FAQ

All free zone entities are governed by RAKEZ Companies Regulations of 2017 and Operating Rules of 2018 as well as the applicable federal and local laws and decrees. As for the non-free zone entities, they are governed by the UAE Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 concerning Commercial Companies as well as all applicable federal and local laws and decrees.

To view RAKEZ’s Free Zone Companies Regulations & Operating Rules, as well as the UAE Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, please click here.

No, it cannot. A free zone entity may trade its products outside the free zone area and within the UAE only through an agent, representative, distributor or its parent company holding a relevant licence to conduct such an activity in the UAE.

No, it cannot conduct business activities outside RAKEZ free zone area. It has to be inside the RAKEZ free zone area only.

Yes, a RAKEZ company can obtain credit by creating a security interest.

No, it is not. Shareholders have the option to either apply for RAKEZ visa or be on a non-RAKEZ visa.

The maximum number of shareholders in a free zone company and a non-free zone limited liability company is 50.

Yes, you can obtain an investor visa in case of single shareholder companies. However, for companies that have more than one shareholder, a partner visa can be obtained.

A non-sponsored employee is an employee of a company who is not sponsored under a RAKEZ company but he is approved by RAKEZ to be employed by that company.

Yes, a company may employ a non-sponsored employee, temporarily or permanently.

The conditions in which RAKEZ can grant its approval to employee an non-sponsored employee are if the non-sponsored employee:

• Is a GCC National
• Resides in the UAE on the visa sponsored by a relative
• Is to be employed on a part-time or temporary basis
• Works for a subsidiary or an associated company of a RAKEZ company

A Subsidiary is a company that is owned by another company where 51% or more of its shareholding is held by the other company

A company can make the payment through the following channels:

• Online by topping up the portal accounts
• RAKEZ Business Service Centres (cashier counters)
• Bank Transfer

VAT stands for Value Added Tax. It is an indirect tax applicable to taxable goods and services in the UAE.

Detailed information on VAT are available on the website of the UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) at www.tax.gov.ae and relevant FAQs are available here.

 

From co-working spaces to full-scale industrial facilities, we offer the ideal facility at your stage of development:
• Flexi facilities
• Standard Offices
• Executive Offices
• Shell & Core Offices
• Warehouses
• Land for Development
• Staff and Labour Accommodation
More details on the facilities are available here.

Yes. You can get assistance from Mazeed Services for any creative design works with applicable charges.

No. A flexi facility is shared with other clients. In the event that a client requests a private office, he will have the options of a standard of executive office.

No, it cannot. The company must have RAKEZ licence to rent an office in RAKEZ zones. This may include a branch of DED/other free zone companies in RAKEZ.

Yes, it will affect the visa quota as flexi desks are limited to one visa only and hence, any additional visas should be cancelled.

Sub-leasing is an arrangement where a company (lessee) allows another company (sub-lessee) to use part of the leased premises.

Yes, it is, but subject to obtaining a prior written approval from RAKEZ.

The types of sub-lease allowed by RAKEZ are:
1. Sub-lease of a vacant plot
2. Sub-lease of completed buildings/structures

The requirements for sub-leasing vacant plots in RAKEZ are:

  • The sub-lessor should hold a valid lease and does not have outstanding amounts owed to RAKEZ.
  • The sub-lessee is a subsidiary of the sub-lessee or the sub-lessor and sub-lessee are associated companies OR there is a contract between the sub-lessor and the sub-lessee to either supply raw material, produce or distribute or consume finished product.
  • The sub-lessor and sub-lessee have sufficient space for the licensed activities, without jeopardizing their respective operations.
  • The sub-lessor is jointly and severally responsible and liable for the activities of the sub-lessee.
  • A sub-lessee is prohibited to assign his rights under a sub-lease agreement.

A sub-lease agreement is not to be contradicting with the lease agreement and is deemed terminated upon the termination of the lease agreement.

The requirements for sub-leasing buildings/structures in RAKEZ are:

  • The building/structure must be fully completed
  • The sub-lessor should holds valid lease and does not have outstanding amounts owed to RAKEZ.
  • The sub-lessee must possess a licence for his activities.
  • The sub-lessor is jointly and severally responsible and liable for the activities of the sub-lessee.
  • A sub-lessee is prohibited to assign his rights under a sub-lease agreement.

A sub-lease agreement is not to be contradicting with the lease agreement and is deemed terminated upon the termination of the lease agreement.

