Dubai Maritime City (DMCA) Free Zone

Since the vast majority of global trade depends on sea trade, Dubai has also paved the way for the same. 

The emirate has a separate free zone dedicated fully to maritime activities. 

DMCA (Dubai Maritime City Authority) actively participates in industry initiatives that promote the development of a safe investment environment, transforming it into a state-of-the-art global marine center. 

Furthermore, it continuously improves its tertiary services, logistics, and infrastructure to benefit the marine sector. 

Dubai Maritime City Authority

 DMC is committed to abiding by international marine rules while forming strategic alliances with various governmental organizations and commercial firms to promote a safe and forward-thinking maritime sector.

DMCA is a remarkably integrated cluster that integrates infrastructure, industry, and regulation to enhance the growth of the marine sector. Additionally, it is the only specialized maritime cluster in the UAE and the GCC that provides all the services the marine sector requires, such as marine suppliers, engineering and technical know-how, ship maintenance, and yacht building, less than one roof. 

The main governing body of DMC, the Dubai Marine City Authority (DMCA), was established in 2007 to develop, promote, and oversee maritime activity.

DMCA is a multipurpose free zone whose structure is made up of 6 strategic locations:

1. Industrial Precinct

A hub for ship repair facilities, yacht repair, manufacturing, yacht charter, and workshop units.

2. Dubai Maritime City Campus

A center for universities relating to marine studies.

3. The Maritime Centre

The core of the free zone serves as an international hub for maritime business.

4. Harbor Office

Office space for maritime business.

5. Marina District

A place for entertainment and other recreational activities.

6. Harbor Residence

A zone for residential facilities.

Benefits of Business Setup in DMCA Free Zone

The advantages of DMCA free zone business setup are:

  • Provision of 100% foreign ownership
  • No restriction on repatriation of capital or profits
  • Total tax exemption on corporate and personal income
  • Exemption from all import and export duties
  • Availability of qualified professionals, with easy recruitment procedures
  • Cost-effective and abundant energy
  • Access to an educated, multicultural workforce
  • Excellent corporate infrastructure
  • Ample financial incentives
  • Companies can operate 24/7 in the free zone
  • Business-friendly climate and excellent logistics matrices
  • Supportive administration process
  • Customers inspection can be done on-site

Types of Legal Entities in DMCA

DMCA offers the following legal entities for business:

1. Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

An FZE is allowed to start a business with a single shareholder.

2. Free Zone Company (FZC)

Under an FZC, a maximum of 5 shareholders are allowed.

3. Branch Office

A branch office is legally dependent on its parent company, so it is allowed to start a branch office with the name of its parent company.

Available License in DMCA 

Dubai Maritime City Authority provides several types of business licenses, which are as follows:

1. Commercial License

A company or individual willing to carry out general maritime activities must obtain a commercial license from the authority.

2. Maritime Commercial License

Companies carrying out maritime activities and individuals engaged in recreational activities in Dubai waters are entitled to commercial marine licenses.

3. Marine Craft Crew License

This type of license is given to foreign and local companies to build and use watercraft following international standards.

4. Maritime Operation Services License

The holder of this license is allowed to engage in operating waste management in seawaters.

5. Maritime Education and Research License

A maritime education and research license is for companies in the field of education and research in maritime affairs.

How to Set up a Business in DMCA Free Zone

To set up business in Dubai Maritime City, a company or an individual requires following the procedure set by the DMCA:

1. Get the Initial Approval

Fill out the business application form for primary approval from the government authority. 

2. Register the Company

In the next step, register your company by submitting registration proof.

3. Submit the Documents

Next, submit all the documents required for your business activity, along with the personal data sheet of the shareholders. 

4. Pay the Required Fee

Once you submit all the documents, it is time to pay the prescribed fee.

5. Collect the License

In the last step, you can apply for a business license. 

Documents needed for Company formation in DMCA

The documents needed for company formation are as follows: 

For a New Company Setup

  • Initial approval for the activities
  • Personal data sheet of each shareholder and manager
  • Copies of résumé and passport of the manager and shareholders
  • Lease agreement documents [it is compulsory to have a physical business/office address in the country for company formation in UAE.
  • Attested and notarized Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) from the UAE Embassy at the place of origin
  • A lease document stating a suitable minimum office space for your business
  • Notarized and attested Power of Attorney appointing a legal advisor to act on your and shareholders’ behalf
  • Certificate of registration or incorporation and business license of your existing company must be attested and notarized by the UAE Embassy (for corporates)
  • Proof of the registered address of your company

For a Branch Setup

  • Copy of passport and résumé of the manager and shareholders [the manager must be a university degree holder]
  • Application for initial approval
  • Initial approval sheet for the business activities performed by each shareholder and manager
  • Attested and notarized Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) of your existing main branch at the place of origin
  • Trade name reservation for the new business
  • Agreement of lease for the new branch [it is compulsory to have a physical office space in UAE with a minimum space of 60 square meters]
  • Certificate of registration or license of your existing company, duly attested and notarized by the UE authority
  • Attested and notarized Power of Attorney appointing a legal representative acting on behalf of your shareholders
  • Board of resolution of your existing company directors, showing interest in opening a new branch (only for corporate shareholders)
  • Company brochure of your main branch (applicable for corporate shareholders).

Our Role

Business Setup Worldwide offers professional advice on launching a new business anywhere around the globe. We assist our customers in finding new business prospects, comprehending legal processes, establishing contacts with local government officials, and choosing the best kind of free zone to fit their particular company model. In addition, when selecting your ideal company in DMC, we can assist you in lowering your business responsibility. 

We have the tools and know-how to take care of every aspect of your business setup locally. Our staff has an in-depth understanding of local affairs, so they can assist you with paperwork/documentation formalities, company plan strategy, and structure evaluation without causing any issues. Contact us if you're considering launching a business in Dubai Maritime City.


1. For how many years does tax is exempted for ex-pats in DMCA?

50 years.

2. What needs to be done when tax is due for foreign investors?

The existence of a double taxation agreement between the UAE and their home countries must be confirmed.

3. What does a marine business license entail?

Companies that conduct naval operations and individuals that enjoy leisure activities on Dubai's waters must possess maritime commercial permits.