How to receive trade license in UAE and qualify for 0% income tax

Freelance or company setup. With company you have Free Zone or Mainland as options.

Your 0% income tax already starts with freelance. To register as a freelancer, you need to select the industry area, apply, pay fees, wait, receive documents, come for a medical test and a finger print appointment and receive the Emirates ID.

The process for the company is similar, besides Mainland, where you need to setup on-site.

The fees differ between a Free Zone and a Mainland, and for different Free Zones, there are maybe 15-20 different Free Zones here. You can select the one that you like most.

In general it will take 3-4 weeks to receive all the documents. The Emirates ID, the card, can take longer as that visa office has lots of applications to process. The eResidence you get fast and in time.

Important thing to know is once you selected a Free Zone, you can have an office space only in that Zone and not in the other. So become aware of the place you are coming to. The annual license is per year, while visa is for 2 years.

Below is a list of documents required for a setup.


  • Scan of passport
  • Evidence of previous self-employment like invoices, contracts, any other relevant extracts or future projections

Company Setup

  • Scan of passport
  • Company name
  • List of shareholders, names of managing director
  • Founding capital
  • Other depending on activity and setup

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