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Jebel Ali Free Zone

Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) is the oldest UAE free zone, established in 1985 in Dubai. In over 3 decades, Jebel Ali has grown from 19 companies in the year of its incorporation to over 7,600 today. Almost 100 Global Fortune 500 companies are registered here.

Being the world’s largest free zone, Jebel Ali is home to over 2,700 large tenants and some 5,000 SME tenants, with over 27.87 million square metres of occupied space, employing more than 140,000 people in total. The free zone has been attracting investments from major multinational companies, including Sony, Toshiba, Siemens and Unilever.

Advantages

Jebel Ali Free Zone

Excellent infrastructure, proximity to the international airport and the biggest sea port in the Middle East make Jebel Ali the most suitable place for international trade. The free zone is situated in Dubai and is also accessible via Dubai Metro.

Companies registered in this free zone (along with three other giants, DAFZADMCC and DIFC) have a unique right to operate on the local UAE market alongside with local companies, and, at the same time, are tax exempt* like any other free zone company. However, a separate license from Dubai Economic Department (DED) is required which is easy to obtain.

* From 2019, all entities operating in the mainland (local market) are liable to pay 5% VAT. Free zone companies operating only outside of the UAE, remain tax exempt.

Disadvantages 

  • Jebel Ali is not only one of the most reputable free zones, but also one with the highest rental prices.
  • Minimum registered capital which must be paid in during the incorporation is AED 1 m (US$ 272,290) for FZEs (companies with one shareholder) and AED 500,000 (US$ 136,145) for FZCOs (companies with multiple shareholders).
  • Annual audit is required even for offshore companies.
  • 3 to 5 weeks should be planned for FZE or FZCO incorporation and acquisition of a license.
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