JAFZA - Jebel Ali Free Zone


Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) is the oldest free zone of the UAE. It was founded in 1985 and is currently the largest free zone in Dubai.

It has become home to more than 9,500 international and local companies including factories and logistics firms, manufacturing plants and assembling units, and the overall annual trade value generated by these companies exceeds $100 billion.

Jebel Ali Free Zone has direct access to Jebel Ali Sea Port (Port Jebel Ali) and Al Maktoum International Airport (also known as Dubai World Central). JAFZA is also the primary free zone of DP World, one of the world’s major logistics companies and port operators.

It has a single customs area, which helps to reduce cargo clearance time and costs.

Shipping, logistics, and trading companies are often based in this free zone. If you are intending to implement such a business setup in Dubai, JAFZA has a lot to offer:

Logistic Corridor

  • By sea: Port Jebel Ali has one of the best global ocean connectivities. It serves over 150 shipping lines that are capable of handling over 19 million containers per year.     
  • By air: Al Maktoum International Airport is considered to be one of the largest cargo airports around the globe. 
  • By land: The UAE region is fully equipped with an extensive highway link. It makes the cargo travel fast and safely in Dubai and between the emirates. 
  • By Rail: Etihad Rail, UAE’s national rail project, is currently under construction. Once completed, its second stage is going to link JAFZA to the entire Arabian Peninsula. 



Jebel Ali Free Zone has a vast portfolio of facilities:

  • Flexi-desks
  • Plots of land
  • Warehouses
  • Showrooms
  • Customized development solutions
  • Offices
  • Business park
  • Retail outlets
  • On-site residence

Note that it is difficult to get a flexi-desk for Jebel Ali Free Zone company setup due to their low availability. If you are planning to start your business here, you should consider an office space right away.


JAFZA provides its clients with five available company types based on the preferred number of shareholders with an array of various license types and activities to choose from. JAFZA company formation options are not subject to any restrictions on foreign ownership.

The company formation types are:

  1. FCZO (Free Zone Company). It is basically a free zone LLC formed by multiple shareholders which may include both individuals and non-individuals (companies).
  2. FZE (Free Zone Establishment). It is an LLC with a single shareholder who can be either an individual or non-individual (company).
  3. PLC (Public Listed Company). This is an entity type that resembles an LLC with two or more shareholders and a public offering of its shares on the stock exchange market.
  4. Branch. As the name suggests, it is a branch opened by a parent company within JAFZA with 100% ownership by the parent company and subject to its name and activities.
  5. Offshore company. This legal entity type is aimed at conducting business outside of the company’s location or registered jurisdiction. It has to have at least one shareholder with no limit to their maximum number and may include both individuals and non-individuals (companies).


According to the type of your business setup in UAE, the category of your license can be different.

The list of activities is quite vast, the following license categories are offered:

  • Trading
  • Industrial
  • Service
  • Logistics
  • E-Commerce
  • General Trading

Companies with a service activity can be registered only as a branch of an existing UAE Mainland entity.

Service and Trading licenses have 2 and 3 types respectively. They differ depending on the number of activities you can have under the license:

1st type: up to 7 activities from the same group

2nd type: up to 12 activities from two or more groups.

3rd type: no restrictions on the number of activities from 3 or more groups.

Type 3 license in Trading essentially constitutes the General Trading license.

If you want to add an extra activity to any type of license, it will cost 500 AED.

JAFZA company formation is highly recommended for those who are planning to deal with international trading, distribution, or logistics sectors.


JAFZA company setup can be started without your presence, but you will need to make a visit to the free zone when the documents of your company are generated.

Here is the list of basic documents for JAFZA company registration:

  • Application form
  • Brief project summary (1 page is sufficient)
  • Passport copy
  • Company name options
  • Business activities

The timeframe of Jebel Ali free zone company setup can vary from 3 to 14 work days starting from the date of submission of all the required documents. It depends on the business activity and the type of facility that you choose. Note that it is required to have a lease agreement in time for company setup.


In order to execute company renewal, you need to pay:

  • License fees
  • Office (facility) fees
  • Establishment card costs

Renewal of Jebel Ali Free Zone license costs the same as JAFZA company registration.

The company renewal can be done without visiting Jebel Ali Free Zone.

You need to provide your company’s audit report at the time of company renewal. Audit can be done through any UAE licensed and accredited auditing company.

License can be renewed for three years for companies having a plot of land and a sublease facility.

Jebel Ali Free Zone can be suitable for the following setups:

  • International trading
  • Importing and exporting
  • Distributing and logistics
  • Manufacturing

The price of the company formation in Jebel Ali Free Zone might seem higher than in other zones, but JAFZA is a prestigious place to be and has all possible types of facilities.

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