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Benefits of a Free Zone Visa in Dubai

Dubai Free Zone Visa
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Knowing the benefits of a free zone visa can help you make decisions. This article will highlight the benefits of getting a free zone visa in Dubai.

Understanding the Visa System in Dubai

Residence visas in Dubai come in various forms. A free zone visa is processed by one of the various free zones in the Emirate of Dubai. These special economic zones are designed to boost the economy by attracting international investors. Free zones are geographic regions under a special authority where goods may be imported, manufactured, or exported and are not subject to customs duty and local partnership rules.

Visas in free zones are processed by the regulatory body in charge of the jurisdiction in conjunction with the immigration authorities. Instead of companies going to the immigration authorities and local labour department, the free zone completes all the formalities. You can think of it as a single-window operation created to reduce red tape for international investors.

Companies outside free zones, also known as “mainland companies,” must apply for a visa via the immigration department and obtain a labour card for their staff. A “labour card,” also known as a work permit, is an ID that identifies where a person works.

Key Differences Between Dubai Free Zone Visas and Mainland Visas

Residence visas issued by free zones are valid for three years, while visas issued for mainland companies are valid for only two. Having a three-year visa can result in cost savings for employers as it reduces the interval in which visa renewal medical exams are conducted.

Mainland companies receive visa allocations solely based on the size of their business premises. The bigger the business site, the more visa allocations they receive. As far as free zones, companies can receive visa allocations even if they have a virtual office or Flexi-desk, which can yield considerable savings.

From an employee perspective, free zone visas are considered more favourable because they are not subject to employment bans. For visas issued by mainland companies, employers can limit an employee’s ability to change employers without their permission. Whereas free zone employers cannot place the same type of restrictions on their sponsored employees, thus giving their staff the ability to switch to another employer at their discretion.

The free zone administration handles labour disputes within free zones, whereas mainland company staff must go through the Ministry of Labour. Since free zone authorities deal with fewer disputes, outcomes tend to be decided faster.

Free Zone Visa or Mainland Visa? Which UAE Visa is the Right Option for You?

If you are an employer, the type of business and location can play a significant role in deciding which visa is right for you. Mainland companies provide greater flexibility in terms of location, but you may need a local sponsor for the business. Free zone companies give you 100% ownership and occupy some of the most popular areas in the city.

Free zone companies can be looked upon more favourably by employees because they can’t limit the ability to change jobs if something better comes along through restrictive bans. But, equally, having a visa with a longer validity can create a better sense of certainty and stability for employees.

Are You Still Feeling Conflicted? Let Our Experts Help You Decide

We can help you decide where to incorporate and how to launch your business successfully. We will advise you on the best jurisdiction to incorporate based on your needs and desires. Find out how we helped launch hundreds of companies by scheduling a free consultation with our team!

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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