Which Is the Cheapest Freezone in UAE? Overview of Top Options for Foreign Investors

Despite the changes in tax policy in the United Arab Emirates in 2023 (with a corporate tax rate of 9%), the country remains a popular choice among foreign investors. Currently, it boasts a sizable audience of entrepreneurs from various nations who take advantage of the low taxes offered in the UAE free zones. Moreover, foreign business persons can obtain an investor visa and make profitable investments in Emirates real estate with a right to a permanent residency permit.


Which is the cheapest freezone in UAE? This is the most common question among business founders. Financial considerations, capital protection, and confidentiality are also among the primary concerns that investors have in mind.

Let’s delve into why Dubai free zones are the most popular, where is the cheapest company registration in UAE, what types of activities can be conducted in various free zones, and how to solve all business setup issues remotely.

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Dubai freezone company – what is it, who will be interested, and what are the benefits?

Free economic zones (or simply free zones) are specific areas within a country that offer advantageous business conditions for international and, less commonly, local companies. The main advantages of establishing a business in such zones in the UAE are as follows:

  • 100% exemption from corporate tax
  • 100% ownership of real estate in the emirate
  • 100% profit conversion
  • tax and customs benefits
  • simplified company registration procedures, and other benefits.

Each UAE emirate sets its own rules, conditions, and requirements for forming businesses in free zones. They also have authorities responsible for issuing trade and other licenses. However, certain types of activities may require coordination with federal authorities, which should be clarified beforehand.

According to the decrees issued by the United Arab Emirates government, starting from June 1, 2023, corporate tax rates for companies registered in free zones can be either 0% or 9%. The applicable tax for freezone UAE companies depends on whether the income falls within the CTL (Corporate Tax Law) provisions. You can read more about UAE corporate taxation here.

Which is the cheapest free zone in UAE?

The cost of registering a company in a free zone depends on factors such as license fees, office rent, workforce expenses, and other conditions. Since obtaining a license is the main cost item, comparing prices for a trade license is enough to determine what free zone offers the cheapest business setup in UAE in 2023.

Here is a list of some of the most affordable free zones offering the cheapest business license in UAE:

UAE free zoneTrading license priceVisa quota and benefits
DSO-IFZA (Dubai Silicon Oasis – International Free Zone Authority)AED 11,900Zero visa quota
SRTI Park (Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park)AED 5,500Zero visa quota, service business license
RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone)AED 11,440Zero visa quota, flexible working hours, service business license
MFZ (Meydan Free Zone)AED 12,500Zero visa quota, shared offices
DUQE Free Zone, DubaiAED 12,500Zero visa quota with Smart Desk

Note: Prices for licenses in the UAE free zones may change and are provided without considering expenses related to company formation, office rent, and other costs. Please consult our experts to obtain the current rates for registering a business in the United Arab Emirates.

Cheapest company setup in UAE in different emirates

Free zones in the UAE are highly competitive, and the local authorities of the Emirates strive to create the most favorable conditions for foreign investors, thereby increasing their interest in their country and specific free zone. The cheapest free zones in the UAE in 2023 offer comparatively inexpensive business licenses and attractive conditions for company formation.

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What is the best free zone in UAE to start a business for foreign investors, and where is it cheaper to obtain a license? To get an answer to these questions, seek personalized consultation from our specialists!


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What is the most affordable Dubai freezone?

The free trade zones in Dubai offer a wide range of business setup services for global investors. However, claiming that Dubai free zone license cost is the most affordable in the Emirates is inaccurate. Prices start from AED 11,900, depending on the specific zone, company type, and license category.

DUQE and DSO-IFZA offer the cheapest formation of a free zone company in Dubai, while DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) remains the most popular free zone. What are these cheap Dubai free zones, and who are they suitable for?

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

DIFC is a leading financial business center in the UAE catering to various industries primarily associated with financial and trading activities, including:

  • fintech companies
  • investment and banking
  • trading
  • fund management
  • financial consulting, and others.

The incentives provided by this freezone Dubai are highly attractive to foreign investors:

  • access to financial activities (for reference: there are only two financial free zones in the UAE)
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • reliable legal system, advantageous and secure for conducting cross-border operations
  • no restrictions on capital repatriation
  • absence of employee income taxes

In addition to fintech activities, you can establish a Dubai free zone company providing other services, such as a bar, fitness center, retail enterprise, and more.

A distinctive feature of the free zone is the common law system. It is governed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and has its own legal system (DIFC courts).

International Free Zone Authority – a free zone with the cheapest trade license in Dubai

Another affordable free zone in Dubai is IFZA (International Free Zone Authority). IFZA offers the opportunity to obtain a cheap free zone license in UAE (approximately 12,000 dirhams) and provides a range of advantages, including:

  • no requirement for annual audit reporting
  • investor visa valid for three years
  • ability to work remotely
  • numerous business options in the UAE, including opening a startup, holding, engaging in the service or trading sector, manufacturing activities, and more.

Establishing a business in IFZA can minimize capital requirements for your company and allow you to save on annual expenses, as it permits the operation of a home office and the combination of residential and company addresses.

