Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates (the most populous one being Dubai). Abu Dhabi is the largest of the 7 emirates of the UAE, with a coastline stretching over 700 km. Free zones in Abu Dhabi have been established with a view to boost the economy and promote foreign investment, and are ideal for setting up companies in logistics, media and manufacturing sectors.
Free Zones in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone
Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (AFZA), developed by Skycity, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC)
Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad) Free Zone
Khalifa Industrial Zone, popularly known as Kizad, is located midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Masdar City Free Zone
Masdar City, a global hub for clean technologies and renewable energy, is a 6 sq.
List of Free Zones in Abu Dhabi
There are 4 free zones in Abu Dhabi:
- Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone: Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (AFZA), developed by Skycity, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), extends over 12 sq. km near Abu Dhabi International Airport. It is the go-go business destination for aviation, engineering, electronics, logistics & cargo, and pharmaceutical firms. AFZA is especially suited to these industries because of its nearness to the FLC Air Cargo Terminal and the Abu Dhabi Cargo Village, its operational hours (24), and its on-site customs inspection.
- Masdar City: Masdar City, a global hub for clean technologies and renewable energy, is a 6 sq. km free zone located beside Abu Dhabi International Airport. It was established in 2006 with the aim of fostering sustainable economic development and related research. Masdar City offers a business-friendly atmosphere for companies looking to venture into the field of clean technology, while providing all the benefits typically associated with a free zone.
- Twofour54: twofour54, set up by the Media Zone Authority (MZA,) is a free zone whose offices and facilities are located at Khalifa Park and Musaffah in Abu Dhabi. Its name derives from the coordinates of Abu Dhabi – 24 degree north by 54 degree east. twofour54 is a media and entertainment hub known for its production facilities, talent breeding programs and business support services for media companies.
- Khalifa Industrial Zone: Khalifa Industrial Zone, popularly known as Kizad, is located midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is an industrial zone specializing in the licensing of industrial projects and promotion of industrial exports.
Abu Dhabi Free Zone – Legal Entities
A corporate or individual entity may register one’s company in a free zone in Abu Dhabi through one of the following legal entity types:
- Free Zone Establishment (for a company with a single shareholder)
- Free Zone Company (for a company with 2-5 shareholders)
- Branch Office of a Foreign Company (where the applicant is a foreign national)
- Branch Office of a Local Company (where the applicant is a UAE national)
Business Setup Process in Abu Dhabi Free Zone
For setting up a company in a free zone in Abu Dhabi, the following steps are to be undertaken:
- Determining the legal business structure suitable to one’s business, based on the type of activity to be performed
- Consulting with a local attorney to become aware of one’s rights and duties on registering an organization in Abu Dhabi
- Opening a bank account for the company in a local bank
- Rounding up the legal documentation and company registration
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