Dos And Don’t s For Start-Ups: Observing The UAE Free Zones

Free Zone is a free economic area and entails registering a trade licence. It also consists of 100% foreign ownership, free transfer of funds, exemption of import and export duties and return of capital and profits.

If you have plans to start up a company in the UAE, now is a good time!

The aims of Dubai 2020 has made the government of the UAE more business friendly and they are openly encouraging entrepreneurs. Free Zone trade licences are also on the demand.

Without local partnership, the only way a firm can start up in the UAE is to get a free zone licence.

Below are the list of dos and don’ts while setting up a business in a free trade zone in the UAE.

#1. Forget fancy bank accounts

“Avoid rushing into getting a bank account for high-flyers with [terms such as] a minimum Dh100, 000 balance account.” Sebastian

“Be realistic about your business level and go for the simplest account you can find to begin with — and watch out for those high fees and so on.” Sebastian Study all options

#2. Study all options

Will Ranki (a British expat) believes that research makes a major difference. He also said in an interview that:

“Investigate all the business set-up options — there are dozens, and some might fit your needs better than others.

“And plan ahead, certain company types have visa limits or geographical restrictions.”

#3. Sort out all paperwork

“Every step of the way you need stacks of forms with the appropriate stamps and signatures, and if you forget something on one of your many trips to the bank or free zone office, you will waste a lot of time,” Sebastian Tontsch stated.

“I learned to carry everything on a memory stick, and my company stamp became an extra limb.”

#4. Ask for help if you need it

“I spoke to several people who had already been through the free zone process before deciding on the one I wanted to use,” says Boshoff.

“Not only did it help me find the most ideal, cost-effective space for my business, it also helped me save time in that I had an idea of the sorts of administration or submission challenges I might face.”

#5. Factor in hidden costs

Boshoff Hundal said “While free zone licences can be cost-effective, I would advise keeping an additional Dh5,000 aside to pay for unexpected administration fees, access and other card fees, and any other costs that might not have been listed as part of the licence. That way you won’t be caught by surprise.”

#6. Stay away from legal trouble

Will Ranki: “Don’t fall foul of the law — the onus is on you to understand employment, health insurance, safety and banking laws.”

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