Business Setup in Dubai Design District (D3) Free Zone
If you are planning to establish a company in the Middle East to launch your business, you can choose to set up a business in the Dubai Design District free zone. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, opened the Dubai Design District in 2013. Here foreign investors can take advantage of outstanding perks including re-exports outside of Dubai. Additionally, entrepreneurs can receive benefits including 100% company ownership, full tax redemption, etc.
Go ahead to dive deep into the process, requirements, and other details of setting up a business in the free zone of Dubai Design District.
About Dubai Design District Free Zone
In order to promote development and investment in industries including digital media, the arts, design, and fashion, Dubai Design District (D3) was established by the Dubai government in 2013. The Dubai Design District Free Zone is a leader in the Middle East as of right now, offering brand launches, a variety of media and design seminars, art shows, trade exhibits, media conferences, and fashion events, among others. With a very unique ecosystem for business, the Dubai Design District supports emerging firms in hospitality, fashion, luxury, and retail.
The Dubai Design District free zone was created with the intention of creating a creative center. It would provide a home for the creative league by showcasing up-and-coming and talented local individuals. The simple and fast business setup process is one of the main elements influencing Dubai Design District’s growth as a free zone.
The Dubai Design District attracts business incorporation due to its 10,000+ experts, over 550+ partners, and more. The benefit of establishing a business here is that it is a reasonably priced luxury. There is an abundance of trump cards included that one wouldn’t want to pass up.
TECOM Investments has launched many Free Zone business parks out of which the most recent one is the Dubai Design District.
The Dubai Design District offices, once the beating core of the Middle Eastern design industry, today serve the global fashion, design, and luxury industries. Dubai Design District is the innovation hotspot thanks to the objective of building a world-class creative community that supports, engages, and fosters local, international, and regional design talent.
The Dubai Design District logo supports the Free Zone’s goals of being a leader in the fields of the arts, design, and fashion. Leading international and local firms currently have ultra-modern offices, headquarters, ateliers, and studios located in Dubai Design District.
RIZ & MONA CONSULTANCY has played a key role in assisting startups and brands to establish themselves and develop in the Dubai Design District throughout this time.
Location of Dubai Design District
The Dubai Design District is located close to Downtown Dubai’s heart. You will be close to Dubai’s Business Bay, Mohammed bin Rashid City, and the Burj Khalifa rises behind you. Everything you require will be right outside your company’s door. It is one of Dubai’s one of the most demanding neighborhoods, whether you work or live there. A fantastic creative hotspot, Dubai Design District is close to the busiest areas in Dubai.
There are tons of bars, cafes, and restaurants in the Design District alone. And as you might imagine, it has the latest shopping innovative features for technology, art, and fashion.
There is plenty of parking and bus routes run often. Even a riverboat taxi will take you to Dubai Design District. For inspiration, check out fashion shows and design fairs that occur in the district. And as the area becomes more well-known, the creative community’s cultural vibrancy also expands. For business work, meetings, or fun, the area has multiple places that are conveniently located nearby.
Development Phases of Dubai Design District
Dubai Design District was created by the TECOM group in three phases. And new innovations and commercial districts were the focus of each phase. Here are the Details of the Phases:
In 2015, D3 experienced an infusion of Emirati and foreign talent during phase one. By 2016, 6,000 creatives were employed in Dubai Design District. 40% were regional creative businesses. Whereas international companies made up 60% of these innovative businesses. Since then, District has received funding from businesses like IBM, Nike, and Adidas.
In 2019, Phase 2 was finished. This stage was designed by Foster and Partners. Additionally, it increased the community’s access to creative resource materials designed by this company.
Phase 3 of the district was finished in 2021. It concentrated on creekside development. The District offers a variety of contemporary accommodation options. The waterfront is currently glistening with a vast number of popular venues, restaurants, and hotels.
