Guide to Dubai Free Zones and Real Estate Ownership

meydan freezone dubai

Dubai’s free zones have played a pivotal role in attracting foreign investment and fostering business growth in the emirate. These specially designated areas offer numerous benefits, including 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and simplified business setup processes. However, when it comes to real estate ownership in Dubai, not all free zones are created equal. This comprehensive guide will explore Dubai’s free zones, their connection to real estate ownership, and the process of setting up a company in key free zones.

Real estate ownership in Dubai can only be held by freezones inside Dubai.

Dubai Free Zones and Real Estate Ownership

It’s crucial to understand that only certain Dubai-based free zones allow their company owners to purchase real estate in Dubai. This is an important distinction, as free zones in other emirates, despite their business benefits, do not confer this right. Let’s explore the key Dubai free zones that do allow real estate ownership:

1. Meydan Free Zone

Meydan Free Zone, located in the heart of Dubai, is one of the most popular options for those seeking to combine business setup with the ability to purchase Dubai real estate.


– Allows real estate ownership in Dubai

– Flexible office solutions

– Competitive licensing fees

– Strategic location near Downtown Dubai

2. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

DMCC is another prominent Dubai free zone that permits real estate ownership.


– Allows real estate ownership in Dubai

– World-class infrastructure

– Wide range of business activities supported

– Located in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers area

3. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

DIFC is a leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region.


– Allows real estate ownership in Dubai

– Independent regulatory framework

– Ideal for financial and professional services firms

– Prime location in Dubai’s financial district

4. Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA)

DSOA is a technology-focused free zone that also permits real estate ownership.


– Allows real estate ownership in Dubai

– Tailored for technology companies

– Integrated living and working community

– State-of-the-art infrastructure

It’s important to note that free zones like Sharjah Media City (Shams), Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), or Ajman Free Zone, while offering attractive business setup options, do not provide the ability to purchase real estate in Dubai.

Setting Up a Company in Dubai Free Zones

Let’s explore the process of setting up a company in two of the most popular Dubai free zones that allow real estate ownership:

Meydan Free Zone Setup Process:

1. Choose your business activity

2. Select your company name

3. Prepare and submit required documents (passport copies, business plan, etc.)

4. Pay the license and registration fees

5. Receive initial approval

6. Sign the lease agreement for your chosen office solution

7. Obtain your license and establishment card

DMCC Free Zone Setup Process:

1. Apply online and submit initial documents

2. Receive initial approval

3. Select your company name and business activity

4. Choose your office space (physical or flexi-desk)

5. Submit all required documents

6. Pay registration and license fees

7. Receive your company license and related documents

Other Dubai Free Zones

While Meydan and DMCC are popular choices, other Dubai free zones worth considering include:

1. Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)

2. Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)

3. Dubai South

4. Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)

5. Dubai Design District (d3)

Each of these free zones has its own specialization and benefits, and it’s worth researching which one aligns best with your business needs and future plans.

Options for Dubai Residents

For individuals already residing in Dubai who wish to set up a free zone company, there are additional options outside of Dubai that might be worth considering, depending on their specific needs:

These companies can NOT buy real estate in Dubai but are worth mentioning because they are competitive in other aspects like cost, setup timings and visas.

1. Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)


– Low setup and renewal costs

– Wide range of business activities

– Flexible office solutions

2. Sharjah Media City (Shams)


– Competitive pricing

– Fast and easy setup process

– Ideal for media and creative businesses

3. Ajman Free Zone


– Cost-effective setup and renewal fees

– Strategic location

– 100% repatriation of capital and profits

4. Fujairah Creative City


– Competitive pricing

– Suitable for media and creative industries

– No paid-up capital requirement

While these free zones offer attractive business setup options, it’s crucial to remember that they do not provide the ability to purchase real estate in Dubai. However, they can be excellent choices for Dubai residents looking for cost-effective business setup solutions who don’t require the real estate ownership option.

Choosing the right free zone is a crucial decision that can impact your business operations and investment opportunities in Dubai. If the ability to purchase real estate in Dubai is a priority, focusing on Dubai-based free zones like Meydan, DMCC, DIFC, or DSOA is essential. These zones not only offer the benefits of a free zone company but also open doors to Dubai’s dynamic real estate market.

For those already residing in Dubai or those who prioritize cost-effective business setup over real estate ownership, exploring options in neighboring emirates can provide additional benefits and flexibility.

Regardless of which option you choose, it’s advisable to consult with a licensed business setup consultant or legal advisor to ensure you’re making the best choice for your specific circumstances and business goals. The landscape of free zones and their regulations can change, so staying informed about the latest developments is crucial for making the best decision for your business and investment strategy in the UAE.

About Agent

Charlie Moxom

Real Estate Broker

971 50 326 9658‬

Get in touch if you would like further guidance on this subject or want to know anything else about the lifestyle you could have living in Dubai

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