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Dubai World Trade Centre cuts licensing fees

The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), a free zone located in the heart of Dubai’s central business district, has recently reduced free zone registration and licensing fees by 50 to 70%, while also reducing immigration-related service fees by 40 to 50% depending on the scale of a business operation.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the DWTC Authority (DWTCA), said: “DWTC’s commercial propositions are designed to support the government’s mandate on reducing fees to scale down the cost of doing business for the private sector and to offer a viable ecosystem that supports sustainable, long-term success. The significant reductions will collectively increase the competitiveness of, and the ease of doing business within the DWTCA free zone.”

The move will benefit big companies that are looking to establish their headquarters in Dubai and will also help existing companies spend less when doing business. Last year the DWTC relaxed the requirement for Free Zone Companies (FZCOs) and Free Zone Establishments (FZEs) to provide AED 300,000 paid up share capital and introduced cost-effective all-inclusive packages to serve smaller businesses.

The DWTCA is able to license most of the activities that are permissible under UAE law. In addition to the Commercial, General Trading, Professional and Event Management licence categories, the DWTC Authority also provides the option for locally-licensed onshore entities to either relocate or be established in the Free Zone. This is achieved though the issuing of a Business Operating Permit to entities already licensed by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) that want to obtain a lease and operate in the Free Zone.

Is office space required?
In order to obtain a licence, a company must have a facility within the DWTC Free Zone and DWTCA permits a number of leasing options. ‘Hot desk’ or ‘executive office’ space is available in Sheikh Rashed Tower, but if a client requires more substantial office space or more visas, One Central offers both standard and flexible offices or shell and core offices, as well as a number of serviced business centres.

What are the share capital requirements?
A minimum capital of AED 1,000 is required. For any company with a share capital of AED 300,000 and below, a paid up capital is not mandatory and will only be required if there is a need by the company to issue a share certificate. For any company with a share capital in excess of AED 300,000, paid up capital is mandatory.

What is the process? Will I have to visit DWTC Free Zone?
Following the submission of relevant documents, the Free Zone will issue an initial approval. The client is then required to visit the offices at the Free Zone to sign the memorandum of agreement. However, an authorised person can be given a power of attorney (POA) to sign the documents. Following the signing, the license will be issued. The client or authorised person with POA will then need to sign the lease agreement. The whole process, including the issuance of the establishment card, will take around two weeks.

Do I need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to incorporate a company in DWTC?

The General Manager, if a current Dubai Resident visa holder, will need to provide an NOC. This is not a requirement for shareholders.

What about visa allocation and costs?
A licence with a ‘Hot Desk’ lease will offer a maximum of two visas. Office space will be required for additional visas. Visa costs in DWTC are competitively priced in comparison to other Free Zones.

Why should I incorporate a company in DWTC?

  • A Free Zone entity can be owned 100% by a foreign individual or non-individual (company) without the need for a local partner.
  • Excellent location in Central Dubai, close to Dubai Airport, Downtown Dubai and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). DWTC is also a good location for business owners to conduct meetings, meet clients and network for new business. The DWTC organises some of the biggest conferences and events.
  • No corporate or income tax is levied on individuals or companies operating within the Free Zone for 50 years.
  • DWTC allows goods to be distributed outside the Free Zone through using a licensed distributor.

For further information, including fees, on setting up in the DWTC Free Zone, please contact Joella Mistry.

Joella Mistry


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