There are numerous items on the entrepreneur’s to-do list, especially when contemplating company formation in Dubai. One of the most pressing is the issue of visas, which affects not only business owners but also their employees, family members, and domestic staff. Free zones are economic zones with preferential tax and customs rates.
What is a Free Zone Visa in the UAE?
In a nutshell, free zone visas are issued by Dubai free zones. They are usually associated with a free zone licence in Dubai, which entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as their employees, dependents, and domestic staff, can obtain.
Free zones are economic zones that provide unique advantages to businesses that operate within them. There are over 40 in the UAE, all of which provide quick and affordable company incorporation and licensing, as well as smooth workflows and a variety of other benefits.
Important Points to Remember about UAE Free Zone Visa
The only entity authorised to issue the UAE Freezone visa is the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA).
This visa is only valid for three years and cannot be renewed.
This visa is available to two types of applicants. The first person is the one who is not a citizen of the country. The other individual is already a citizen of the country.
The holders of this visa are not permitted to work outside of free zones.
Benefits of UAE Free Zone Visa
1. Tax exemption
You are not required to pay import, export, or personal taxes if you have this visa. You will also be exempt from corporate taxes for a set period of time, which can be extended at any time.
2. 100% ownership.
In 2018, the UAE passed legislation allowing foreign investors and entrepreneurs to obtain 100% ownership of their company without the need for an Emirati shareholder. As a result, foreign investors would have complete control over the company.
3. Healthcare access
With a free zone visa, you can have access to all the healthcare services that a UAE resident has access to. You can also obtain health insurance if necessary
4. Efficient financial access
With a UAE residence visa, you can open a bank account and transfer funds immediately.
5. Lease corporate premises
Accessibility to long-term leasing options lasting up to 25 years
6. Free transfer of funds
You can transfer funds without paying a fee.
7. Visa-free travel
Finally, holders of a Dubai free zone visa are exempt from visa requirements in certain countries.
Free Zone Visa Process in Dubai
You can apply for a free zone visa in just five easy steps. The steps are the same whether this applies to you, a family member, or an employee you are hiring.
1. Register for E-Channel services
To start, in order to apply for this type of visa, you must first register for e-channel services. The UAE government put in place this online system to eliminate paperwork and simplify the application process. This is a benefit that provides transparency and allows investors to save time when applying for this visa.
You only need to complete a few simple steps to register for e-channel services. The first step is to ask your free zone agent to register your company for these online services. You must pay the required fee and a refundable security deposit after your agent completes the registration.
2. Entry permit
You’ll need to apply for your entry permit, also known as an employment visa, once you’ve registered for E-Channel services. This is essentially a temporary visa that is only valid for 60 days. Entry permits are usually issued within 15 days, but for an extra fee of AED 1,000, you can request an express service that takes 5-7 working days.
It is strongly advised that you do not leave the UAE after obtaining your entry permit. This can result in discrepancies in your immigration file, which can cause delays in the process. Once your entry permit is complete, it will be emailed to you.
3. Status change
The status change is the next step. This is how your entry permit is activated. This can be accomplished by stamping your passport in the UAE, presenting your visa to immigration at an airport when entering the UAE, or leaving the UAE by land and having your permit stamped upon re-entry.
4. Medical and Emirates ID registration.
Only a blood test and a chest X-ray will be performed as part of the medical fitness test. The test usually takes a few hours, and the results are available within three working days. You will be able to apply for an Emirates ID card once your results are received.
This card will allow you to do a variety of things, including open a bank account and sign contracts. As a result, you must go to an official ID authority and complete the application process.
5. Residence visa stamping
The last step is to attach the actual residence visa to your passport. This can be done by presenting your passport to the relevant immigration authority in the UAE. Once this stage is completed, you will be able to live and work in Dubai until your visa expires.
Obtaining a UAE-free zone visa is a smart move if you want to live in this lovely country. And, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you should have no trouble getting your visa!