If you’re considering starting a business in the UAE, one of the first tasks on your checklist should be to get familiar with the country’s free zones.
Spread throughout the Emirates, free zones offer entrepreneurs a range of benefits that cannot be found elsewhere.
Among these benefits are 0% personal and corporate income tax and 100% exemption from customs tax. Plus, unlike in many other countries, as the owner of a UAE free zone business, you’re able to repatriate all invested capital and profits. There are also no foreign exchange controls or currency restrictions.
Delve a little deeper into the specifics of each individual free zone and you’ll see that each offers its own unique set of advantages.
Take Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) for example. The free zone offers a broad range of business support services, startup incubation, and venture capital funding schemes.
DSO also features state-of-the art residences, office and warehouse space, along with industrial and commercial areas. Its location also takes some beating, just a short drive to central Dubai and within easy reach of the emirate’s air and seaports.
Doing business in Dubai Silicon Oasis
DSO falls under the umbrella of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), which also includes other developments such as Silicon Park. For this reason, it is often asked: is Dubai Silicon Oasis a free zone? The answer is yes, DSO is a standalone free zone. As such, it offers all of the benefits you would expect of such a zone, and more.
Doing business here is easy. DSO issues three types of license:
- Service Licence
This allows the registered entity to carry out only specified services.
- Trade Licence
This allows the registered entity to practice activities which are related to import, export, and distribution of items and goods as specified in the licence.
- Industrial Licence
This allows the registered entity to import raw material, manufacture, and process, assemble, package and export the finished product.
As well as world-class services and welcoming entry criteria, DSO also offers a host of business services to its inhabitants, including assistance with visa, customs clearance, and municipal services such as building permits and No Objection Certificates (NOC).
DSO clients also benefit from the free zone’s onsite partnerships with government authorities and private corporations including Emirates Post, Etisalat, the Dubai Health Authority, and the CID.
Dubai Silicon Oasis activities
DSO positions itself as the emirate’s hi-tech ecosystem. It is the only technology park in the region that provides space for living, working, and leisure time.
However, while it is fair to say technology is a focus at DSO, the free zone also opens its doors to many other industries. Currently, DSO is open to every business activity listed by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). That’s over 2,000 permitted Dubai Silicon Oasis business activities.
Dubai Silicon Oasis company setup cost
As the free zone is open to so many company types of different sizes, it can be difficult to determine a clear cut Dubai Silicon Oasis company setup cost. However, costs here are fairly comparable to many other free zones in the region.
DSO offers a range of office space options along with warehousing and land for development, all of which can have a huge bearing on price. What’s for certain, however, is that whether you are going it alone or with hundreds of employees, there is likely to be a DSO package that suits your needs and your budget.
Dubai Silicon Oasis setup process
The process for setting up in the jurisdiction of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority comprises six steps:
1. Submit application form
At this stage, you will also be required to register on DSOA’s customer portal.
2. DSOA documents pre-approval
Subject to document review (activity and security check) initial approval and invoices are issued.
3. Fee payment and legal document submission
You are required to pay related fees and submission of legal documents.
4. DSOA issue e-agreement
This includes the lease agreement and a digital agreement, which will be sent to your registered email.
5. Sign e-agreement and share capital letter is applicable for (FZE/FZCO only)
You will be required to sign a lease agreement and return that to DSOA along with a bank share capital letter.
6. E-licence is issued
E-registration and e-licence are then issued.
In most cases, licenses are issued with one week. However, omissions or errors in your application can lead to delays. For this reason, it is a good idea to work with a company formation expert who can manage every aspect of your application for you.
DSO company formation made easy
The exact steps required to start your company in DSO will largely depend on the nature of your business activities and your chosen business setup. In most cases, however, as well as the documentation listed above, you’ll also be required to provide:
- Application form
- Letter of intent
- Passport copy/copies
- NOC for UAE residents only
- Bank statement/reference letter or audited financial report
- Company business plan
In the majority of cases, the DSO company formation process takes only seven to ten days, provided that your application is complete and correct. As previously mentioned, it is vitally important to keep in mind that errors in your application can lead to delays or even rejection.
That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as CREATIVE ZONE when forming a new business anywhere in the UAE. We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
Our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin, making UAE company formation easy.