Meydan Free Zone in Dubai

If you’re looking for an affordable office for a freezone company in Dubai, Meydan Free Zone (MFZ) can become an optimal choice. Investors can register their office in any other district of Dubai without facing any objections from the local administration.

The types of licenses available depend on the business sector and include the following:

  • Media License – grants the right to engage in media-related businesses, including advertising and communication services.
  • Consultancy License – designed for companies involved in business management and consulting services.
  • Commercial License – allows a free zone company Dubai for the import and export of goods as well as trading activities.

The cheapest freezone license in Dubai MFZ is priced at AED 12,500.

DUQE Free Trade Zone

DUQE Free Zone offers a relatively affordable freezone trade license Dubai, starting from 12,500 AED. DUQE is a free zone designed for startups and developers who seek to enhance their business organization. This UAE free zone is truly unique as it is located on board Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), one of the most iconic cruise liners ever.

Additionally, DUQE Free Zone provides attractive all-inclusive service packages for budding companies. Dubai freezone company setup cost under the package include:

  • license fee
  • lease agreement
  • 6-month work permit
  • 1 visa quota
  • up to 3 types of business activities.

By contacting our specialists, foreign investors can avail themselves of a comprehensive range of services in the UAE, including accounting, VAT registration, bank account opening, and more.

Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)

Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is an integrated digital park in the UAE, serving as a modern development and technology center. It is also one of the country’s most affordable and popular free zones.

What you can get in this free zone:

  • DSO offers ready-to-develop industrial plots of various sizes.
  • It provides a range of versatile warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and light industrial units (LIUs).
  • This free zone creates a professional business environment and serves as an ideal hub for establishing regional offices and research centers tailored to specific industries, including office spaces.
  • Tax exemptions, including profit tax, corporate tax, and import/export duties.
  • Well-developed infrastructure that caters to a comfortable living, working, and workplaces setup.

In addition to the technology sector, legal and consulting companies and other enterprises operate within the Dubai Silicon Oasis. DSO Dubai freezone license cost is approximately AED 15,000, making it a viable alternative to other trade licenses in Dubai for business setup.

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The cheapest freezone license in UAE Sharjah

Free zones in Sharjah can also be considered among the affordable and cost-effective options in the Emirates. The cheapest free zone license starts from AED 5,500, making business planning more accessible compared to Dubai.

Among the free zones in Sharjah, the following can be highlighted:

  • Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) – a dynamically developing free zone that is an ideal choice for aspiring entrepreneurs. SPC Free Zone offers competitive prices and can be used for trading activities and obtaining relevant licenses at a low cost and with a quick setup.
  • Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) – one of the inexpensive free zones in the UAE. Currently, SHAMS offers a media license starting from AED 5,800 and a standard trade license for AED 8,100. Investors have the option to select up to three types of activities, which is beneficial for freelancers, media startups, and consultants.
  • Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) – a free zone open to young enthusiasts seeking business incubators and startup programs. Here, you can establish various businesses and obtain a cost-effective license based on the chosen niche. Focus areas include sustainable energy, renewable energy management, waste recycling, water purification, new digital technologies, consultancy services, and more. The license cost in SRTIP Free Zone starts from AED 5,500.
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The cheapest free zones in Abu Dhabi, UAE

In addition to the famous and globally renowned Dubai, United Arab Emirates can offer several affordable free zones in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is a rapidly developing business and economic hub in the UAE, where you can establish an international company and take advantage of tax and other incentives.

The free zones in Abu Dhabi where you can obtain a cheap license in 2023 are:

  • Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (KEZAD)
  • Masdar City Free Zone
  • Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone (ADAFZ). ADAFZ offers a wide range of business infrastructure, including office and warehouse spaces, furnished offices, and more.

It is also worth mentioning Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone (ADGM), which serves as an important international financial center in the UAE.

Other cheap free zones in the UAE

Virtually all well-known free zones fall into this category, and the following enjoy the most significant popularity among foreign investors:

  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) – an efficient business hub offering individual solutions for company formation. RAKEZ provides options for establishing both freezone and non-freezone companies, and you can obtain a cost-effective trade license with subsequent access to the global market through the UAE’s seaports and airports.
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ) – suitable for startups, small and medium-sized businesses. Due to its proximity to Dubai and access to international ports, this free zone has gained popularity among foreign business founders in the UAE. UAQ FTZ operates as an autonomous zone, and the cost of a license with two visa packages amounts to approximately 20,000 dirhams per year.
  • Ajman Media City Free Zone – a premier hub for media agencies and entertainment activities in the UAE. The commercial license in Ajman Media City (1 visa package) is available at around 12,000 dirhams.

To establish your business in one of the UAE free zones and take advantage of zero business taxes, it is advisable to seek consultation on all matters from our experienced specialists.

Business migration to the UAE – summary

The cost of registering a company in the UAE free zones depends on the business sector, the type of business license, and the cost of servicing such a company. It is not always cheap and straightforward, and in some situations, it can even be complex and costly. To reduce your costs and simplify the business registration process, please contact info@offshore-pro.info for expert assistance.

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If you haven’t yet decided where it is more advantageous, cheaper, and safer to open a company in the United Arab Emirates, seek advice from our specialists. We offer professional consulting and remote services for business registration in UAE free zones and mainland at a competitive price!

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