Abu Dhabi Free Zones

Michael R. Scotch

1) Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) & Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)

When it comes to airline services, the Abu Dhabi Airports Company provides a vast spectrum of options to businesses, operators and airlines with its varied subsidiaries. The company aims to lead the airport industry hence seeks to constantly enhance its products, services and infrastructure. They only work with high level service providers, experts and associate themselves in partnerships that will make them world-class and ensure their financial stability in return.


Their services:


  1. Aviation services: The Abu Dhabi Airports Company serves current and pre-existing cargo and passenger airlines with widespread development and support packages. They also offer services such as cargo, ground handling and catering that serve as an additional benefit to the airport’s operations.
  2. Commercial services: Some of the opportunities that ADAC airports offers to deliver excellent service quality are Hospitality services, retail, catering and advertising spots.
  3. Procurement and tenders: This function takes place in the ADAC headquarters.

    The department serves 5 airports :
    1. Sir Bani Yas Island Airport
    2. Abu Dhabi International Airport
    3. Delma Island Airport
    4. Al Bateen Executive Airport
    5. Al Ain International Airport (decentralized ADAC office located here)

2) Abu Dhabi Airport Business City

To accomplish the Government’s vision of an ambitious and dynamic economy by 2030, Abu Dhabi Airport business city was established to develop and manage business centres or Free Zones around the airports. These Free Zones provide office solutions and warehousing to businesses and include other unique benefits as well.


Government mandates:

  • The Al Ain International, Abu Dhabi International and Al Bateen Executive jet airports were declared as Free Zone areas in 2010.
  • Starting with Abu Dhabi international airport, the business city is to ensure that these airports and their stakeholders receive Free Zone services


Target sectors


The following are the target sectors for the business city. It aims to become the preferred destination for these business sectors:


  • Trade
  • Defense
  • Logistics
  • Cargo
  • Aviation
  • Aerospace
  • Airport services
  • Freight
  • Light Industries
  • Marketing and Events
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • IT and Telecommunication
  • Consultancy management
  • Service providers who can provide aviation friendly activities from around the airport for export and import purposes.


Free Zone benefits:


Some of the Business City’s benefits are:

  • Speedy, simple licensing and registration with ‘One-Stop-Shop’
  • Zero custom duties
  • Full foreign ownership
  • 100% corporate and income tax exemptions
  • Easy access to regional markets.
  • In-house IT and telecommunications services
  • Close proximity to the airport to facilitate imports and exports
  • 24/7 security and access to facilities
  • Independent regulations
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits


Commercial districts under the Business City Jurisdiction:


  • Airport City
  • Al Falah District
  • Southside Destination Village
  • T3 Business Park
  • Logistics Park


Facilities and infrastructure:


  • Retail licenses
  • Land for development
  • Commercial offices
  • Warehousing units
  • Furnished offices (Flexi-Desk and  Executive options)
  • Partially fitted-out offices
  • Amenities to serve everyday business needs


Our Services:


  • Registration and Licensing of your company
  • Leasing and Rapid Visa processing for employees


Licensing includes:

  • Trade licenses
  • Light industrial licenses
  • Service licenses


Businesses can function as:

  • A Branch of a Foreign of Local Company
  • A Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) – Natural/Individual
  • A Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC) - Corporate

3) Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) & Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ)

To quicken the economic development of Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Ports Company aims to re-structure the maritime landscape by efficiently working with the government, regulators and stakeholders and create a competent supply chain model. ADPC takes it in its stride to enhance the communities that they serve and manage a vast array of assets at the ports from Al Sila to Khalifa.


It is essential to maintain a world class infrastructure at the ports to contribute widely to the growth and development of the economy. It is equally important to focus on the support services that are provided outside of the port gates which effectively aid in industrial and trade growth. With the ever changing market demands, the port facilities have to be customised accordingly keeping the strategy ‘Customer centric’.


The popular flagship Khalifa port is the only port that houses a semi-automated container terminal and 6 of the largest ship-to-shore cranes in whole region.

4) Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad)

Kizad provides a platform for business growth to both local and international investors, enabling easier access to regional and international markets and low costs. Abu Dhabi aims to accomplish sustainable growth as per its Vision 2030 and Kizad plays an integral role by providing numerous opportunities at a global level. Through its world class infrastructure and strategic location, it makes it easy to connect with over 4.5 bn customers across 4 different time zones.


Kizad is best known for:


  • Its competitive lease prices
  • New standards of industrial efficiency
  • Low utility costs


These benefits will ensure a seamless business experience aiming to sustain them for longer periods of time and with these unmatched advantages. Additionally, to provide high quality value and increased convenience to its consumers, Kizad has further refined the ‘One stop Shop’ concept, by establishing a framework for rapid processes. This framework includes enhanced relationships with licensing authorities, government and utility companies to remove intermediaries and fasten the approval process.


To start a Business in KIZAD:


Step 1: The following forms (depending on type of facility or operation the party wants to incorporate) need to be filled:


  • Industrial Project Application (IPA) form.
  • Logistics Project Application (LPA) form.
  • Pre-built Warehousing Application (WLA) form.
  • Technical Project Details (IP) form.


