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Company Formation Guide for the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)

JAFZA Company Setup
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This article highlights how you can incorporate a company via the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Free Zone that Started it All

In 1985, Jebel Ali Free Zone opened as the UAE’s and GCC’s first free zone and over the years, this would become the template which other free zones would follow. By some estimates, this free zone is now responsible for as much as 30% of the GDP of Dubai. The growth and success of the free zone have been driven by the desire of the authorities to keep with the latest technological changes and evolving needs of existing and future clients.

Benefits of Incorporating in JAFZA

JAFZA’s success has been studied by the international and local business community in detail. It was JAFZA’s global success which established a blueprint from which other free zones have since leveraged to their advantage.

Located alongside the GCC’s largest deep seaport of Jebel Ali, JAFZA facilitates trade worth nearly $100 billion a year and is home to over 7500 companies, including 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. If you plan to engage in import and export of goods, no free zone in the UAE offers a greater choice in both local and international logistics suppliers.

JAFZA’s position as a leader in global logistics was recognized when it was named the Global Free Zone of the Year for Large Tenants at the fDi Middle East Free Zones of the Year Awards in 2019. JAFZA was chosen from over 85 global free zones for the award.

Jebel Ali Port has been named “Best Seaport in the Middle East” for 21 consecutive years by Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards. The development of the nearby Al Maktoum International Airport, which is scheduled to become one of the largest airports on Earth, will further enhance its ability to connect to nearly every market across the globe.

The free zone offers state of the art warehousing, offices, retail locations, hotels, and manufacturing facilities. It is also unique amongst other free zones. Because it hosts extensive worker housing facilities, therefore giving companies the ability to host workers in proximity to their facilities.

Types of Licenses Offered by JAFZA

Historically, a company was required to have a minimum share capital of between half a million to a million dirhams which acted as a disincentive for those who didn’t have access to such funds. This has changed under current regulations as they do not prescribe a minimum share capital but require that a company must have a share capital that is enough for the activities for which it is licensed.

Below Are the Types of Licenses Issued by JAFZA:

  • National Industrial License: a license for manufacturing companies with at least 51 percent GCC ownership. This license allows the holder the same status as a local or GCC entity within the UAE.
  • Innovation License: a license specifically for companies working on the development and invention of new products
  • E-Commerce License: a license that permits for the trading of goods via the internet
  • Commercial Trading License: a license that allows the trading of a specific range of products.
  • Service License: a license that permits a license holder to offer professional services.
  • General Trading License: under this license, a company can trade a wide range of commodities. Some restrictions apply.
  • Industrial License: a license that allows for production, re-production, manufacture, packaging, and export of products.

Documents Required to Incorporate at JAFZA

  • Shareholder resolution calling for:
    • Establishment of a company in JAFZA
    • Details of share and share capital
    • Appointment of Director/s, Secretary, Manager
    • Power of attorney (POA)
  • Founders curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Memorandum & Articles of Association of the company.
  • Specimen signatures of the appointed director(s), manager, secretary, & POA holder.
  • Passport copy of appointed director(s), manager, secretary, & POA holder.
  • If a company, instead of an individual holds the shares, the company documentation needs to be notarized and attested. If a foreign company is the parent company, you will need to have the company documents legally translated to Arabic and then attested by the home government, UAE Embassy and UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 Recommended: Company Formation Guide for the International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) 

Consultants Can Simplify the Process

The typical JAFZA client is usually a foreign corporate entity or a group of ex-pat investors with a complex shareholding structure. By hiring a company formation consultant who is familiar with these types of structures, you can make considerable savings in terms of time and money. If you submit all the correct documentation, company incorporation can be completed in approximately six weeks. Unfortunately, if any mistakes are made, the process can drag out for a significantly longer time. When time-sensitive business deals or projects are on the line, turn to the professionals you can rely on.

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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