Individuals falling in the category of Investor/Partner/Manager of all nationalities must obtain pre-approval to form the company or obtain a visa. The requirements, charges and pre-approval application can be accessed by visiting our website

https://eservices.rakez.com/.

A visa is a document that gives someone permission to travel into a specific country and stay there for a set period of time. Visas may be stamped or glued directly into a passport for convenience, or they may be issued separately in the form of documents, which must be carefully protected to ensure that they are not lost or stolen. It is a mandatory requirement to have a residency visa to avail below services:
The below mentioned countries are entitled for visa on arrival at UAE airport/border: France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands (Holland), Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.
It is illegal to work on a visa other than a valid employment visa in the UAE.

Launched as part of the UAE 2021 vision under the slogan ‘Smart Services with Future Vision’. The E-Channel Immigration System is a new and unified immigration system that has already been implemented across the UAE.

This allows businesses and individuals to apply for visas, residence and entry permits through a single online portal, instead of visiting a typing centre or the immigration office. The system also removes the need for print documents and aims to ensure that all applications are processed more efficiently with improved integration across the emirates. In line with this latest update from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, all RAKEZ companies are mandated to register in the E-Channel platform with immediate effect through RAKEZ to allow them to continue with current and future visa or immigration file applications.

To register the companies in the E-Channel Immigration system, clients can simply approach any of RAKEZ offices or contact us to proceed with the payment and other necessary procedures. Once registered, the company will receive SMS confirming its registration in the system.

Speedy process and accuracy in the visa and residency services

Entry Permit issued is electronically, eliminating the need to visit any of our offices for collection. Eliminate the need to submit original passports for some services including visa cancelation and status change

All companies with immigration files are mandated by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to register in the E-Channel Immigration System effective 1 March 2018.

No. The registration of your company in the system will be done by RAKEZ.

Yes, the registration fee is only AED 2,200. Also an amount of AED 5,050 refundable deposit must be paid. This is to be paid only once.

Companies that have already registered in the system may have to annually renew the registration, and the charges applicable would be AED 1,200.

You may register your company in the system by approaching any of our offices, completing the payment, and then we will complete the registration process of your company in the system.

The MOI will provide the credentials only to the Sponsor i.e. RAKEZ. However to facilitate you with the similar service, RAKEZ will soon be introducing the Customer Portal wherein the applications can be submitted, payment can be made, status of the application can be tracked, available products can be viewed, and clients can download the same from the Portal.

For all your company visas, the service can be availed only through the Sponsor. RAKEZ being the Sponsor will be applying for the company’s visa, hence the applications may be submitted to RAKEZ.
Registering in the system is not linked to obtaining visas. It is however, mandated for all companies with immigration file to register in the system.
For companies applying for closure, the Immigration Authority is currently granting a special approval to exempt them from registration in the system. Any changes in the requirements from the Immigration Authority will be communicated as and when received.
While submitting the license renewal request, you may pay for the immigration file renewal, penalties incurred due to late renewal of the immigration file and for the E-Channel Immigration System registration.
Since it is mandatory to register in the E-Channel Immigration System, you will be requested to settle the outstanding amount toward your immigration file and pay the E-Channel Immigration System’s related fees.
As per the Immigration Authority’s mandate, any company having an immigration file is required to register in the EChannel Immigration System’s platform to further process visa related services.

RAKEZ offers two types of entity formation:

(a) A Free Zone Entity: A Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Branch incorporated in the RAKEZ free zone area. A Free Zone Entity has to obtain a licence from RAKEZ.

(b) A Non-Free Zone Entity: A Limited or Unlimited Liability Company, or a Branch incorporated in the RAKEZ non-free zone area. In addition to a licence from RAKEZ, a Non-Free Zone Entity has to obtain a licence from RAK Department of Economic Development (RAK DED).

RAKEZ offers the below free zone company types:
• A Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)
• A Branch of a UAE-based company (including companies registered in other free zones)
• A Branch of foreign company

RAKEZ offers the below non-free zone company types are:
• An Individual Establishment
• A Single Person Limited Liability Company
• A Limited Liability Company (LLC)
• A Branch of a UAE-based company (including companies registered in other free zones)
• A Branch of a foreign company

No, you do not need a local partner to form a free zone company. One of the many advantages of setting up a free zone company in RAKEZ is that it offers 100% foreign ownership.

The maximum number of shareholders in a free zone company and a non-free zone limited liability company is 50.