Step 2: Once the forms are filled, the Business and Technical services teams of KIZAD will review the forms and screen them as required for the following steps.


Step 3: To find the best unit of land for your business, the land applications are sent to the ‘Plot Allocation Committee’. They find and assign land based on the nature and requirements of your business.


Step 4: After a detailed analysis is done by both parties, the applicant and Kizad, an agreement is created on the incorporation of the company within the industrial zone. Here, a preliminary agreement can be chosen by the applicant, to finish procedures that are required before the final agreement is established. Kizad helps aid this process with an instrument enabling closer proximity to third party investments and finances.


Note: Furnished spaces like warehouses and work spaces will also be reviewed by the tech and finance teams before it is allotted to the occupier. The agreements will either be given on a reservation basis where the agreement states that the allotted unit will be held by the Kizad for a particular amount of time or on a lease basis. A lease agreement (pre- agreed after completion of unit) states the number of units, their design, specifications and date of delivery.



5) Masdar City Free Zone

Known widely for its renewable energy and clean technology, Masdar City is one of the fastest growing Free Zones located closer to the Abu Dhabi International airport.


What does Masdar City offer?


  • Full foreign ownership.
  • Full exemption from corporate and personal income taxes.
  • Zero import tariffs.
  • Quick set-up with a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for registration, government relations and visa processing.
  • Close to Khalifa city, Abu Dhabi international airport, Yas Island and Dubai
  • Freedom of repatriation of both capital and profits.
  • Beautiful, sustainable living and working business clusters.
  • Launching point into local, regional and international markets.
  • Critical mass of sector knowledge and talent.
  • R&D Hub partnering with Masdar Institute.
  • Highly cost effective licensing and office space.


This city has created a business friendly platform with world class facilities, infrastructure and flexible investment regulations for successful business conducts.


Masdar City – Legal structures


Those companies within this Free Zone work in accordance with the regulations drawn by Masdar City.  To establish a company, the city allows for the establishment through the following legal structures:


  • A Free Zone Limited Liability Company with corporate and/or individual shareholders
  • A Branch of a foreign / offshore company
  • A Branch of a UAE-based company (including companies incorporated in other UAE Free Zones)


Based on the financial plan and activities that the company participates in, Masdar City offers the following Tariff options:





UAE Nationals & Khalifa Fund

No. of Activities





License Fee (AED)





  • Association (Non-Profit Organization) AED 10,000
  • Single Activity from General Segments (1.11, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3) for AED 10,000
  • License Tariff fee is capped at maximum 15 activities per License, from all segments, for AED 30,000
  • All Tariff Fees are on an annual basis.


License is issued for the following Business segments of Masdar City:


  • Energy Industry
  • Service Providers
  • Community Services (Retail, Food and Beverage outlets) Oil and Gas Services
  • Property Development Services
  • Clean Tech & ICT
  • Renewable Energy
  • Healthcare Services
  • Human Resources Development
  • Marketing and Events
  • Regional Head Quarters, Trading and Holding Companies
  • Business Centre and Data Centres

6) Twofour54: A collaborative campus community

Twofour54 is strongly founded on 3 pillars:


  1. Tadreeb – for Training
  2. Ibtikar – for innovation and support
  3. Intaj – for state of the art production facilities


Companies and people looking to establish themselves in the community can reach out to Tawasol, the business enabler who would provide all the support required.


Twofour54 takes its name after the geographical coordinates of Abu Dhabi and aims to position itself as the centre of excellence for Arabic media and entertainment content across fields like gaming, events, digital media, music, film, broadcast and much more. If you are looking to establish a business in this field, this community is just the place for you.


What will twofour54 assist you with?


  • Details on setting up your business: includes information on IT services, production facilities that are required and office spaces
  • Brief you on the benefits of setting up your company with the Media Zone authority which includes:
    • Full ownership
    • Tax exemptions
  • Brief you on the quick and easy registration and licensing procedures: a pre-agreement may be created to reserve the space before negotiations come through.
  • Business license:  We will guide you through the licensing process, authorized by the Media Zone Authority. You will be required to apply for a business license and in some cases a Dissemination license to get your company approved and established by the MZA.
  • Help you get the necessary requirements to get you started in Abu Dhabi, be it administrative, medical, housing or travel needs. You will be given access to the studios and production facilities of twofour54 once you have moved in and begin networking!


Top companies in twofour54:


A diverse set of companies have set up their bases in this community including CNN, Pyramedia, Flash, BBC, The Financial Times, Thomson Reuters and more.

7) ZonesCorp

What is ZonesCorp?


The higher corporation for SEZs, was established to re-structure and enhance Abu Dhabi and make it a local and foreign investment hub. ZonesCorp aids in enabling a diverse economy in the Emirate, by planning, developing, operating and promoting SEZs through its world class infrastructure, services and flexible policies for long term sustenance.


ZonesCorp constantly enhances its ways to meet the ever growing economic agenda of the Emirate and wants to position itself as one of the primary economic contributors.

Free Zones in UAE

Abu Dhabi




Umm Al Quwain

Ras Al Khaimah