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Free Zones in Dubai, how do they differ?

Chances are that you've stumbled upon this article because you have a fair idea of what Free zones are.



In the context of Dubai (and UAE), Free Zones in Dubai allow expats to 100% own the business without the local sponsor as a sponsor, which is required in the mainland.


Each Free Zone was conceptualized under a theme or industry categories and only offers licenses to companies within those categories. Most of the free zones in Dubai broadly offer trading, services, and industrial licenses to investors looking to set up their businesses.


There are more than 30 free zones in Dubai. Lets focus on the popular ones, which might interest you.


Dubai Airport Free Zone: This free zone has around 1600 companies spanning across various sectors like IT, electronics, Pharmaceuticals, engineering, and aerospace.


Dubai Healthcare City: This free zone was established with the objective to provide high quality, patient-centric healthcare and to promote medical tourism.


Dubai International Academic city (The official website link is currently under maintenance, but this wiki link will give you much of the info) This free zone was established with the objective of providing world-class education through schools, colleges, and universities.


Dubai Internet City: This is an information technology park where companies from around the world can establish their base and target the local emerging market.


Dubai International Financial Center: This is the hub of financial activities and houses a number of financial institutions including wealth fund and private investors in addition to hotels and residential space.


Dubai Knowledge Village:(The official website link is currently under maintenance, but this wiki link will give you much of the info) This is a knowledge-based free zone aimed at promoting human resource, professional learning, and education.


Dubai Media city: This is the hub of regional media that includes new agencies, online media, production and broadcasting facilities. It is also home to the International Cricket Council.


Dubai Gold and diamond park: This park was established with the aim to promote gold and diamond sale in the country and to woo tourists and residents.


Dubai Silicon Oasis: This is both a residential and commercial trade zone and houses a large number of high tech industries.


Jebel Ali free zone: The world’s largest free zone, the Jebel Ali free zone houses both offices and warehouses that cater to different types of businesses.

For operating in these Free Zone, you should obtain either a trade, service or industrial license from the respective Free Zone authorities.

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