GENERAL

The Benefits of a Free Zone Business Setup in Sharjah     

The UAE ranked #1 in West Asia in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is one of the reasons that makes Sharjah, its third-largest city, one of the GCC’s most attractive destinations for your dream business. It offers world-class infrastructure, a strategic location, access to domestic and regional markets and a high-quality workforce. No wonder then that there are more than 60,000 SMEs and startups here. The government has taken several initiatives to attract foreign investors.

If you wish to set up business in Sharjah, do consider doing so in a free zone. It is well-connected, business-friendly and future-ready. There are licences for entrepreneurs, companies and freelancers as well. Here are some of the main advantages of setting up a business in Sharjah’s free zones with the help of a professional to boost your entrepreneurial journey in 2023 and beyond.

Licensing Options

You can consider a free zone that offers various types of licenses, like ecommerce licence, general trading licence, service licence and commercial licence, in just 45 minutes. You may get discounts on multi-year licences and up to 20 visas under one licence. This is highly beneficial, since other regions may require several permits to avoid penalties. Setting up your business in a free zone also saves you from tedious paperwork and furnishing documents to obtain approvals from government entities, like the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Economy and Commerce for industrial licences. 

100% Foreign Ownership

This is quite a huge push to make the country appealing to expat investors. Under this, a business, bond, equity, property or natural resources can be fully owned by someone who is not a citizen of the UAE. It will no longer be restricted to a maximum of 49% like before where the remaining 51% would belong to a UAE national like an Emirati sponsor. This has been allowed to attract millions of dollars into the Gulf State. It is also an effort to ‘deconstruct the traditional business norms’ and encourage:

  • Sustainable development 
  • Economic diversification. 

There was a massive influx of foreign investments after this news first flashed in 2020. This is applicable to sectors like water production, paint, building materials, food, metals and construction and flooring. The new strategy is an excellent way to cater to the monetary blows that the UAE faced during COVID-19. Altogether, this policy is quite a win-win situation for both the investor and Sharjah. 

Tax Benefits 

Free zones are often known as special economic zones. There is a preferential corporate tax rate of 0% on their ‘qualifying income’ only. This is as per the Article 3 of the UAE Corporate Tax Act as per the Federal Decree Law. There is also a 100% redemption on import and export taxes in the Sharjah free zones. But know that the corporate income tax will be implemented from June 2023 wherein 9% for taxable income will be applicable in a year on an amount exceeding AED 375,000. This is a little more than $100,000. But know that it is the lowest among all other states that have an existing CIT. 

Vibrant Population 

Sharjah comprises a young, talented and multicultural population. The core reason for this is the city’s committed investment in education. The education market size is expected to grow by $718 million from 2022 to 2026 at a 5% CAGR. The UAE’s primary and higher education systems further rank among the top 20 in the world. This ensures Sharjah is home to roughly 47,000 students who will contribute to the emirate’s already highly qualified and educated manpower. So, a business set up in a Sharjah free zone can help you get access to a standard labour pool for your organisation. 

Location Benefit

Sharjah borders all other UAE emirates. This way it offers seamless access to hubs in the UAE and GCC via sea, air and land. These are major producers of industrial minerals like gold, chromium, copper, nickel, silver and platinum. No wonder they are one of the top profitable markets across the globe. The Sharjah airport with the region’s leading affordable airline Air Arabia connects Africa, Asia and Europe.


The city is also in proximity (19 kms) to Dubai International Airport which opens a world of opportunities. Three seaports also provide the quickest connection between GCC and Asia. Further, Etihad Rail offers a chance to conduct trade with big markets like Saudi Arabia.

Sharjah has taken active steps to become self-sufficient over the years. Get in touch with a business set-up platform in the free zone that gives convenience and flexibility with more than 1,500 business activities. Kick-start your business setup in Sharjah with an immigration card and e-channel in 2 days, an entry permit in 04 days and UAE residency and Emirates ID in just 5 days! All of these will help you penetrate and expand in this region. 

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