The authorised signatory on behalf of the parent company needs to sign the resolution for a branch or subsidiary. The power to sign on behalf of the parent company needs to be mentioned in the parent company’s legal documents or through an attested power of attorney document by the UAE Embassy or Consulate in the parent company’s country of origin.

Yes, it is possible for a non-UAE National to obtain a non-free zone Professional Licence without a local sponsor, but provided that a UAE national must be appointed as a local service agent.

No, a UAE National sponsor is required for obtaining a non-free zone licence to carry out commercial and industrial activities. The local sponsor’s shareholding shall not be less than 51% of the company's capital.

Yes, GCC Nationals are treated as UAE Nationals concerning the exercise of economic and professional activities provided that non-GCC Nationals are not partners in the company. Otherwise, there must be a UAE national as a partner whose shareholding shall not be less than 51% of the company's capital.

A Local Service Agent (LSA) is a natural person holding the UAE nationality or a corporate person established in the UAE and is wholly owned by UAE natural persons.  An LSA has no responsibility for the legal and financial obligations of the company and has no voice in the company’s business activities. An LSA’s duties refer solely to helping in obtaining entry and residence visas and the annually incurring renewal of licences. A Service Agent Agreement between the company and the LSA is made to govern the legal relations between both parties. An LSA receives an annual fee and the service agent agreement may be terminated at any point of time in accordance with the contract conditions. An LSA has no right of penalties, fines and compensation payments at any time.

Non-free zone individual establishments that are owned by non-UAE nationals to carry out professional activities (Professional Licences) and non-free zone foreign branches require a local service agent.

The local sponsor whose shareholding is not less than 51% of the company's capital in a non-free limited liability company (LLC) is financially liable to the extent of his share in the company’s capital.

The local service agent has no liability for the legal and financial obligations.

No, it cannot. The name of a branch must be the same as its parent company’s and must carry out all or some of its activities.

A branch does not have its own Memorandum of Association. A branch is a legal part and an extension of its parent company and does not have a legal identity distinct from its parent company.

The main difference is that a representative office is not permitted to operate any commercial business or to conduct any commercial activities by itself. Representative offices tend to act as administrative and marketing centres for the foreign parent company’s head office for promoting the company's products, services or business, or for facilitating trading contracts between the company and its clients.

Yes, a free zone company can open branches in the mainland but a local service agent must be appointed and A UAE National must hold no less 51% of the free zone company’s capital.

Yes, a non-UAE National can set up a non-free zone individual establishment to carry out professional activities, provided that a UAE National must be appointed as a local service agent.

No, it cannot. A non-free zone individual establishment must be owned by one natural person.

No, it is not. The legal liability of a non-free zone individual establishment is not different from its owner and its financial liability is linked with such owner, being the person responsible for all of its financial obligations towards third parties.

The Non-Free Zone Single Person LLC is a company that can be owned by one natural person or one corporate person.

The main difference is that a Non-Free Zone Individual Establishment must be owned by one natural person but the Single Person LLC can be owned by one natural person or one corporate person.

Moreover, the most important difference between the two is that the liability of the Single Person LLC is limited to the single person’s share, whereas in the Non-Free Zone Individual Establishment the liability is unlimited.

A Limited Liability Company is treated as an entity separated from its shareholders. Therefore, the liabilities of a company do not extend to its shareholders. Each shareholder is only liable to the extent of his shares in the company’s capital.

Yes, the liability of an owner of a free zone establishment is limited.

A share capital refers to the portion of a company's equity that is obtained or will be obtained by a shareholder for cash or an equivalent item of capital value. It is also known as subscribed capital or subscribed share capital. One can calculate the share capital as number of total shares divided by value of each share (also known as par value).

The minimum share capital of an FZ-LLC is AED 10,000 (each share is valued AED 1,000). However, for certain activities there is a specific share capital. Refer to the below list for the Minimum Share Capital requirement:

Industrial (AED 150,000.00)

Aviation (AED 500,000.00)

Logistics & Transportation (AED 100,000.00)

Insurance Consultancy (AED 100,000.00)

Insurance Broker (AED 500,000.00)

Insurance Agent (1,000,000.00)

Investment Consultancy (AED 100,000.00)

Real Estate Consultancy (AED 500,000.00)

Real Estate Broker (AED 500,000.00)

Real Estate Agent (500,000.00)

Real Estate Development (AED 1,000,000.00)

TV/Radio Broadcasting (AED 1,000,000.00)

Publishing (AED 50,000.00)

Production (Film/TV/Radio) (AED 50,000.00)

Higher Education Provider (AED 50,000.00)

Non-academic Service Provider (AED 50,000.00)

Educations Support Services (AED 50,000.00)

No, a branch does not require a capital.

