For entrepreneurs planning to do business in the UAE, a good understanding of the region’s many free zones is essential. It will help you to negotiate your way through the requirements of setting up shop in the UAE and ensure you choose the most favourable location for your business.
The typical free zone benefits – including 0% corporation and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, 100% import and export tax exemption – make for a pretty easy sell. But while many free zones offer those benefits, each one also offers its own particular advantages, which differ slightly from others in the region. So today, in the latest instalment in our weekly series highlighting the specific benefits of individual free zones, we are going to look at Fujairah Creative City Free Zone.
Located, as the name suggests, in the emirate of Fujairah, on the east coast of the UAE, Fujairah Creative City Free Zone offers all of the aforementioned free zone benefits, along with a host of its own unique advantages. So, if you’re sold on the idea of setting up business in one of the region’s free zones and are considering your options, here are 10 reasons why Fujairah Creative City Free Zone could be the right fit.
1. Apply for several visas with flexi-desk option: One of Fujairah Creative City Free Zone’s major pulling points – particularly for first-time entrepreneurs – is that it allows business owners to apply for several visas without the need to lease physical office space. Under the free zone’s ‘Baby Business’ package, entrepreneurs only need to sign up to the flexi-desk service – offering flexible access to desk space – to be eligible for up to six visas.
2. No need to take on office space: Not only does Fujairah Creative City Free Zone allow entrepreneurs to apply for many visas without taking physical office space, it actually makes no requirement for you to take any office space at all. The free zone boasts freelancer and single owner packages, which provide entrepreneurs with a fast and easy way to get their businesses up and running, with little commitment and minimal startup and overhead costs. This makes setting up in Fujairah Creative City one of the most cost-effective options for businesses of this type.
The free zone boasts freelancer and single owner packages, which provide entrepreneurs with a fast and easy way to get their businesses up and running, with little commitment and minimal startup and overhead costs.
3. Easy incorporation: Fujairah Creative City’s low barriers to entry are another huge reason why many UAE business owners choose to set up shop here. Not only are entrepreneurs not required to put forward any share capital or provide details of shareholder and owner experience or attestation, there’s also no requirement for an annual audit, book keeping or formal business plan.
4. NOC from local sponsor not required: Another reason why Fujairah Creative City Free Zone is particularly popular with new and first-time business owners. Entrepreneurs are not required to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their current sponsor, making it possible to set up side businesses within the free zone while still employed. What’s more, freelancer and single owner licences can easily be upgraded as your business grows.
5. Open to a variety of business types: You often hear the advantages of sector-specific free zones pitted against those that are open to a wide variety of business types. In truth, both have many advantages. On the one hand, working in close quarters with other experts in your field is great for knowledge sharing and development, while working among a mix of industries is perfect for collaboration and broadening horizons. What makes Fujairah Creative City particularly noteworthy is that it combines the best of both worlds. While the free zone is specific to the more creative industries such as media, advertising and broadcasting, within that are a range subsectors, including HR, e-commerce, IT, publishing, training, consultancy and design. This not only opens the free zone to an array of different business types but also allows for the sharing of knowledge in some areas and the transfer of skills between subsectors in others.
6. E-commerce friendly: Obtaining a business licence for an e-commerce business here in the UAE can be a minefield, particularly when setting up in a free zone. Not only is Fujairah Creative City one of the few free zones that makes available such licences, it also offers one of the most cost-effective packages available.
Not only is Fujairah Creative City one of the few free zones that makes available e-commerce licences, it also offers one of the most cost-effective packages available.
7. Easy corporate bank account setup: It can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in paperwork when setting up a business anywhere in the world, and the UAE is no exception, so anything to lessen that burden is a relief. As well as the standard assistance you can expect with business registration in most of the UAE’s free zones, when setting up in Fujairah Creative City, you’ll also get help and assistance choosing and opening your corporate bank account.
8. Easy to sponsor dependents: As well as being quick and easy to get set up and get your own visa in place, it’s also straightforward for entrepreneurs in Fujairah Creative City Free Zone to sponsor family and employees for their own residence visas. While the process is relatively easy – made up of four stages: entry permit, status adjustment, medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping – it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses. They will help you make sure that before you start an application, both you (and those you’re hoping to sponsor) meet all of the entry criteria.
9. Facilities to suit businesses of all sizes: Fujairah Creative City offers just as many benefits to single owner businesses as it does to larger enterprises with teams of employees. The free zone gives businesses of all sizes access to fully furnished facilities. For companies that wish to put their own stamp on their surroundings, open plan, blank canvas style offices are also available. Freelancers and solo entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are free to use flexible desk space as and when they need it.
10. Ideal location: Finally, just as big a selling point as Fujairah Creative City’s world-class facilities is its strategic location on the UAE’s east coast. Situated just off the E89, the free zone is only 90 minutes from the Dubai business district and within easy reach of several international airports. Known as the “Jewel of the Middle East”, Fujairah is the perfect hub for business travellers and tourists alike – ideally placed to do business with the billions of potential customers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, subcontinent, Far East and European markets – as well as boasting sun-kissed beaches and majestic mountain ranges.
Known as the “Jewel of the Middle East”, Fujairah is the perfect hub for business travellers and tourists alike – ideally placed to do business with the billions of potential customers across the Middle East and North Africa region.
Setting up your free zone business
So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business in Fujairah Creative City Free Zone – what next? There are a number of steps that need to be taken, some complex, some less so. Usually the first thing to do is choose your business activity. From here you’ll need to decide on your company name, complete and file your registration paperwork with the relevant authorities, open a bank account and apply for any visas that may be required.
The specifics of this process will depend hugely on the type of licence you are applying for and the kind of business you wish to run. So before embarking on any of these steps, the first port of call should always be to a company setup expert, who will guide you through every aspect, ultimately ensuring that the entire process requires little more than a few hours of your time.