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How to Get a UAE Free Zone Visa?

The United Arab Emirates is ahead of all other countries in terms of business and other commercial projects. Free zones in Dubai and across UAE offer ease of business setup complimented by highly efficient infrastructure, 100% ownership, and a smooth workflow process. SMEs, large corporations, and professionals equally enjoy several exclusive advantages that facilitate the efficient operation of business activities within as well as outside the UAE. However, before starting a business, investors and entrepreneurs must acquire a Dubai Free Zone Visa to make all the above-mentioned accomplish effortlessly. 

So, this article will enlighten you about the application process, different visa types, and the notable rules and regulations of the Dubai Free Zone Visa. 

Free zones operating in the UAE

As per the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, the following free zones are currently active in the country:

  • Dubai Healthcare City 
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone 
  • Dubai Media City 
  • Masdar City Free Zone 
  • Dubai Maritime City
  • Hamriyah Free Zone 
  • Dubai Commerce City 
  • Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone 
  • Creative City Free Zone 
  • Ajman Free Zone
  • Dubai South 
  • Fujairah Free Zone 
  • Dubai World Trade Centre 
  • Sharjah Publishing City 
  • Dubai Design District
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
  • Dubai Science Park 
  • International Humanitarian City 
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre 
  • Sharjah Media City – Shams 
  • Dubai Outsource City 
  • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF) 
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis  
  • Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone 
  • Dubai International Financial Centre 
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market
  • Dubai Internet City 
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Zone 
  • Ajman Media City Free Zone 
  • Dubai International Academic City 
  • Meydan Free Zone 
  • Dubai Production City 
  • Twofour54 
  • Dubai Studio City 

Significant features of the Dubai Free Zone Visa

  • No association with the Ministry of Labor 
  • Single window administration 
  • Quick procedure 
  • Provision to apply for visas manually in English 
  • Allows 3-year UAE Free Zone Visa (in most of the free zones) 

Key benefits of Dubai Free Zone Visa

Individuals or firms going through the free zone visa process can avail of the following benefits:- 

  • Exemption from tax 
  • Ownership of the business 
  • Access to efficient financial services 
  • Corporate facilities 
  • Access to healthcare facilities 

Types of Dubai Free Zone Visa

  • Investor Visa

Foreign investors who have an established business or are willing to start a business anywhere across UAE can acquire an investor visa, which provides them with temporary residence for three years. 

  • Employment Visa

Employees who hold an employment letter from a registered company in any of the free zones can apply for an employment visa in the UAE. 

  • Temporary Visa

Expats with any relative or friend residing in the UAE who can sponsor their visa can get legal entry into the UAE for 90 days through a temporary visa. 

  • Mission Visa

Mission visas are basically single-entry permits for those individuals who want to visit UAE for a short-term work assignment. 

  • Visit Visa

Visit visas are provided on the basis of the applicant’s nationality for 14 to 90 days for short visits to the UAE. 

Important rules & Regulations:

  • Entrepreneurs intending to register their business in Dubai free zone are eligible to apply for the investor visa, which is valid for three years. Further, their staff and employees can also apply for a residence visa.
  • Any individual working in a registered free zone company can also apply for a residence visa, which has a validity of three years. 
  • The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) issues all types of visas in the UAE free zones. Besides, the process is more straightforward as it does not involve any approval or consent of the UAE Ministry of labor. 
  • Dubai Free Zone Visa prohibits its holders to work outside the territory of the free zone, as companies do not possess any UAE labor contract. Nonetheless, if anyone wants to get a work permit for the same, then they need to get a NOC issued by the ministry of labor. 

Step-by-step guide for UAE Free Zone Visa

UAE Free Zone Visa application involves 5 simple steps – 

  • Register for E-channel services

Initiate the process by getting online and applying for the Dubai free zone visa via E-channel services. These services were specifically designed by the UAE government to eliminate the paperwork and streamline the visa process. Thus, the process becomes much more faster and transparent than before. 

So, all you need to do is log in to the e-channel website and enter your personal credentials as requested. Further, deposit a mandatory registration fee along with a refundable security amount. An added advantage is that you can appoint a free zone agent to complete this process for you. 

  • Apply for an entry permit/visa

Next, apply for an entry permit or employment visa. this visa is basically a temporary visa that is valid for about 60 days and usually takes 15 days to obtain. However, if you leave UAE after applying for an employment visa, it can cause discrepancies or delays in the immigration process. 

  • Initiate status change

The status change refers to the activation of the entry permit. It is a necessary step to complete the visa process. So basically, there are three different ways to execute this step –  

  • In-country status – If you are in Dubai, submit the employment visa to the immigration office and get it activated for further processing. This is the simplest method and usually takes 3-5 days. 
  • Out-country status – This step is applicable to those who are outside the UAE or planning to leave UAE shortly after receiving the employment visa. They can exit the country, re-enter and present the visa to the immigration office at the airport. The immigration officials will check the details and will further stamp and activate the visa. 
  • Border run – This process generally works well for UAE citizens or those holding UAE passports. They can exit the country by land and later re-enter, present the visa to the immigration officer and get a stamp on it. 
  • Undertake medical fitness test

Moving on to the fourth step which is the medical fitness test. The applicant has to undergo a chest X-ray and a blood test to check for any infectious diseases. This step hardly takes a few hours and the applicant can get the results within two to three working days. 

  • Apply for Emirates ID

Once you receive the results of your medical tests, you next need to apply for an Emirates ID card. It is issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship to UAE citizens & residents for three years. An Emirates ID works as an identity card that influences many benefits for its holder such as opening a bank account, getting government contracts, documents to pass immigration, etc. 

  • Get the visa stamped on the passport

The last and final step of the process is getting the residence visa stamp or sticker on the passport. Submit the passport to the immigration authority and within 15 days, you will receive your passport back with your residence visa stamp on it. However, make sure to remain inside the UAE during this period. 

  • Visa for the dependents

Once you obtain your UAE Free Zone Visa, you are now eligible to apply for your dependent’s visa which includes visas for your spouse, children, domestic helpers, etc. 

You may also visit : How To Obtain a Catering License In Dubai?

Wrap up

UAE is indeed a haven for business innovations, and foreign investors and entrepreneurs are constantly looking to develop their businesses in the UAE. Dubai Free zones are usually the preferred choice for investors because of the endless benefits it provides to the business as well as its allies. One among those is the Dubai Free Zone Visa which allows foreign investors to legally live and work in the UAE. 

However, with the given details it is understandable that the process is not that simple to achieve. Besides, with the various types of registrations and applications, the process can seem quite complicated and confusing. Hence, it is better to seek the right guidance and gain complete information about the procedure before stepping into the process. 

Shuraa Business Setup has been working in this field for the past 20 years and thus can handle this process conveniently for you. All you got to do is contact the consultancy team of Shuraa at +97144081900, WhatsApp at +971 50 777 5554, or send an email to info@shuraa.com. 

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