Best Business Activities in Dubai Design District
The majority of creative firms thrive in Dubai Design District free zone. The following is by no means a comprehensive list. And the Dubai Design District’s creative community is constantly expanding. This is one of the top places in the world for startups, no matter what kind of creative business you have. The following are the mostly conducted business activities in Dubai Design District:
- Industrial and fashion design
- Image consultancy
- Architectural design
- Public relations
- Graphic Designing
- Direct marketing
- Corporate and branding identity
Business Licenses Available in D3
The major license types are listed ahead:
- Commercial License
- Service License
- Manufacturing License
The amount of price that is being asked for different licenses entrepreneurs by Design District can apply for company formation in Dubai
- Interior Designing (excluding manufacturing)
- Interior Designing (including manufacturing)
- Luxury (including manufacturing)
- Luxury (excluding manufacturing)
- Event Management
- Fashion (excluding manufacturing)
- Marketing services
- Fashion (including manufacturing)
- Beauty care
Problems Faced When Working on Business Setup Options
In the Dubai Design District, you can decide what types of businesses to open for the public. Although the procedures vary among them, each is simple and easy to follow.
Following are some of the problems that business setup face:
- Make a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Create a branch of your company in the United Arab Emirates
- Create a branch for an international business
- Register as a freelancer and submit your permit application
Let us talk about them in detail:
Obtaining a freelance permit allows an individual to work as a freelance professional. This permit enables the individual to conduct business using their birth name, rather than a brand name.
Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)
A Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) is a company that is wholly owned and operates as an independent legal entity. It is required to have at least one director.
Foreign Company’s Branch Office
A branch office of a foreign company is locally owned equal to 51% of shares and does not have a minimum share capital requirement. It can engage in some or all of the operations related to its parent company’s business.
UAE Company’s Branch Office
A branch office of a UAE company does not function as a separate legal entity. Instead, it carries out some or all of the operations associated with its parent company’s business.
These are the primary types of businesses available for businesspeople to set up in the country. However, Dubai Design District provides flexible options for all types of businesses.
Required Documents for Company Registration in D3
To register a company in the Dubai Design District, business owners must submit certain essential documents. The company registration and licensing application form, along with a comprehensive business plan, must be submitted to the Dubai Economic Department (DED).
The key documents required are copies of the passports and visas of every general manager and director of the business. Alongside these, their specimen signatures and proof of meeting the share capital requirement should be provided.
Additionally, It is important to note that all of these documents must be completed during the business setup process.
How to Set Up a Business in Dubai Design District Free Zone?
Dubai’s free zone renowned for its focus on design and innovation, known as the D3 free zone, attracts numerous investors interested in establishing their businesses there. It’s not hard to see why joining this community is highly desirable. This district offers space, collaboration, and opportunities for creative individuals throughout the region. Moreover, it draws exceptional talent from across the globe.
The UAE has devoted careful attention to developing a creative ecosystem that surpasses the expectations typically associated with creative neighborhoods. The process of setting up a business in the D3 free zone follows the same procedure as in other free zones. To establish a business in the Dubai Design District free zone, it is necessary to obtain one of the licenses mentioned above.
To set up a business in the Dubai Design District Free Zone, obtaining a license is essential. There are licenses available for industrial, commercial, and professional purposes. The licensing procedure in the D3 free zone is trouble-free and straightforward.
Obtaining a license in this free zone involves several steps. Here are the necessary steps to acquire your license:
Choose your Business Activity
Begin by selecting your desired business activity.
Trade Name Registration
Proceed to register the name for your business setup.
Next, decide on an office space for your business.
Submit the Application
Obtain an application form to register your business and obtain the license. Fill out the form promptly and give it to the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.
Submit the Required Documents and Pay the Required Fee
Gather the required documents as specified in the form, ensuring they are fully signed and notarized. Submit them to the authorities. They will provide you with a challan specifying the amount to be paid. Make the payment at the designated counter.
Collect Your Registration Certificate and Professional License
Once the fees have been paid, your registration request will be processed. The approval of documents typically takes around 2 to 4 weeks. After approval, you can collect your valid license and a registration certificate.
