The UAE’s free zones are perhaps the number one topic I’m asked about by budding entrepreneurs. And with good reason. The country’s free zones have global appeal, and any foreign entrepreneur looking to set up in the Emirates should explore them as an option.
Just a quick scan of the headline free zone benefits makes it pretty clear why they are so popular: zero corporation and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption – these are just some of the major advantages they offer.
But there’s more to it than that.
Because while all the UAE’s free zones may boast these headline-grabbing features, that’s not to say they are all the same. Each free zone in the Emirates offers its own unique range of benefits that can’t be found elsewhere. Case in point: Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP).
Dubai Knowledge Park differs from other free zones (both in the UAE and beyond) as it is the world’s only free zone dedicated to human resource management and learning excellence. Located adjacent to Palm Jumeirah, DKP is home to hundreds of businesses including NGOs, HR management and consultancy firms and testing centres.
Dubai Knowledge Park differs from other free zones (both in the UAE and beyond) as it is the world’s only free zone dedicated to human resource management and learning excellence.
Dubai Knowledge Park company setup
So let’s take a look at the details to find out whether Dubai Knowledge Park company setup is right for you and your business.
Get a visa with flexi-desk: While Dubai Knowledge Park may be home to many large and multinational businesses, it is also particularly popular with smaller firms and solo entrepreneurs. One of the main reasons for this is that it allows business owners to apply for a visa with its flexi-desk package. DKP’s flexi-desk is perfect for entrepreneurs who don’t wish to commit to permanent physical office space but still require the use of office equipment and facilities such as meeting room hire, on an ad-hoc basis.
Ideal for freelancers: Another factor that makes DKP stand out is that it issues freelance permits – unlike many free zones in the UAE. Freelance permits allow you to establish yourself as a one-person company, trading as an individual but doing business in your own name. As with the flexi-desk package, freelancers have access to DKP’s state-of-the-art business facilities including hot desks and equipment such as phones, printers and computers if needed.
Affordable, straightforward setup: Whether you are establishing a Free Zone LLC, opening a branch of an existing business, or registering as a freelancer, the Dubai Knowledge Park company setup process is easy. Simply submit your application online and provide the documents requested – these will include financial papers along with references, shareholder passports, CVs, and more – some can simply be originals, others must be notarised. Once your application is approved you pay the setup fee – starting at around AED 15,000 – before visiting the free zone to sign and collect your licence documents.
Open to a wide variety of business types: Although DKP is primarily focused on HR management, it also welcomes a wide range of business activities. As well as human resource management (HRM), consultancy, training and personal development companies, the free zone is also home to NGOs, academic service providers, assessment and testing centres and numerous freelancers. Outside of HR, DKP also accepts business in the following sectors: professional development, computer training, research and development, executive search, language training and many more.
As well as human resource management (HRM), consultancy, training and personal development companies, the free zone is also home to NGOs, academic service providers, assessment and testing centres and numerous freelancers.
Assistance with opening your corporate bank account: When setting up a business there are a million and one things filling up your to-do list. Fortunately, Dubai Knowledge Park staff are on hand to help lessen the load. As well as advising you on the most appropriate bank to suit your needs, DKP will set up meetings with your chosen financial institutions should you so wish.
Easy to sponsor dependants: Whether applying for yourself or your dependants, obtaining a visa through Dubai Knowledge Park is usually very straightforward. The application process generally consists of four simple steps: entry permit, status adjustment, medical fitness test, and finally, Emirates ID registration and visa stamping. As this is such an important stage in your company setup, it’s a good idea to get advice from a UAE company formation specialist to ensure that before starting an application, both you and those you are hoping to sponsor meet the entry criteria.
Set up with multiple shareholders: Yet another reason why Dubai Knowledge Park is particularly popular with large corporations is that it allows businesses to set up with more than one shareholder. Companies setting up in DKP are allowed multiple shareholders – both individuals and corporates.
In-house support and guidance: DKP prides itself on its ability to help companies grow and increase market share. It does this, in part, through its in-house support and guidance programmes. The free zone’s dedicated marketing and development teams can assist with organising events and conferences and put businesses that may require each other’s services in touch with one another.
The free zone’s dedicated marketing and development teams can assist with organising events and conferences and put businesses that may require each other’s services in touch with one another.
Location, location, location: Finally, the free zone’s strategic location is a major factor in its popularity. Situated opposite the stunning Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Knowledge Park is within easy reach of several transport terminals and points of interest. Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai are just 15 minutes away via the adjacent Sheikh Zayed Road. DKP is also just a short walk from the nearest Metro stop and only a 20-minute drive from Dubai International Airport.
Setting up a UAE free zone company
So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business in Dubai Knowledge Park – what next? There are a number of steps that need to be undertaken, some complex, some less so. The first thing to do is choose your business activity. From here you can 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.
However, the specifics of this process will depend largely on the type of licence you are applying for and the kind of business you wish to run. That’s why before starting any of these steps, the first port of call should always be to a company setup expert who will guide you through every part of the application, ultimately ensuring the entire process requires little more than a few hours of your time.