The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is a 417-kilometre squared industrial park that is located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is linked to Khalifa Port, one of UAE’s most high-tech deep-sea ports.
Abu Dhabi Ports, the owner of KIZAD, launched the Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone (KPFTZ) within KIZAD to enhance the future of international investment in the UAE’s capital region. It is the largest free zone in the Middle East and has already drawn nearly two billion dollars in foreign direct investment from the Peoples Republic of China. The site has been selected to be a part of China’s Belt & Road initiative.
COSCO, one of the world’s largest container operators, has selected KIZAD as their central hub in the region by operating a state-of-the-art container terminal. The semi-automated container terminal includes the most substantial Container Freight Station (CFS) in the Middle East, covering 275,000 square metres.
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If you are interested in starting a company in logistics, trading or manufacturing in the Abu Dhabi metro area, then KPFTZ should be your preferred destination. The free zone plans to focus on engineered metal products, aluminium, food processing, and general industries including pharmaceutical and automotive parts in the years ahead. The Free Zone hopes to contribute 15 percent of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP by the year 2030.
KIZAD Free Zone is unique because it offers a dual business licence; with consent from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, a company can also operate onshore without needing a distribution agent. Another somewhat unique benefit is that the client can start visa processing before the licence is issued. They also work with banks to get you a bank account while initiating the licensing process.
Companies often debate whether it’s more beneficial to incorporate at JAFZA or KPFTZ. One of the key elements that distinguish the two is that KPFTZ has lower paid-up share capital at AED 26,000 for a workstation package and AED 150,000 for a warehouse package.
A business in KIZAD can operate under these types of licenses:
The process is straightforward; however how you present the necessary documents to the free zone authorities is critical. Its essential to get your business plan vetted by a consultant to make sure it fits the parameters that the free zone requires. Some of the documents can be submitted via the dedicated online portal for the free zone.
Here is a current list of documents required:
- Official application form
- Registry identification form (individual)
- Registry identification form (corporate)
- Business plan (template)
- External approvals (if applicable)
- If it’s an industrial license, technical and environmental assessments might be required
- If a foreign shareholder has an existing UAE residence visa, a NOC from the sponsor is needed
- If a company, instead of an individual holds the shares, they need to be notarized and attested. If they are held by a foreign company, you will need to have them legally translated to Arabic and then attested by the home government, UAE Embassy and UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Business setup in KIZAD can greatly vary depending on your business activity. The KIZAD free zone aspires to complete all company formation formalities within one week. While the one-week timeframe is possible for trading licenses, it can take a month or more to get industrial licenses.
Each applicant to the free zone is assigned a Client Relationship Executive who will be your one point of contact during the entire incorporation procedure.