Obtain a Customer Confirmation Letter
After completing the registration process, it is time to obtain the customer confirmation letter, signaling that you are now prepared to commence your business,
How to Get Your UAE Residence Visa?
Obtaining a residence visa is necessary to reside, work, and conduct banking activities in Dubai Design District. This visa remains valid for a duration of three years; however, to maintain its validity, it is required to enter the UAE every six months. Fortunately, most entrepreneurs who have business in Dubai tend to fulfill this requirement as a matter of course.
There are several options available to acquire a residence visa. You can secure a job in the UAE, establish a business, or obtain a freelance permit. Additionally, provisions exist for dependents, students, and individuals who own high-value properties. For the purpose of our discussion, we will focus on the business aspect.
For entrepreneurs, the most suitable options are obtaining new business permits or freelance permits. Once you have made a decision, you will need to follow the steps outlined given ahead:
- Register the business with the UAE authorities.
- Obtain your establishment card.
- Get your entry permit.
- Apply for your United Arab Emirates ID.
- Schedule your mandatory medical tests.
- Visit a UAE consulate to obtain your visa.
In most cases, the process to obtain a residence visa is relatively swift. Once you possess your visa, you are eligible to reside anywhere in the UAE. However, Dubai Design District is particularly advantageous for creative entrepreneurs.
After acquiring your residence visa and necessary documents, sponsoring visas for your dependents becomes a straightforward process.
Benefits of Company Formation in Dubai Design District Free Zone
The district serves as a gathering place for creative minds to unite and transform their dreams into reality. The Design District free zone has effectively addressed the long-standing need for a community that fosters creativity and accommodates the thousands of fashion designers, artists, and imaginative individuals throughout the region.
Dubai Design District free zone offers a vibrant environment where individuals with a bohemian spirit can reside, work, and indulge in recreational activities. It serves as a nurturing ground for aspiring designers to gain experience and refine their skills. Moreover, it provides a platform for local talents to collaborate with international designers, artists, and fashion houses.
Dubai Design District stands as the ultimate destination for young creative entrepreneurs. The free zone offers a plethora of advantages that not only allow companies to showcase their talents but also foster the promotion of creativity and ideas. It is an ideal hub for those looking to flourish in the realm of art and innovation.
At a glance, here are some of the major benefits:
- No limits on currencies.
- Together, Burj Khalifa, Business Bay, and Dubai Mall are in a fantastic position that also houses the inventive ecosystem.
- You don’t have to pay any personal income tax.
- Design and fashion are subject to special licensing, and designers and artists can work independently.
- No cap on the repatriation of capital.
- Join the first design ecosystem in the world.
- For the first 50 years, business taxes are zero.
- Community living is very much integrated
- There are no limitations on employing foreign workers.
The majority of businesses in Dubai Design District are owned by international entrepreneurs, contributing to a vibrant and cosmopolitan community. However, UAE businesses are also making significant strides in this area.
Innovation and Diversity
Opportunities for female creative businesses in Dubai Design District are abundant. Among the nearly 100 UAE businesses in the district, a significant number are owned by women.
Ideal Location Dubai Design District is strategically situated in the heart of Dubai, in close proximity to Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall. The free zone enjoys excellent connectivity to major roads, particularly the Zabeel District.
Commuting options include ample parking facilities, well-connected bus routes, and even riverboat taxis.
Tax Exemption Although the implementation of value-added tax (VAT) took effect in the UAE in early 2018, the absence of corporate and income tax remains a substantial advantage. This tax exemption makes Dubai free zone an appealing destination for business owners seeking such benefits.
Dubai Design District offers numerous additional benefits, including:
- Minimal start-up costs
- No restrictions on capital repatriation
- Onsite customs and a One-Stop Shop for all services
- 0% import or re-export duties
- No currency restrictions
- No limitations on foreign talent or employees
Setting up a company in Dubai Design District is not only straightforward but also affordable, making it an ideal choice for startups.
Minimal Start-up Cost
The Dubai Design District is the perfect place for start-ups because it is not just simple but also affordable.
