How to Setup a Business in Dubai Media City Free Zone

September 14, 2023

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Dubai Media City (DMC) is a free zone in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates established in January 2001. The purpose for its creation was to strengthen Dubai’s media footing and to make it region’s media hub. Dubai Media City has opened its doors for people with creative minds. Currently, DMC comprises of more than 2000 regional as well as international media companies with over 20,000 employees working for them. These companies enjoy benefits of the free zone which includes complete ownership, no personal or corporate tax, complete repatriation of capital and profits as well as no currency restrictions. The benefits also incorporate value-added services like networking opportunities, venue management services, industry building programs and government services.

Dubai Media City provides world-class infrastructure to all kinds of media houses which include publishing, news agencies, advertising and communication, event management, a media consultancy, online media, production and broadcasting. DMC provides such an environment to its companies that they get a platform to show their products and services as well as get an opportunity to interact with world’s leading marketing agencies and media giants like CNNCNBCForbes and Sony.

Process of Setting up Business in Dubai Media City:

Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) is responsible for registration and licensing of companies established in Dubai Media City. There are various legal structure options available to you while setting up your business. It depends on your need to opt for one of the following structure.

  1. Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)
  2. Branch of a foreign/ UAE company
  3. Freelance Permit

1. Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC):

An FZ-LLC is an independent legal entity with individual or corporate shareholders or combination of individual and corporate shareholders.

FZ-LLC With individual as Shareholder:

There are three stages which are explained here,

FZ-LLC With Individual as Shareholder

Stage 1: Apply

Submit the application and present the following documents for approval

  1. Application form for the License.
  2. Business Plan.
  3. Valid passport copy(s) of:
  • Shareholders of the proposed company
  • Manager of the proposed company
  • Director(s) of the proposed company
  • Legal representative, if appointed

Stage 2: Submit Documents and Payments

  1. Submit the documents*.
  2. Select suitable commercial space
    (We can assist you in finding suitable office and commercial space)
  3. Pay necessary fees

Stage 3: Sign and Collect

  1. Sign and collect the lease
  2. Sign and collect Articles and Memorandum of Association
  3. Collect License and Certificate of Incorporation

The documents include,

  1. Application for Registration
  2. CV of Shareholder(s)
  3. Bank Reference Letter for Shareholder(s)
  4. Resolution for the Incorporation of FZ-LLC
  5. NOC for Manager from the Current UAE Sponsor (if applicable)
  6. RIC form for Shareholder(s), director(s) and manager
  7. Proof of Share Capital from Bank or Deposit Receipt in Trust Account

FZ-LLC with Corporate Person as Shareholder:

Stage 1 is same as of individual person; additionally, it requires submission of a copy of the certificate of incorporation.
Stage 2 is also similar but the documents to submit are,

  • Application for Registration
  • Company Incorporation Certificate
  • Certificate of Continuity or Existence or Good Standing
  • MOA and AOA of Parent Company
  • Resolution for Incorporation of FZ-LLC
  • NOC for Manager from current UAE sponsor
  • RIC form for Shareholder(s), Director(s) & Manager
  • Proof of Share Capital from Bank or Deposit receipt in trust account

The third stage is also the same for a corporate person as it was for an individual i.e. to sign and collect the lease, Articles and Memorandum of Association, License and Certificate of Incorporation.

FZ-LLC with Individual and Corporate Person as Shareholder:

All the stages are same as stated previously. But all the documents mentioned in stage 2 for the individual as well as for corporate person will be required for submission in this case.

2. Branch of a Foreign/UAE Company

A branch of a foreign/ UAE company is a part of its parent company to which it is legally dependent. It may carry out some or all of the operations conducted by its parent company.

Branch of Foreign Company:

Again, all stages are same as mentioned before. But submission of documents in stage 2 include,

  1. Application for Registration
  2. Trade License of Parent Company issued by DED
  3. MOA and AOA of Parent Company
  4. Resolution for the establishment of Branch
  5. NOC from the Current UAE Sponsor
  6. RIC form for Manager

Branch of UAE Company:

Stage 1: Submit an application form for a license, business plan and UAE license copy. It should be noted here that companies who have been carrying out their business operations for 2 years at least will qualify for setting a branch.
Stage 2: Submit documents, select commercial space and payment of fees. The documents required to submit are same as mentioned for a branch of the foreign
Stage 3: Sign and collect your lease and license.

Minimum Capital Requirement:

All free zone limited liability companies established in Dubai Media City must have a minimum paid up capital of AED 50,000 which will have to be paid before the company formation in DMC. However, companies operating in TV and Radio segment are required to deposit AED 2,500,000. Branch of a foreign or a UAE company established in DMC does not have any minimum capital requirement.

3. Freelance Permit

The freelance permit provides an opportunity to work as freelance professional. This permit recognizes you as an individual practitioner allowing you to set up your business in your birth name and not a brand name. The setup process of freelancer is divided into three steps,

Step 1: Submit the application form for the license, business plan, valid passport copy of the applicant, personal reference letters (minimum 3), and sample of work or portfolio of the applicant.

Step 2: Submit the documents, select suitable commercial space and pay necessary fees. Documents include,

  1. Application for Registration
  2. CV of Freelancer
  3. Bank Reference letter for Freelancer
  4. RIC form of Freelancer

Step 3: Sign the occupant agreement and collect Freelance Permit.

In order to set up a media business in Dubai Media City, you will require assistance from a consultant group who will guide you through all of these phases in a detailed manner. KWS Middle East is a consultant company operating for more than ten years in Dubai, has a team of professional experts who will help you in the formation of your company with greater ease and less cost.

At KWS Middle East we provide Free Consultancy to businesses and take care of all the requirements and processes which can save investors a lot of time, money and effort.

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