Starting a business in Dubai can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to deciding which type of legal entity to choose and which free zone to register with. The Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Free Zone Authority (FZA) are two of the most important entities in Dubai that regulate businesses. In this article, we will discuss the importance of registering with the DED and FZA, as well as the restrictions that come with operating in a free zone. The DED is responsible for overseeing businesses in the continental or terrestrial territory of Dubai, while the FZA is responsible for managing, operating and supervising free zones in Dubai.
A continental company can conduct business in the local market, as well as outside the United Arab Emirates and internationally without any operational restrictions. However, companies that operate within a free zone can only conduct business within their specific free zone and are not allowed to operate in the continental United Arab Emirates. The Dubai Economy, together with other government entities in Dubai, launched the Dubai Virtual Commercial City (VCC) program, which will allow entrepreneurs and freelancers from all over the world to create a virtual company in the United Arab Emirates, even if they don't live in the United Arab Emirates. There are around 45 free zones in the United Arab Emirates, of which about 25 are in Dubai, each of which caters to specific categories of businesses.
For example, Dubai Healthcare City is ideal for companies in the healthcare sector, while the Dubai Techno Park is home to information technology (IT) companies. When starting a business in Dubai, it is essential to research your category according to DED regulations and consider all factors before selecting a free zone for your business. The official lists of business activities according to the DED should be consulted before making any decisions. Additionally, it is important to plan for the present, near future and long term before selecting a free zone.
For instance, in the Dubai Airport Free Zone you can choose between “office packages”, “smart office packages” and “executive office packages”. In conclusion, registering your company with both the DED and FZA is essential for setting up a successful business in Dubai. It is important to research your category according to DED regulations and consider all factors before selecting a free zone for your business. Doing so will ensure that you are able to operate legally and without any restrictions.