Zero Currency Restrictions
Any currency in which you want to invest is unrestricted in Dubai Design District. This opens up the area to creatives from all over the world.
Visa Application Process
Dubai Design District offers a flexible investor visa that is valid for three years. The duration of the visa is determined based on the office space, with a requirement of 80 square feet per person. The visa application process is quick and efficient, particularly for free zones.
Special Freelance Permits for the Dubai Design District free zone are special permits specifically tailored for artists and designers working in the fields of design and fashion. These permits offer freelancers the opportunity to establish their creative businesses within the district.
Convenient Corporate Bank Account Setup
Once an investor has obtained their professional license and is ready to establish their business in the free zone, the next crucial step is to open a corporate bank account. It is recommended to have separate personal and professional banking accounts. The process of opening a corporate bank account is simple and can be completed within no time.
Top-Level Business Resources
Dubai Design District free zone brings together designers from around the globe, creating a true melting pot of fashion culture. This vibrant hub offers unparalleled opportunities for collaboration and serves as a catalyst for new talent to thrive.
The office spaces in the district are meticulously designed by architects to cater to the unique requirements of creative companies, providing an inspiring environment where you can work alongside the industry’s leading designers.
It is a world-class design destination where cutting-edge technology is readily available, ensuring that you have the tools you need at your fingertips.
Licensing for Fashion, Design, and Freelancers
Obtaining a business license for various creative industries is a straightforward process in Dubai Design District. The free zone is particularly well-suited for freelancers, offering permits specifically tailored to accommodate freelance work in creative fields. While acquiring licenses as a freelancer can often be challenging, Dubai provides a supportive framework for freelance creatives.
Office Facilities Available in Dubai Design District Free Zone
The following types of office facilities are available in Dubai Design District:
- Flexi Desk: Ideal for those seeking flexible workspace options.
- Physical Office Spaces (Core and Shell): Offers customizable office spaces with essential infrastructure.
- Physical Office Spaces with Fit-out: Provides fully furnished office spaces ready for immediate use.
- Co-working Spaces: Shared workspaces designed to foster collaboration and networking opportunities.
Dubai Design District free zone ensures that businesses have access to a range of office facilities suitable for their specific needs.
Setting Up a Business Bank Account in Dubai
Once you have obtained your business license, it is essential to establish a dedicated bank account for your business in Dubai Design District. Separating your personal and business finances is crucial for effective financial management.
At RIZ & MONA CONSULTANCY, we specialize in assisting you with the setup of your Dubai business bank account, allowing you to concentrate on running your business. We collaborate exclusively with trusted banks in the UAE, ensuring the safety and security of your funds.
The process of opening your bank account typically takes approximately 25 working days. However, please note that specialized accounts may have longer processing times. Rest assured, we will provide comprehensive support throughout the entire process, from the beginning of it to the finish.
After initiating the process with us, you can personally visit your chosen bank. During the meeting, you will meet with a bank representative who will guide you through completing the necessary application forms and submitting your documents.
If you are located outside of the UAE, you can begin the bank account application remotely. A brief meeting via phone or video call will be arranged, followed by the requirement to visit the bank in person to sign the relevant forms in most cases.
Infrastructure for Businesses in D3
Following are the infrastructure options for Businesses in the free zone of Dubai Design District:
Creatives can transform rooms into extensions of their own imagination, from exciting workplaces to remarkable ateliers. Doing so will make attractive office spaces constructed to the highest standards and have the option of maintaining open ceilings and “raw” components.
It provides consumers with:
- DED and Freezone dual licenses
- Access codes for the free zone
- F&B, wellness, and a variety of retail options
- Basement warehouses are seen
- Accessible location
- Belong to class “A”, as determined by LEED certification
Provide participants and businesses with the following 5 main advantages:
- Company setup, furnished workspaces, mentoring, seminars, and events, as well as working with investors.
- Students, entrepreneurs, and startups can benefit and grow their businesses with the help of in5 Centres’ business incubation program, annual membership, and rentals of space and equipment.
