Setting Up a Business in Dubai – One Free Zone Passport Initiative

Setting up a business in a Dubai free zone is something many entrepreneurs consider during their time of conducting business in the UAE. If you are one of these entrepreneurs or businessmen/women, there are some recent developments that you should be aware of as they can have a significant impact on your business.

The One Free Zone Passport initiative is something the Dubai Free Zones Council has already begun working on. The initiative was put in place to allow companies operating in a free zone to operate in other free zones in Dubai without needing to apply for a separate license. A licensed free zone company would, therefore, be able to operate in multiple free zones without the need for additional licenses, which would significantly reduce the economic implications of conducting business in the UAE.

“The council members also agreed to meet with representatives of the Dubai Land Department and the Supreme Legislation Committee to discuss the possibility of exempting free zone companies from registering leased property” The “One Free Zone Passport Initiative” is symbolic of the Dubai Free Zone Council’s aspiration to position Dubai as a “regional driver of sustainable economic growth, as well as a reference point for forecasting the future in various fields, including education and innovation, while reflecting the outcomes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” (Dubai Chamber).

Through the emergence of more favorable economic systems as the one mentioned above, the DFZ Council will essentially be improving the ease of doing business in and across the many free zones in Dubai as well as boost liquidity for companies already operating in said free zones. It is believed that this initiative will not be stand-alone, especially as the authorities are carefully examining Dubai’s geo-economic map to include measures that are not only sustainable but also more attractive from an investment standpoint and far more competitive from a business standpoint.

What is the difference between a free zone and a regular company?

According to Commercial Law in the UAE, a foreign investor can own only up to 49% of the shares in an LLC registered in mainland Dubai. On the other hand, free zones permit 100% ownership of a company by foreign investors; that is why they are quite popular amongst ex-pats and foreign business people alike.

Want to learn more about how to set up a free zone in Dubai? Contact us now at or call +971 4 338 3032.

Author: Philip Smith
Philip Smith, LL.B. (Hons.): Founder & Principal of Your POA – The Leading Power of Attorney Company in Dubai and the UAE

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