3.2 Free Zone Locations Compared

UAE Free Zone Locations Compared

On this page, you’ll find an overview of free zones in the United Arab Emirates. Please note, that while this website does not describe each and every free zone in detail, the information on this page should enable you to narrow down your choice to one or two suitable locations. Our specialists are always on hand to provide in-depth advice.

To date, free zones have been established in the emirates of Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Ajman and Fujairah. Within these free zones, companies can be 100% foreign owned.

There are different zones within the free trade zone system. These are differentiated by the type of business they promote. This can be seen clearly through the example of Dubai:

Jebel Ali Free Zone Mainly significant as a freeport zone
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Facilitates the handling of raw materials
Dubai Media City International media productions
Knowledge Village Branches of international universities
Gold and Diamond Park Trade in gold and diamonds
Dubai Car and Automotive City For the automobile industry
Dubai Maritime City Maritime services
Dubai Healthcare City International healthcare

Furthermore, it is not only the free zones within an emirate which differ from one another. The individual emirates are always in competition with one another as free zones and so conditions, advantages and disadvantages differ from emirate to emirate

The ideal location for your enterprise

Privacy Management Group is domiciled in the United Arab Emirates. Based on our experience, we have identified the UAE free zones which we believe to be most relevant for the majority of entrepreneurs.

Based on the nature of your business there may be other free zones which are ideally suited for company setup. Our friendly incorporation specialists will advise you to find the right zone for your needs.

The relevant UAE free zones in comparison

Free zone Available licence types (possible areas of business activity)
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK Free Zone) Industry, trade, import & export, services, e-commerce, national industry, media, etc.
Dubai (Jebel Ali Free Zone) Trade, industry, services or national industry
Ajman (Ajman Free Zone) Trade, e-commerce, services.

Often you will be able to determine which free zone is best suited for your proposed business activities, by the available licence types alone. If you are yet to make a decision, the following comparison may be of assistance.

Free Zone Corporation Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Office Rental Costs Complexity of Formation Process Visa and Residency Banks
Ras Al Khaimah 0% low medium complex ++
Jebel Ali 0% medium high very complex ++
Ajman 0% low low easy ++

The table below provides a further comparison, compiled on the basis of our own experience:

Free Zone Duration of Formation Requirements Bureaucracy
Ras Al Khaimah +/- +/- +/-
Jebel Ali +/- +/-
Ajman ++ + +/-

And how do rating agencies regard these locations with regard to the financial security of future development?

Free Zone Rating Agency Year of Valuation Valuation
Ras Al Khaimah Standard & Poors 2012 A/AA-1
Jebel Ali Moody’s 2013 Ba2
Ajman Not rated Not rated Not rated

Need More Detailed Information?

Privacy Management Group offers you personal advice to make the right choice. Additionally, you can use the following links to find out more about the Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman free zones and to view and compare our fees and services.

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