The UAE is one of the world’s most famous business hubs for its excellent tax policies and vibrant and clean business environment. Setting up a business, be it expanding a business or starting it from scratch, has proved to be cost-effective and profitable for foreign investors. The question of the cheapest trade license option in the UAE can be broken down into many questions and depends on many factors. The UAE has many established free zones, and each of them has its cons and pros for starting a business. To emphasize this fact further, the UAE’s free zones are divided based on specialized business activities. With this in mind, it is best to first look for the free zone that suits the nature of the business best and then apply for the corresponding trade license from the selected free zone authorities. However, here is a list of the cheapest trade licenses in the UAE, regardless of the limitations on various businesses in every free zone:

Sharjah Media City

    • (Shams Free Zone) – The free zone is currently running a promotion of AED 5,750 for a limited time only. This is open to all media and e-commerce activities. The timeline for Shams Free Zone license setup normally takes less than a week.

International Free Zone Authority, Fujairah (IFZA) – IFZA license fees start at AED 11,500. This price does not include visa costs or any consultancy services. A zero-visa trading license starts at AED 13,500 in IFZA.

  • Ajman Free Zone – Starting from AED 11,000, a foreign entrepreneur can already get a Free Zone license. The timeline for the whole business setup normally takes only two business days. This is also open to all business activities. Five similar activities can be conducted with the same license.

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone (RAKEZ) – The minimum cost to start a commercial business in RAKEZ is AED 14,800. Entrepreneurs can conduct five activities under the same license they apply for (if the businesses are suitably connected). Any additional activity belonging to the same category will cost around AED 1,000. Two different activities from different categories will cost AED 3,000.

Benefits of Operating a Business in a UAE Free Zone

  • Fast and easy setup
  • No personal presence requirement
  • Open to a wide range of business activities
  • No NOC requirement – this is of particular interest for persons already employed by other companies, small businesses, and solo entrepreneurs
  • 0% corporate and personal tax
  • 100% company ownership
  • Full range of business activities permitted
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No currency restrictions
  • 100% import and export tax exemption within the free zone

One point which should be considered in general about starting a business in the UAE is that there are more than thirty free zones in the UAE that offer ‘affordable’ trade licenses for foreign entrepreneurs. This implies that, depending on the nature of the business, running a business in the UAE is relatively simple and straightforward.

Smart Zone

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