Latest News and all That You Should Know for Doing Business in the UAE

  • August 30, 2020
  • 9:00 AM
  • UAE

Most of the time, when clients inquire about a new company setup in the UAE, their main question refers to the charges for a License and Residency Visa in the UAE.

Often though, they are unaware of certain fixed or hidden government fees that pile up at the bottom of their invoice during the setup procedures. Too many times most clients do not know about such fees, or they are not always informed about in the very first place.

Has this happened to you or anyone you know as well? Don’t worry you are not alone here! We will reveal the 7 main hidden fees that you should never forget to inquire about prior to starting your new company setup.

It does not matter which business consultancy firm you’re approaching and do not be afraid to ask your consultant directly if there are other expenses that the representative may have missed to disclose to you.

Transparency is indeed about letting a client know since the very beginning the full spectrum of costs involved for opening a new company in the UAE. A company formation specialist who clearly explains all the charges involved with transparency since day one, is the one you can rely on for each and every step of the process.

Here is your list of 7 hidden fees that you must know about when setting up a new Free Zone Company in the UAE.


It is mandatory to register your company for the e-channel if you are planning to apply for a residency visa as the investor or for future employees. Some Free Zones may ask for a refundable deposit along with the registration fee. Therefore, it is important to know if such deposits will be necessary prior to choosing your license package. Keep in mind that the e-channel registration is mandatory only for the Northern Emirates Free Zone (Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah). Free Zones in Dubai do not require any e-channel registration.


The immigration pre-approval is a regular government praxis which is carried out by all Free Zones in the UAE when one or more investors decide to setup a new company. In certain Free Zones the immigration pre-approval (which has a validity of 6 months) can be done before starting the company registration procedures; whereas, in others, the immigration pre-approval is done at the time of the visa application.


When registering a new company, along with your business license a “facility” will be assigned to your company. There are different types of facilities that you can choose from: a flexi desk or virtual office, which consists of a shared office space solution; a physical or executive office, which is a dedicated office only for your company; warehouse, which can vary in size, and even land ready for construction. Different Free Zones offer several business centers with Flexi desks that clients can use on an hourly basis or renting out buildings for physical offices if clients need to actually sit somewhere and work. In most cases, the “facility” costs are already included in the license fee package; however, it is always advisable to double check the costs. It is mandatory to have at least a flexi desk with your license, otherwise you may encounter difficulties when applying for residency visas or opening a bank account.


The Establishment Card or Immigration File is a card issued by the Immigration Authority of the Emirate where your company is registered when your license has issued. The cards, nowadays mostly an e-card, states the actual existence of the company as a legal entity by having the incorporation and expiry date.


Most Free Zones in the UAE are offering a package of one or multiple free residency visas, some even free for lifetime! That is good to know for any investor, however, do not forget to check if the “Free Visa” costs include in the fee for the Medical Examination and the Emirates ID. Most times, the Free Zone Authority covers only the fee for issuing the entry permit and the visa stamping.


In case you do not remember what the change of status for your visa is, check our post on “Get your Investor Visa in the UAE“. When you are checking your list of costs for a new setup, don’t forget to ask about the charges for changing your visa status, if required.


Having a Health Insurance is always good, but especially if living in the UAE, it is a must! When applying for your residency visa make sure to double check the requirements for a health insurance plan. Certain Free Zones in the UAE make it mandatory to apply for a health insurance along with your residency visa application. Others, instead, do not require a health insurance for Investors Visa nor Employee Visas, but they do require it when applying for Family Visas. So, don’t forget to check if the cost for your Insurance Plan is covered or not. Some Free Zones may offer health insurance within their visa packages as well.

Are you ready to start your research on the best Free Zone license? If So, write directly to our team of experts at We will make it easier for you to register your business today!