When we look at the many reasons why overseas entrepreneurs do business in the UAE, the nation’s free zones are often top of the list. Offering 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, plus 100% import and export tax exemption – little else compares in terms of business benefits anywhere in the world.
Yet these are just the headline benefits. Each individual free zone also offers many other distinct advantages to the businesses that set up within them. Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 Free Zone, for example, serves up a range of benefits specifically to companies in the publishing, media and related industries such as animation, graphic design, music production, and talent management.
Home to some of the biggest names in media and publishing including BBC, CNN, FOX, National Geographic, Sky and the Financial Times, twofour54 provides everything from office and desk space to world-class studio and production facilities to business of all sizes.
A closer look at twofour54 Free Zone
If you’re in the fields of media and publishing and looking to make tracks in this part of the world, there are few better bases than twofour54 in the heart of Abu Dhabi.
Think big or small: Although twofour54 is home to some of the world’s biggest names in media and publishing, that’s not to say you can’t start small. For every broadcasting behemoth that calls the free zone home, there is a plucky startup – twofour54 is even open to freelancers.
Flexible office setup: A free zone that caters to some of the biggest in the business alongside individuals must also provide flexible office setups to meet the needs of all – and twofour54 certainly does. As well as vast studio lots and multi-million-dollar production facilities which can be leased, the free zone also allows entrepreneurs to make use of desk space and equipment on a flexible basis as required.
Straightforward setup: Whether you are a company of one or a multi-national corporation, setting up in twofour54 is easy. To establish a business, simply apply for your licence, provide some standard documentation – shareholder passport copies, business plan and the like – and you can be up and running in a matter of weeks. If you wish to set up as a freelancer, you’ll also require a letter of recommendation from a business already established in the free zone.
Multiple visa options: When it comes to visas, twofour54 once again caters for businesses of all sizes. If you’re working alone, simply apply for your own visa, no problem. For larger organisations, the process is just as easy – as there is no upper limit on the number of visas. However, this is capped depending on the size of your premises, the general rule of thumb being one visa per 100 sq ft of office space.
Sponsor dependants for their visas: As well as applying for plenty of visas for your employees, it’s also very straightforward to sponsor your dependants for their visa applications as well. Whether you require a visa for a spouse, child, maid or driver, the process is four straightforward stages: entry permit, status adjustment, a medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping. Given this is such an important procedure it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses – 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: The good news is that twofour54 also takes a liberal approach to the number of shareholders allowed when establishing your business. There appears to be no upper limit on the amount of shareholders permitted – perhaps understandable given the size of some of the organisations that call the free zone home. As with most free zones, shareholders can be either individuals, corporate entities, or a combination of the two.
The good news is that twofour54 also takes a liberal approach to the number of shareholders allowed when establishing your business.
Easy to arrange your corporate bank account: Once you’ve received your licence and established your business in twofour54, you’re ready to set up your corporate bank account. The application process is quick and simple. Free zone staff can advise on the best bank to suit your needs – and can even arrange meetings in-branch for you. A company formation specialist can also provide the same service – or alternatively, you’re welcome to approach any local or international bank on your own.
Get in the zone: So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business in twofour54 – 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.