Dubai Maritime Authority City (DMCA) Free Zone

A part of the Dubai World Group of companies, Dubai Maritime City (DMC) is the world's first strategically-built maritime center. It has been created not only to cater to the requirements of the marine sector but also to provide a world-class environment for the global maritime community and act as a platform for networking and integration of different maritime businesses and services, adding extra value to the entire maritime community. 

The main regulatory body of DMC, the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), was created in 2007 to develop, monitor, and promote maritime activities. It aims for the naval community to have a dynamic urban lifestyle.

The DMC structure is made up of 6 strategic locations:

  • It is set up as the primary business center for local and international maritime companies

  • The industrial precinct where vessels can undergo repairs

  • The academic quarter is designed as a study center

  • The marina district, which serves as a recreational center

  • The harbor residence for residential purposes

  • The harbor offices for maritime businesses to set up their firm. 

The Dubai Maritime City Authority

Let us look at the types of entities and licenses in the DMC free zone.

Types of Entities Allowed

1. Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

In a Free Zone Establishment, just one shareholder is allowed.

2. Free Zone Company (FZC)

In a Free Zone Company, 2 to 5 shareholders are allowed.

3. Branch Office

A branch office is a dependent company whose business is carried out in the parent company's name and whose legal status and obligations are the same as those of its parent company. 

Types of Business Licenses Available

1. Marine Crafts License

For foreign and local companies to build and use vessels following international maritime standards.

2. Maritime Commercial License

For companies engaged in maritime activities in Dubai and individuals who engage in recreational activities in Dubai waters.

3. Maritime Operation Services License

For companies operating in waste management in seawater.

4. Maritime Education and Research License

For entities in the field of education and research in maritime affairs.

5. Commercial License

A commercial is required to be obtained by companies and individuals involved in general maritime activities. 

How to Set Up a Business in Dubai Maritime City Free Zone?

Business setup in DMC free zone, like the business set up in any other Dubai free zone, requires following a systematic and proper procedure. Follow the procedure below to set up a business in this free zone. 

1. Decide on the Business Activity

This is the first step, and you must select from the permitted activities.

2. Select a Corporate Structure

Choose an appropriate structure based on your business requirements.

3. Finalize a Trade Name

Decide on a company name adhering to government guidelines.

4. Clear the Company Documents

The following documents must be submitted.

For a New Company Setup:

  • Proof of trade name reservation and initial approval for the activities

  • Passport copies and résumé of the manager and the shareholders

  • Personal information sheet of each shareholder and manager

  • Documents for lease agreement [it is mandatory to have a physical business/office address in UAE for company setup, and the rent in a free zone usually varies between US$ 405 to US$ 720 per square meter]

  • A lease document specifying a suitable minimum office space for the business

  • Attested and notarized Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA) from the UAE Embassy at the place of origin

  • Attested and notarized Power of Attorney appointing a legal representative to act on your or shareholders' behalf

  • Attested and notarized Certificate of Registration or incorporation and business license of your existing company/entity by the UAE Embassy (only for corporates)

  • The physical address of your business.

For Branch Setup

  • Passport copies and résumé of the manager and shareholders [the manager must have a university degree]

  • Proof of trade name reservation for the new branch and initial approval sheet for the activities performed by each shareholder and manager

  • Initial approval and proof for the activities to be performed in the new branch

  • Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA) of your existing main branch at the place of origin, notarized by a UAE public notary

  • The lease agreement of the new branch [it is mandatory to have a physical UAE business address with a minimum space of 60 square meters]

  • Notarized Power of Attorney appointing a legal representative to act on your or the shareholders' behalf

  • Existing company or entity' Certificate of Registration/Incorporation or license, duly attested and notarized by the UAE Embassy

  • Board resolution of the directors of your existing company at the place of origin, showing the expression of interest in establishing a branch of an existing entity in DMC (only for corporate shareholders)

  • Company profile of your main branch (only for corporate shareholders).

5. Pay the Fees

Make the necessary payment to proceed further.

6. Obtain the License

Get your license and respective approvals from the government authorities.

The process for company incorporation gets easy if you know the procedures and how to contact the relevant authorities. Getting in touch with a reliable business partner helps you set up your business with ease, as they take care of the entire business setup responsibility without your having to worry about bureaucratic red tape and expansive company formation formalities.

Contact us if you're planning to start a business in Dubai Maritime City – we'll be glad to assist!


Where is the DMCA free zone located?

Between Dubai's Drydocks World and Port Rashid.

Can I open a branch of my existing company in the DMCA free zone?

Yes, you can open it. 

Can I renew my business license located in the DMCA free zone?

Yes, you can renew the marine activities and private development zones license.

What is a maritime commercial license?

Maritime commercial licenses are required for companies that engage in naval activities and people that engage in leisure activities on Dubai seas.

If I want to open an education and research centre in the DMCA, do I need the other license other than a business license?

Yes, you need a maritime education and research license.