International Humanitarian City Free Zone

International Humanitarian City is the Middle East’s largest and only non-profit, independent free-zone authority mandated to operate and facilitate the international humanitarian aid.

The International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai was founded in 2003 by His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, through the merger of Dubai Aid City (DAC) and Dubai Humanitarian City (DHC). IHC is the Middle East’s largest and only non-profit, independent free-zone authority mandated to operate and facilitate the international humanitarian aid. The International Humanitarian City is purpose built to oversee the conduct of humanitarian assistance worldwide, the city incorporates around 70 members comprising UN organizations, intergovernmental organizations and multiple Non-Governmental Entities by delivering them extensive facilities in logistics, connectivity, and storage spaces.

IHC Free Zone at a Glance

The IHC is among the 28 entities that make up the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the largest development foundation in the Middle East, The IHC leverages the Dubai’s infrastructure, cutting-edge logistics, positive frame works, resource integration and innovation at work empowering the aid agencies to operate and reach the regions of crisis and alleviate the suffering from famine, natural disaster, civil war, human rights, poverty and emergency situations. IHC is a non-governmental, independent authority which is non-religious, non-political and non-profit organization that primarily exists to support humanitarian organizations and agencies in their mission to deliver assistance to people in distress.

Entities Operating in IHC Free Zone

  • Commercial Entities
  • Economic Development Agencies
  • Logistics Services
  • Educational Organizations
  • Research Centers
  • Media Offices
  • United Nations Agencies
  • Non-Governmental Organizations

Benefits of Setting Up an Organization in IHC

  • World-class infrastructure
  • Minimal red tape policies
  • Support from governmental organizations
  • Strategic geographical location
  • Stockroom complex that includes cold storage for emergency food materials and medical supplies
  • Total repatriation of capital and profits
  • 100% free transfer of funds
  • 100% exemption of import and export duties
  • Complete foreign ownership

Facilities in IHC Free Zone

  • Office spaces
  • Warehousing facilities
  • Auditorium and cafeteria
  • Meeting and training rooms
  • Business and training facilities
  • Various services offered by IHC to members
  • Dedicated United Nations building
  • Sea and Airlift logistics capabilities

Setting Up a Business in IHC

With a member centric model IHC plays pivotal-role in facilitating the first response to crisis at global level with efficiency and extensive support. Dubai’s strategic location and excellent infrastructure makes it a hub for logistics offering various modes of transport and value-added services which encourages intern-governmental, and commercial organizations. International Humanitarian City in Dubai offers an innovative approach to support humanitarian response through its friendly policies, medical facilities, warehousing and close-knit network of subsidiaries, partners in private sector, local community, and government.

Eligibility to Apply for a License

The 2 main criteria for obtaining a license as set by the International Humanitarian Free Zone Authority are:

  1. It must be Non-Governmental, Governmental, Company, or non-profit organization which is registered and incorporated in UAE or other country
  2. It must be a commercial company incorporated pursuant to the “International Humanitarian City Commercial Companies Regulations”

1. Fill the Application

The organization interested in acquiring a license must fill and submit the required documents to the International Humanitarian City Authorities.

2. Lease Agreement

The organization must apply and obtain a valid lease agreement from the IHC authorities stating their purpose.

3. Naming the organization within required criteria

The naming of the organization must be made by following the rules and regulations set by the authority

4. Check with all the terms and conditions after acquiring license

  • Terms of license (valid for 2 years)
  • Appointment of manager (principal representative)
  • Nationality of the Organization (branch of commercial entity)
  • Local address (free zone address)

Why Set Up Your Company in International Humanitarian City?

Presently, IHC is the most-notable and largest pivotal center for handling global crisis management. With the growing demand for international aid and need for additional warehousing, medical and logistics support. In 2011, IHC tripled its facility and expanded its additional area by 300,000 sq. meters. Moving closer to the strategic locations 18 km from Al Maktoum Airport which is the Middle East’s largest air cargo operations center with outstanding airlift capabilities, 21 km to Jebel Ali Port the largest man-made port in the world, giving the member and tenants the exclusive ability to move mission critical shipments from sea to air in a short-time as little as 10 minutes. IHC has organized, delivered and supported some of the worst humanitarian crisis in the past 10 years.

Remarkable Operations Carried Out by International Humanitarian City

Among other crises and calamities, the IHC has extended a helping hand to cope with the following eventualities:

  • Wars in Gaza
  • Haiti Earthquake in 2010
  • Nepal Earthquake
  • Cyclone Pam
  • Ebola epidemic in West Africa
  • Syrian Refugee Crisis

Emergency Response in 2017

  • 60+ airlifts to danger & crisis zones around the world
  • 3 sea shipments
  • 3893-million-ton Cargo dispatches
  • $6.3 million transport cost
  • $18 million worth of relief items
  • 25 countries reached
  • 6 members served

The IHC also allows its members and aid agencies to carry-out fund raising activities in UAE with the partnership and support of the city to obtain government approvals. Setting up an operational base in IHC expands your organization’s global reach in extending a helping hand to people in crisis in any part of the world thereby improving the public image and gives positive outlook on the organization. Major organizations operating in IHC UN Response Depot are UNHCR, WFP, the Red Crescent, Red Cross, OCHA, UNICEF, UN University, UNDP, UNDSS, WHO, and World Vision. Our advisors are well versed with the legal framework and can make the incorporation process hassle-free. Contact us today – we’d happy to help.