Yes, a client can amend the template provided that the amendments are in compliance with the applicable RAKEZ Companies Regulations and Laws. All amendments will be subject to review and approval.

Company officers include manager, director(s), secretary(ies) and legal representative(s).

Yes, the same person can be a shareholder, director, the company’s secretary and manager.

No, a company cannot have more than one manager.

Yes, he can, but a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from his current sponsor must be obtained in advance.

No, the company’s manager must only be a natural person.

An owner who is a GCC National, or a partner in a commercial company holding any other nationality, shall not be required to be a resident in the UAE. However, an owner of a professional individual establishment is required to carry out the activity in person, and this can only be achieved by residing in the UAE.

Yes, it is required for a company manager to be resident in the UAE.

• Industrial: Manufacturing, importing, packaging and exporting products
• Commercial: Trading in services and goods
• Educational: Opening an education-related institution or a consultancy company
• E-commerce: Trading in goods and services via electronic means
• Individual/Professional: One owner with one activity in a specific specialty or expertise
• General Trading: Trading in multiple goods
• Media: Operating media-related business activities
• Service: Conducting services or consultancies across any industry

A Freelancer is a professional who operates as an independent contractor and in the form of a sole practitioner to conduct the permitted profession.

Yes, you can. RAKEZ welcomes talented and committed professionals to its free zone and offers them a wide range of related professions related to media and education, which freelancers can carry out.
The Permit issued by RAKEZ identifies the Freelancer as a sole practitioner and enables him/her to conduct business in his/her birth name as opposed to a brand name.

The non-free zone licences issued by RAKEZ are:
• Industrial: Manufacturing, importing, packaging and exporting products
• Commercial: Trading in services and goods
• Professional: For individuals who provide professional services

Yes, he can apply for two separate free zone licences under one company name where a company conducts several activities that are similar in nature to what RAKEZ allows in terms of similar activities to be conducted under one licence. However, if the activities are unrelated, separate licences are required.

Generally, RAKEZ licences are valid for one (1) year from the issue date.
However, Free Zone Commercial, Service, General Trading, Individual/Professional and E-commerce licences can be issued and renewed for three years at discounted rates subject to the applicable terms and conditions.
Moreover, after the first year of being licensed in RAKEZ, a business may opt, but is not be required, to obtain a three-year business licence as mentioned above.

At RAKEZ, there are hundreds of business activities ranging from over 50 sectors such as manufacturing, energy, technology, healthcare, aviation, shipping, education, media, professional services as well as personal and community services. To know more about the activities, please click here.

No, they cannot. They have to be on two different licences. All commercial activities will be grouped under one commercial licence and all service activities will be grouped under one service licence.

Five (5) activities from same group OR two (2) activities from different groups are allowed under a Free Zone Commercial Licence.

Two (2) activities from any group are allowed under a Free Zone Services Licence.

Two (2) activities from same group are allowed under a Free Zone Industrial Licence.

The general rule is that any activity from a different licence type will require a separate licence.

Yes, a company can add an activity after the licence has been issued. In case a company wishes to add an activity from the same licence type (adding a commercial activity on its existing commercial licence), then the company has to apply for ‘Change of Activity’.
To add an activity from a different licence type (e.g. adding a service activity while holding a commercial licence), this will be considered as an additional licence, hence, an application for a new Service Licence must be submitted.

No, it cannot. A branch must carry out all or some of the activities that its parent company is currently holding.

Yes, there is a number of activities that are regulated by third-party authorities where a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required to be obtained from them in order to add such activities on a RAKEZ licence.  For example, in order to open a clinic, an approval from the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention is required.

No, it cannot. A free zone entity cannot conduct retail trading of any of its products within the free zone area. A free zone entity may display products in the free zone area for potential customers for marketing purposes only.

Yes, it is mandatory to lease a facility to open a company.

Yes, they do. While most of the activities do not require a particular facility type, certain activities require a specific facility type such as a physical office space or retail space etc.

No, not all activities require a business plan.

No, RAKEZ does not require any specific format for the business plan.

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines the future vision and objectives of the business and it typically includes:
• Description of the business activities.
• The scope of the activities.
• The market segment
• Supply chain (if applicable)
• Management structure (recruitment plan/workforce).
• Brief financial forecast/budget.

