When most people think of the United Arab Emirates, they think of Dubai or even Abu Dhabi. Rarely they do think of Sharjah or have even heard of it. Sharjah is a more traditional Emirate in terms of culture and living. It is not as big as Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but there are great advantages to living and working in Sharjah. It is also a great place to setup your own business and an alternative to the high prices of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. People who wish to start a Trading Company or even a Professional Consultancy often setup in Sharjah.
Many Expats choose to open their businesses in a Free Zone so that they have 100% ownership of their company and have complete control. The Hamriyah Free Zone is one of the best and cheapest options in the UAE. The Free Zone specializes in Steel, Perfumes, Timber, Maritime, Petrochemicals and Oil & Gas where they have specific zones setup to cater to these industries. You can get a Five-Activity Commercial Trade License in the Hamriyah Free Zone for 25,000 AED and that will also give you 4 visa allotments. The activities do not have to be in a similar field and can be quite different. For instance, we just assisted our client in setting up his license in the Hamriyah Free Zone and it gives him the ability to trade in foods, building materials, petroleum products, chemicals and furniture. He can trade in all of these items under just 1 license for just 25,000 AED. Also for the same price, you can get a license for a Professional Consultancy such as Management, Marketing and Information Technology. Keep in mind that if you want to start a Professional Consultancy, you will need to have an Attested University Degree.
Included in the price of the license is the rent for an E-Office which is a 10m2 office space and is similar to a virtual office. Many other free zones charge separate fees for the license and the rent for an office and this could greatly increase your budget. Many clients find it particularly attractive that you can get a small office and a license for 25,000 AED. Of course, if your business requires a larger office space, that option is available. The Hamriyah Free Zone can also provide warehouses for leasing and land to build your own warehouse on. There are not many free zones in the UAE that allow you to build your own facilities and this is just another great example how the Hamriyah Free Zone provides options and flexibility to clients.
Starting a business in the Hamriyah Free Zone is not a difficult process at all. In fact, you can get your license in as little as 2 working days. Your first step is to come up with different business ideas and determine what type of business you want to start. You may have a particular field that you are interested in, went to school for or were trained in but the bottom line is that you want to choose an idea that you think you would be successful in. Once you know what you want to do, you need to develop a business plan and this perhaps is the most important step toward opening a business. A good business plan takes time to develop and it provides the mission of your company, what business activity you will be engaging in, how you plan to be successful and how you intend to achieve your goals. The plan should describe the actions you will take, the projected earnings of your business and how investors will see a return on their investment. A large part of the plan is conducting market research where you find out everything there is to know about your particular field of interest, including the costs for opening your business, and studying your competitors to see what makes them successful. Once you know your competition, it is easier to determine how you intend to be more successful than them. Writing a good business plan is no easy task and if you are not sure how to do it, you shouldn’t worry because there is plenty of help available to you. You can either consult with a friend who has knowledge of business plans or you can go with the most popular option today, an internet search. If you search “business plan“, you will find many pages of useful information and the best part about this, the information is free. As I mentioned earlier, a business plan is one of the most important pieces to opening a business and something that you should invest time and resources on.
Once you have your plan, it is time to start your own business. The Hamriyah Free Zone makes it much easier than other free zones to get a license. The fact that you can get your license in just 2 working days also proves that. It means there is not a lot of paperwork and a lot less red tape than mostly all other areas in the UAE where a typical timeframe for a license is 2 months or longer. The documentation that you will need is the completed application providing 5 proposed names for your business, starting with the name that you most want to call your business. The Free Zone conducts an international search of your proposed name to see if the name is already in use in another jurisdiction and if it is, they will default to your 2nd name given. Along with your application, you must also provide a color passport copy that is valid for 6 months and include a color copy of the entry visa stamp. If you are already a resident of the UAE and being sponsored by another company, you would be required to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current employer giving you permission to open your company in Hamriyah. If you are obtaining a trade license, then you do not need to submit any other documentation but if you are starting a Consultancy, the last documentation you would need to submit is your business plan and the Hamriyah Free Zone requires that it is at least 2 pages. Even if you are starting a Trading company where a business plan is not required, I still think it is wise to form a business plan for your own benefit and to the benefit of your company.
The first step is filling out the application and making payment for services. Step two is reserving the company name, registering the shareholders with the Hamriyah Free Zone and getting your activity approved. Step three is signing the documents in the presence of a free zone official and applying for a PO Box. After 2 working days, your license will be issued. Once your license is issued, you may meet with a banker to discuss opening up your company bank account. Once the license is issued, you can apply for the Shareholder and employee visas.
And that’s all it takes. Sound simple? It is if you know what you are doing. Opening a business in the UAE, like anywhere in the world, can be a challenging process. Therefore, it is very smart to contract with a Business Setup Consultancy who has experience setting up businesses in the UAE and knows the process. Often times, the Consultancy will provide PRO services (Public Relations Officer) that assist you every step of the way and guide you through the process. The PRO will submit all documentation to the free zone, saving you the trip, and when it comes time to actually sign for the license, the PRO will drive you to the free zone offices and show you exactly where to go and what to do. A consultancy will also assist you in obtaining the residence visas if you choose that service. Most people in the UAE know how challenging government offices can be so having someone on your side who has experience can not only save you time, but also save you the stress.
For more information on setting up your business in the Hamriyah Free Zone, you may contact Business Setup Consultants at +971 4 430 1245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Credits: Hamriyah Free Zone
Henri was born and raised in Lebanon and studied at University of Saint Joseph. He is an avid fan of extreme sports and RC car racing. He is fluent in French and Arabic, he has traveled extensively throughout the region and Europe for both for leisure and business.