- Entrepreneurs in the fields of technology, design, or media who have a business concept or a minimally viable product can apply to join the in5 startup incubation program and profit from its advantages.
Creative workplaces and specialized in5 facilities are accessible to professionals, students, and businesspeople. Through year-round lectures, activities, mentoring opportunities, and internships, this will assist users in developing their talents.
You can rent a location, specialized space, or equipment from in5 Centres on a daily or hourly basis. In order to facilitate technology, media, and artistic production classes, there are prototype labs, multipurpose halls, editing suites, and more. Three cutting-edge, specialized, fully equipped incubation sites are available for use by startups, students, and business owners.
in5-tech was founded to assist prospective business owners in putting their ground-breaking concepts into action. The platform provides entrepreneurs and members with access to a workplace that is set up, as well as technical resources and event spaces.
Located in the heart of D3, in5 Design is a cutting-edge hub for up-and-coming artists. This is a uniquely designed workspace and prototype laboratory. A digital media hub dedicated to producing niche goods and content is called in5-media. It grants access to locations with top-notch technology and tools required for media creation, including cinema halls, editing suites, and many more.
In the business areas of TECOM Group, multipurpose warehouses with top-notch building standards and ready-made infrastructure will be available for entrepreneurs to employ as a means of business expansion. As an alternative, you can pick one of the warehouses housed in the basements of commercial structures that are always guarded.
Light production, storage, and logistics can be done in indoor locations between 5,000 and 11,000 square feet. Offices, trade, and exhibition halls are all present. The six-by-six-meter main sliding door opens to the inside.
There are lighting, air conditioning, and fire safety equipment installed inside the warehouses. Parking and a loading zone are available on the property.
D3 is a platform that allows you to chill out, relax, and get in shape. Here, you can
treat yourself to cosmetics or fashionable items from the boutiques of top global brands
- Enjoy a short lunch in a French restaurant or an outstanding evening experience in a buzzing setting
- Savor a cup of hot coffee while taking in the stunning metropolitan scenery
- Explore the exhibition pavilion or Art Hub, Sconci Art, Gallery Ward galleries, or Citizen E Gallery
- Gallery to learn about current trends in contemporary art and design
- Acquire one-of-a-kind exhibition goods in the shop
- Take care of your health or simply spend time being active in one of the many facilities that offer gyms;
- Treat your body with spa services
- Attend inspiring events
- Get inspired
Move to Your New Creative Business Base
After having your visa and preparing your documents, you can go for the enjoyable part. The Dubai Design District offers a wide range of residential alternatives. Most countries provide inexpensive, direct flights. Dubai is at the heart of the largest economy in the world, which is a prime position.
The location of Dubai makes it possible to go on team-building trips and international vacations. With Dubai as your headquarters, you may also grow your company internationally. Dubai Design District can serve as the hub of your expansion. However, there is so much to do in Dubai Design District that you might not want to go somewhere else.
Business Setup in Dubai Design District with RIZ & MONA
Here we have covered all you need to know to launch your business in this special free zone of Dubai. Even if the procedure is straightforward and simply differs in the number of documents necessary from business setup procedures of other free zones, it is still crucial to carefully review the entire process to make sure you don’t overlook something critical.
Individuals who are slightly into entrepreneurship should open a firm in the Dubai Design District Free Zone as this option seems like a very lucrative and simple choice. For those with creative and artistic minds, there are many promising opportunities.
If the possibilities and simplicity of starting a business in the Dubai Design District already enticed you and you don’t intend to use it as a workspace in the coming years, you should start a company in this free zone.
Simply get in touch with RIZ & MONA CONSULTANCY, and everything will be taken care of. Our business consultants will walk you through the entire procedure in the dynamic UAE economy. We’ll help you with everything you should be aware of, from assisting with the pricing of your Dubai Design District business license to handling the documentation process entirely. With our right guidance, you can establish your business in this district and we’ll make sure everything goes well.