Cost to Form & Renew a Tax-Free Company in Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA)

Discover the financial process for starting and renewing a tax-free company in Dubai Airport Freezone

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You’re an entrepreneur with an eye for opportunity, and where else to look than Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA). Plopped smack dab in one of the world’s busiest airports, DAFZA offers a buffet of benefits for businesses. We’re talking serious advantages here—like zero personal income tax. Yes, you heard that right! But you’re probably wondering about the DAFZA cost to get in on this action. Buckle up, FZBuddy will slice and dice the numbers.

Advantages of Setting Up in DAFZA 

Let’s kick it off with why you should even consider setting up shop here. Strategic location? Check. The Dubai Airport Free Zone is practically attached to Dubai International Airport. World-class infrastructure? Double-check. From dedicated logistics centers to 24-hour customer service, DAFZA is not just another freezone. It’s a competitive, investment-friendly business environment that lets you grow without the red tape. The growth of business sectors here isn’t accidental; it’s architected for success.

Types of Companies in DAFZA 

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the types of companies you can set up in the Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA). Whether you’re a foreign investor or a local tycoon, DAFZA offers a smorgasbord of options to fit your business needs.

  • Branch Office: Ideal for foreign companies looking to extend their operations. Allows for full foreign ownership and streamlined repatriation of capital.
  • Limited Liability Company (FZE FZ-LLC): Requires a minimum share capital and can involve corporate shareholders. Good for those seeking flexible ownership rights.
  • Free-Zone Company (FZCO): Similar to an LLC, but allows for multiple shareholders, whether they are individual investors, corporate entities, or a mix of both.
  • Single Shareholder Company: Suited for individual or corporate investors looking to operate as a solitary entity. Minimal capital requirement and tax perks apply.
  • Service License Companies: Perfect for service activities, this type lets you offer specific services under a defined license structure. Good for consultants and service-based industries.
  • Trading License Companies: Ideal for trading activity, whether it’s food stuff trading or general trading. You’ll need to abide by the corporate structure mandated by DAFZA.
  • Industrial License Companies: If industrial activity is your jam, this is your go-to option. Comes with terms for direct investment, and you’ll need to provide annual audit reports.
  • E-Commerce License Companies: Great for tapping into the digital market. Compliance solutions and financial reports will be a regular part of your life.

Read more: How to Start a Company in Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) from Home (2023 Guide)

Initial Setup Costs 

Cash, moolah, capital—whatever you call it, you need it. DAFZA isn’t a charity; it’s a business hub. So, what’s the price tag? First off, registration fees. These aren’t pocket change, so budget wisely. Next, license type. Are you trading, offering a service, or launching an industrial activity? Your business activity dictates your license—Trading License, Industrial License, or Service License.

Office space is another deal altogether. From flexi desk options to dedicated office spaces, rents can be as varied as your taste in Netflix shows. And let’s not forget staff visa fees and the initial approval you need from the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA). All these elements contribute to your business setup cost, which varies based on, well, a ton of factors.

The whole ensemble will set you back but consider it an investment in a business-friendly environment. Your exact cost will depend on your company structure, types of licenses, and yes, how well you negotiate. A business setup consultant might just be your new best friend.

Annual Renewal Costs 

Ah, the bill for Year Two and beyond—a recurring thorn in your side. Don’t think you can just set up shop in Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) and let the good times roll indefinitely. License renewal fees are as real as the sand in the desert. So, let’s talk turkey.

First up, the terms of license renewal. The license type you selected—be it a Trading License, Industrial License, or Service License—comes with an annual fee. But you knew that, didn’t you? Then there are employee visas. Renewing these babies isn’t free. The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) needs assurance that you’re not running a one-man circus.

What about staff visa fees? Oh, they exist. And they’re not part of the all-inclusive package. Your business license fees will also need a yearly refresh, courtesy of the relevant government authorities.

Don’t forget the external approvals and late renewal fines. Miss a deadline and you’ll be hit with fines faster than you can say “Oops!” Get those financial statements and audit reports ready, so you don’t find yourself in a legal pickle.

Hidden Costs You Should Be Aware Of 

Now that we’ve got renewal out of the way, let’s talk about things that nobody tells you. Hidden costs, the Voldemort of business costs. Beware, folks.

A Flexi Desk is charmingly convenient, but what if you need dedicated office space down the line? The office rent will skyrocket. Add to that parking space fees, because who wants to walk a mile in the Dubai heat?

Then there’s the Original Bank Reference Letter and Corporate Documents—yes, they’re a thing. You may also encounter additional costs for food training, accessory training, and other compliance solutions. These aren’t listed under the “standard” business setup cost, but they exist in the shadows of your business plan.

Customs duties, import duties, and co-working space fees are other ghoulish surprises. Keep an eye on these as they creep into your bank statements.

Also read: List of Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) Licensing Options: Choose the Right License for Business

Cost-Optimization Tips

You’re in this to make money, not toss it into a bottomless pit. So let’s be smart about spending. First, do you really need a prime office location? DAFZA offers a wide range of options for office space. Compare rates and negotiate like your business growth depends on it—because it does.

Consider consulting with expert business consultants before setting up. They can offer valuable insights into the flexibility in business setup and help you avoid pitfalls. Also, choose your license type wisely. Remember, an E-Commerce License is different from an Industrial License. Get the one that actually aligns with your business activity.

Have you checked out freelance permits? If you’re still in the economic stage of figuring stuff out, this could be your golden ticket to a leaner budget.


So, there you have it. Setting up and maintaining your enterprise in DAFZA isn’t a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be a trek through quicksand either. Between registration fees, license renewals, and those pesky hidden costs, operating in this hub is a financial balancing act. Do your homework and keep your eyes peeled for any lurking, uninvited costs.

But let’s be real, the pros outweigh the cons. World-class infrastructure, a strategic location near Dubai International Airport, and a competitive, investment-friendly business environment? I mean, come on.

All in all, DAFZA is a land of opportunity wrapped up in a little bit of chaos. Navigate wisely, keep your documents in check, and who knows—you might just find yourself at the helm of a booming business. Cheers to that.


FZBuddy aims to provide accurate and reliable information as you navigate the UAE Freezone space. As such, our writers refer to primary information sources in supporting each article appearing on this website. These include, but are not limited to, published news articles, government portals, research papers, and more.

  1. Dubai Airport Freezone Authority. (2023, September 8). Dubai Airport Freezone | Business Setup In Dubai | Leading Freezone In UAE | DAFZ. Free Zones in Dubai, Dubai Airport Freezone, UAE Tax Free Zone | DAFZ.
  2. Home – Executive Council. (n.d.). Executive Council.

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