Free zone areas in the UAE provide several exclusive advantages to SMEs, large corporations and professionals alike. These free trade zones are completely (or mostly) free from all types of taxes and provide 100% ownership to foreign company owners. This makes these areas suitable for all types of businesses especially those that are dealing with import and export activities. Most of these free zones are exclusive to specific types of business activity.
There are more than 45 free trade zones in the UAE and around 30 among them are present in Dubai. It clearly means that Dubai is ahead of all the other emirates in this aspect and it provides most opportunities for establishing businesses in the free trade zone area. But before starting any business in any of the free zones in Dubai, one must acquire a valid visa for this purpose. This visa is required for residence, employment as well as for starting a business in any free zone in Dubai.
Rules & Regulations
In free zones, the most common type of residence visa is available through an employment contract with a free zone company. This type of UAE residence visa is valid for up to 3 years.
Entrepreneurs aiming for their own company in Dubai can attain residence through an employment visa or investor visa. Investor visa is also valid for 3 years. The holders of both employment and investor visa are also allowed to apply for dependents’ residence visa.
Free zone visas are obtained solely from the Immigration Department (GDRFA) without the necessity of contacting the Ministry of Labour. This makes the process relatively simple but these visas don’t allow the holders to work outside free zones.
Following are important steps that must be followed to obtain a Dubai free zone visa.
Registration for E-channel services is the first step to apply for visa in Dubai free zone. The purpose of E-channel service is to facilitate people by providing them streamline visa process through removal of unnecessary and lengthy paperwork. This is helpful in making this process transparent and less time-consuming.
In this process, the applicant will need to deposit mandatory registration fee and refundable security. The online registration of your company can be done by your free zone agent.
After completing registration for E-channel, the next step is to apply for entry permit or employment visa. Entry permits are issued within 15 days after submission of application and are valid for 6 months. You can take this visa within 7 days after paying an additional fee of AED 1,000. After applying for an entry permit, it is necessary to remain in UAE before completion of the process. Otherwise, it can create issues that may result in delaying of the process.
Status adjustment or status change is the next process after obtaining an entry permit. It is directly related to the previous segment as it is necessary to activate the entry permit. There are three different ways through which you can accomplish this procedure.
If you are in Dubai or UAE, you can use the in-country process. This is the simplest method that will merely take 3 to 5 days. You just have to submit your passport to immigration department and they will stamp and activate your visa in the given time.
If you are outside UAE at the time of issuance of visa or after few days of issuance of Dubai employment visa, then you can apply for out of country visa process. You can do so by exiting and re-entering UAE and presenting your printed visa to immigration officer on airport. He/she will stamp and activate the visa.
The third option is the border run. You can avail this by exiting and re-entering UAE via land and getting entry date stamp on printed employment visa and in the passport from immigration officer. But both “out of country” and “border run” options are available only to citizens of selected countries. Therefore, the best and safest option is to use “in-country” process by remaining inside UAE during the procedure.
Medical test and Emirates ID Registration
Medical fitness test comprises of chest X-ray and a blood test for any infectious disease. The results of these tests are available after 3 working days.
In the next step, you will apply for an Emirates ID card. This card is necessary for important things like opening bank accounts, signing tenancy agreements and taking out contracts for mobile phones. A personal visit to an official ID authority is mandatory in this case due to the requirement of capturing biometric details (fingerprints and eye scans).
After completing the above-mentioned procedure, you will be able to apply for a residence visa for Dubai free zone. For this purpose, you will submit your passport to immigration authority and they will take around 15 days to complete the procedure. You need to remain inside the UAE during this period. After successful completion, you will get a UAE residence visa stamp on your passport.
Visa for Dependents
Obtaining a residence visa will make you eligible to apply for visas for your domestic staff, spouse and Dubai residence family visa for dependent family members. There is a complete procedure for all these types of visas as well.
You can easily understand with the above detail that the visa process for Dubai free zone is not a simple one at all. It needs various types of registrations and only someone with complete information and experience can handle the whole process conveniently. To achieve this, you can contact Riz & Mona Consultancy as we are in this field for the past several years and we have a large number of satisfied clients to prove our success. For more queries and assistance, you can dial WhatsApp # 971-54-5821012 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.