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Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA Dubai)

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Starting a business at Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA Dubai) brings many benefits, such as a great location and different license options that fit various business types.

Since its opening in 1996, DAFZA has attracted more than 2,700 companies from over 20 sectors and provided jobs for over 20,000 people.

This guide will help you understand the advantages, steps, and costs of using DAFZA’s strategic spot to grow your business internationally.

Exploring Dubai Airport Free Zone

Located next to Dubai International Airport, Dubai Airport Freezone is a prime location for new and existing businesses. Its proximity to the airport ensures fast processing times and easy access to key trading operations.

DAFZA provides businesses with several advantages, including advanced cargo facilities and a logistics center, guaranteeing the efficient movement of goods and effective trade. Its central location in Dubai, connected by roads and the Metro, opens doors to an extensive business network.

Companies in DAFZA benefit from:

  • Potential for global partnerships
  • Reach into international markets
  • Central location
  • Up-to-date infrastructure
  • Supportive environment for business expansion
  • Incentives for investment

With these key advantages, DAFZA is an attractive choice for businesses looking to expand their global presence.

Dubai Airport Free Zone Licenses

To start operations within DAFZA, businesses must choose the appropriate license. DAFZA has designed a variety of licenses to cater to different business needs:

  • Trade Licenses: This license covers importing, exporting, distributing, and storing specific items for businesses like electronics and pharmaceuticals.
  • Service Licenses: These are for service-oriented companies, including logistics and consultancy, allowing them to operate within the free zone.
  • Industrial Licenses: Aimed at manufacturing or industrial companies.
  • General Trading Licenses: This option allows trading in a wide range of products.

Available Activities

Alongside their licenses, they have a tons of activities they accept. For instance:

  • Investment and financial services
  • Insurance and legal consulting
  • Engineering and architectural consultancies
  • Technical advisory services
  • Transportation, logistics, and warehousing
  • Travel and tourism services
  • Dropshipping and e-commerce
  • Automotive parts trading
  • Construction materials trade
  • Chemical products handling
  • Machinery and equipment operations

Businesses aiming to establish themselves in DAFZA have two primary options: form a Free Zone Company (FZCO) or set up a Branch of their existing company.

These options suit different business strategies and requirements, allowing companies to choose the best fit for their expansion plans in this thriving business hub.

1. FZCO (Free Zone Company)

Creating an FZCO is like starting a limited liability company, allowing shareholders, individuals, or corporate entities complete ownership. With the ability to have between one to fifty shareholders and a minimum share capital requirement of AED 1,000 per shareholder, an FZCO is accessible to a wide range of businesses.

The FZCO structure benefits those who value the advantages of free zone operations, such as total profit, capital repatriation, and no currency restrictions. It is tailored for business efficiency within the free zone, making it easier for companies to focus on growth without the regulatory constraints in other markets.

2. Branch

Setting up a Branch allows companies to maintain 100% ownership and operate in DAFZA without additional share capital. It extends the parent company’s activities, providing a straightforward way to enter the Dubai market.

By establishing a branch, businesses can leverage their reputation and operational history to gain credibility and start their activities quickly. This strategic move offers a faster process for engaging with the UAE’s market and the broader Middle Eastern business landscape, avoiding the complexities of starting a new company.

Documents Required for Registration:

To set up a business in the DAFZA free zone, you must provide specific documents to meet its regulatory requirements.

  • A comprehensive business plan that outlines your company’s goals and strategy for operating in the free zone.
  • Personal bank statements from the past six months.
  • A bank letter confirming the financial standing of the company’s shareholders.

Passport copies are also required for all shareholders to verify identities. In some cases, a no-objection certificate from a current local sponsor may be necessary. 

Dubai Airport Free Zone Company Setup Cost

Starting a business in DAFZA comes with various costs based on the business model and the company’s specific needs. While DAFZA is not the cheapest option, it does provide a range of competitively priced packages that offer value for money and cater to businesses of different sizes and intentions.

The Smart Desk License Package is a smart choice for cost-conscious businesses as it provides essential office space and permits, including a service license. For those needing more room, there are options for increased amenities with the Boutique Office, Premium, or Premium Plus License Packages. Companies with significant trading activities will find the General Trading License Package a perfect fit.

The cost breakdown includes office space rental, license fees, and other expenses. For instance, a Smart Desk setup with an area of 6.65 square meters may cost around 34,700 AED and a standard licensing fee of about 15,000 AED for most commercial activities. It is essential to check the latest prices to ensure you have the most current cost information.

Let Us Help Setup Your Dubai Airport Free Zone Business

Starting a company in Dubai Airport Free Zone doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming, thanks to our expert assistance. Our team will walk you through choosing an appropriate license, setting up your company successfully and smoothly. 

Our experienced professionals understand all aspects of doing business in DAFZA and can offer tailored support to ensure that your company complies with all necessary regulations while taking full advantage of all that DAFZA offers. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and learn how we can assist. 


What is Dubai Airport Free Zone?

Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) is a free trade zone located next to Dubai International Airport. Established in 1996, it has become a significant hub for businesses looking to expand their global reach due to its strategic location and extensive logistical support.

What are the benefits of starting a business in DAFZA?

Businesses in DAFZA benefit from proximity to Dubai International Airport, advanced cargo facilities, a strategic central location, diverse license options, opportunities for global networking, and a supportive environment for business growth.

What types of licenses are available in DAFZA?

DAFZA offers several license types including Trade Licenses, Service Licenses, Industrial Licenses, and General Trading Licenses, catering to a wide range of business activities.

Can I set up a branch of my existing company in DAFZA?

Yes, you can set up a Branch in DAFZA, which allows you to maintain 100% ownership and extend your parent company’s activities without additional share capital.

What is a Free Zone Company (FZCO) in DAFZA?

An FZCO is a type of limited liability company within DAFZA that can have between one to fifty shareholders, either individuals or corporate entities. This structure benefits from free zone advantages such as total profit repatriation, capital repatriation, and no currency restrictions.

What documents are required to register a company in DAFZA?

Required documents typically include a comprehensive business plan, personal bank statements from the last six months, a bank letter confirming the financial standing of shareholders, and passport copies of all shareholders. A no-objection certificate from a current local sponsor may also be necessary.

What is the cost of setting up a company in DAFZA?

Costs vary depending on the business model and specific needs. DAFZA offers several competitively priced packages, such as the Smart Desk License Package for cost-conscious businesses, and the General Trading License Package for businesses with significant trading activities.

How can I benefit from the location of DAFZA?

DAFZA’s location next to Dubai International Airport provides fast processing times, easy access for cargo movement, and efficient trade operations, making it ideal for businesses involved in international trading.

What types of business activities are permitted in DAFZA?

DAFZA supports a wide range of activities including investment and financial services, insurance and legal consulting, engineering and architectural consultancies, technical advisory services, transportation, logistics, warehousing, travel and tourism services, and more.

How can I get help setting up my business in DAFZA?

Our expert team can assist you in choosing the right license, understanding all regulatory requirements, and setting up your company smoothly and efficiently. Contact us to learn how we can help streamline your business setup in DAFZA.

Gilbert Sakr

Do you need help in business setup or looking to start a business in Dubai? Here you will find all the information and business ideas you need for starting your own company in Dubai.

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