alternatively also download our application form and visit us at our sales centre in Dubai, UAE to start the process of setting up your company.

It's easy to get started

Formation & License

Based on how you want to operate your business, select your formation type and business license to establish a company.

Documents & payment

Submit the required documents and make payments towards the company set up process.

Lease agreement

Sign the lease agreement based on the selected solutions and move in to your premises.

Need help? Not sure what’s right for your business?

Let’s have a chat about your business formation needs and let us guide and advice you on the best approach. Our sales and business development team can advice you on the right approach.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between formation and business license?

    Company Formation Type is the legal structure of a business. This governs the structure and defines the number of shareholders of a company.

    A Business License governs the activities and operations of a business. A license first and foremost defines if the company is legally allowed to manufacture, trade in goods or provide a service only. Each specific license type has a set of activities that must be selected by the company that further determines what specific business activity the company may conduct.

  • What is the difference between an FZCO and a FZE company within the free zone?

    An FZE (Free Zone Enterprise) is essentially a single shareholder or a sole proprietorship company. In this type of company formation, the shareholder can be an individual (a person) or a non-individual (a company). Read about setting up an FZE company in our guide

    An FZCO (Free Zone Company) is essentially a multiple shareholder or a partnership firm where there is more than one shareholder in the company. In this type of company formation, the shareholders can be individuals (a person) or non-individuals (a company). Read about setting up a FZCO company in our guide

    Both company formation types allow for all licence types and can be used to execute business within the freezone.

  • Can a company become the shareholder of another company within Jebel Ali Freezone?

    Yes, a non-individual (a company) can be considered as a shareholder in an FZE, FZCO & PLC formation type. In the case of an FZCO or PLC formation type, there has to be more than 1 shareholder. Hence these formation types may have a combination of individuals and non-individuals as shareholders too.

  • Can I own multiple businesses within Jebel Ali Free Zone?

    Yes, an entity may apply for multiple business formation within the free zone. Each formation would be treated as a separate company name, however, the shareholders may be the same person or company. There is no limit on the number of businesses that can be incorporated within Jafza with similar shareholders.

  • Can I transfer my license from the mainland to Jebel Ali Free zone?

    Jafza does not have an option to transfer a business from the mainland of Dubai to a free zone. You may, however, opt to dissolve the mainland company and apply for a new company formation and license at Jafza. After this step, you may continue to issue the necessary visa for shareholders, directors and employees.

    You may also opt to create a branch of a company at Jafza thereby retaining the mainland company as the parent company.

  • How can I setup a business in Jebel Ali Freezone?

    The first step is to decide on the formation type. This is the legal structure of your company. Along with the decision of the formation type, you must also decide on the type of license. The license type provides you with the set of activities that govern your business.

    The quick and easy steps are:
    1. Select a formation type and business license. Submit all required documents based on the formation type and business license.
    2. Select of or more solutions that Jafza offers on a lease. Have a lease contract in place.
    3. Make payments towards the company setup based on choices you have made.
    4. Receive the keys to your premises and start conducting your business.

  • How long does it take for the company registration to complete?

    The estimated time to have the company set up completed is between 3 to 14 business days from the time all required documents are submitted based on the company formation type, license and categories of business within the license.

    It is also essential to have a lease agreement in place at the time of the set up of the company.

  • Is there a regulatory authority approval required to start a business in Jebel Ali Freezone?

    The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority - Regulatory is responsible for issuing all licenses for companies set up within Jebel Ali Free Zone. According to Ministerial Decision No. 100 of 2020, all companies must submit the Economic Substance Report. Existing companies were urged to submit this report no later than 31st Dec 2020. From this date onwards, any new company set up with Jafza is requested to submit this report at the time of setting up the company.

    Apart from this, certain categories will require approvals from other regulator authorities - for example, if you need to import or export any goods that fall within the Food and Agriculture industry, you may need additional approvals and certifications from relevant authorities within UAE.

    Speak to your account manager or approach the Customer Service Desk at Jafza to learn more about which categories may require additional regulatory approvals.

  • What are the financial requirements starting a company within Jebel Ali Freezone?

    Prior to 2017, Jafza FZE companies were required to have a minimum share capital of AED 1,000,000 while an FZCO company was required to have AED 500,000 per shareholder when there were 2 shareholders of an FZCO company.

    This is no longer the requirement. Jafza does not prescribe a minimum share capital for an FZE or FZCO, but require that a company must have a share capital that is sufficient for the activities for which it is licensed. This is in line with the UAE Commercial Companies Law.

    It is always recommended to speak to our Sales team at the time of setting up your company who shall guide you on the best practices regarding financial commitments to starting your business with Jafza.

  • What is the validity of a license in Jebel Ali Free Zone?

    Every issued license at Jafza is valid for 1 year from the date of its issue. A license must be renewed each consecutive year from its issue date.

  • How can a company make amendments to their name?

    After incorporating, and setting up operations for your business, if a company would like to make any amendment to their name then they must start with creating a request through the Jafza portal and proposing the change in the name. They must also submit a new Memorandum of Association (MOA) which will be delivered to Jafza via courier. Once the fees for the change in name are paid by the company, Jafza will issue the required documents for the change.

    The company can also approach the Customer Service Desk at Jafza to know more about amendments to their company name.

  • How can I renew my trade license with Jafza?

    Renewing a trade license is a simple and easy step. The first and foremost requirement is to have an active lease contract in place. If the lease contract is active, a company simply needs to make payments towards the license renewal using the Jafza portal. On receipt of the payment, the license is renewed and the company may download the required document from the portal directly.

    In some cases, where there are a certain additional requirements - such as the need to have insurance in place based on the categories of the license or certain government certification are required, these must be submitted online prior to the payment of the license.

  • How to calculate gratuity for employees?

    All Jafza registered businesses are required to comply with the law of the United Arab Emirates in regards to the calculation of the end of service benefits. To help customers better calculate their employees end of service or gratuity amount, Dubai trade (the service arm of Jafza) has developed an easy to use calculator.

    Learn more about how to calculate gratuity using our guide or visit the Dubai Trade portal to use the calculator.

  • Do Jafza companies have to comply with WPS?

    The Wage Protection System (WPS) has been developed by the Central Bank of the UAE. Yes, all businesses registered with Jafza are required to comply with the WPS system of the United Arab Emirates. Jafza has implemented the need to comply with UAEWPS in 2012. Learn more about it through our guide on WPS.

Jafza is a one stop shop for company formation & business licensing

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