Good standing is a document that confirms the status of the parent company to be either active or in current good standing.
The company may submit any of the following documents:
• Certificate of good standing from the bank
• Online registry extract showing the web address
• Notarised recent Certificate of Incumbency from the regulating authority of the parent company
• Notarised and legalized letter from any law firm
• Notarised letter from any chartered auditing firm

Yes, the Operation Fitness Certificate (OFC) is mandatory before occupying the pre-built warehouses and the customized facility built on a plot of land.

No, Flexi Desks and business centre licensees are not required to submit the Operation Fitness Certificate (OFC).

The activities that are classified as Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) are:

• Legal Consultancy
• Real Estate Agent
• Real Estate Developer
• Auditing of Accounts
• Precious Metals and Stones Trading
• Investment Consultancy
• Company Service Providers

The application for registration of a company to carry out any activity classified as a DNFBP must be accompanied by a complete DNFBPs form signed by all shareholders who will jointly be and severally liable for the compliance with the laws and regulations of the UAE’s Central Bank and all relevant Federal Laws and Regulations for Combatting Money Laundering (AML) and Financing of Terrorism (CFT).

An associated company is a company that is associated with another company where 51% or more of both companies’ shareholding is held by the same shareholders.

The licence late renewal penalty is AED 50 per day.

The renewal quotation is generally emailed to your designated email address that you provided (as stored in our system) 60 days prior to your license expiry date. However, you may also send an e-mail to customerservice@rakez.com and our Service Center Team will e-mail the same to you for your reference. Please note that quotation can be generated only two (2) months before your license expiry date.

A company or a branch can be struck off from the register of companies in the events of:
• If the licence is revoked by RAKEZ.
• If proved that a company or branch is not carrying out business or is not in operation.
• If a company or branch has failed to pay any fee or penalty required to be paid to RAKEZ within thirty (30) days from the date of being notified to make payment.
• If the licence of a company or a branch is not renewed for six (6) months from its expiry date.
• If a company or a branch is acting in breach of restrictions on activities or is involved in contraventions under RAKEZ’s Companies Regulations.
• If it is necessary to protect the good repute of RAKEZ that a company or a branch should be struck off from the register.

No, it cannot. Once the striking off is in place, the liability of the company, every director and shareholder continues and may be enforced as if the company has not been struck off.

Yes, it can. A struck-off company may submit an application within two (2) years from the date of the strike-off, to restore its legal status and renew its licence, and this is subject to the approval of RAKEZ.

There are many registration and licence amendments including the following: 

  • Change of company name
  • Change of company’s directors and manager
  • Amendment to the provisions of the company’s MOA
  • Share capital increase
  • Share capital decrease

Change of licensed activities

Any company holding a valid licence can apply for company and licence amendments. However, for certain amendments, the licence should be valid for at least 2 months to apply for amendments.

The following amendments require publication:
• Change of company name
• Decrease in share capital
• Change of legal form
• Company’s de-registration

Yes, if the current company name does not match with the new activity and the nature of business.

Financial statements are formal records of the financial activities of a company. They show the financial position (assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity), financial performance (profit or loss) and the cash flow of a company.

Financial statements assist the company’s management to make decisions in respect of future financial planning. They also assist external partners such as banks or vendors to make decisions about a company’s borrowing capacity.

Financial statements are essential to prove that the company accounts are kept in a good order.

Yes, all companies incorporated in RAKEZ jurisdiction are required to prepare and submit audited financial statements for every financial year.

No, the audited financial statements are not required at the time of licence renewal.

A company has to submit the audited financial statements to RAKEZ within six (6) months from the end of its financial year.

If a company fails to submit the audited financial statements on time, a fine of AED 2,500 will be imposed on the company and may lead to suspension of services.

An approved auditor is a UAE auditing firm that is enrolled in the RAKEZ approved auditors’ list under RAKEZ’s implementing regulations to provide auditing services to RAKEZ companies and ensure that the audited financial statements of these companies represent a true and accurate financial position.

No, all RAKEZ companies must submit audited financial statements prepared by RAKEZ approved auditors.

It depends on the date of the incorporation of the company. According to the RAKEZ Standard Memorandum of Association (MoA), a company’s financial year constitutes a 12-month period from January to December.


No first financial year may exceed 18 months or be less than 6 months. For instance, if a company is incorporated in July 2019, then the first year’s financial statements can be prepared in December 2020. However, if the company is incorporated in June 2019, the first year financial statements will have the year-end as December 2019 and will consist of only 7 months.

 

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