Wednesday, 2 September, 2015

An Attractive Free Zone: the Dubai Design District (d3)

The Dubai Design District, known as ‘d3’, is one of the newest Free Zones created to encourage investment in the arts, design and fashion industry in the Middle East. The Free Zone attracts a trendy design community by hosting workshops, design trade shows, conferences, brand launches, fashion events, art shows and much more.

Companies in the Free Zone can either act as a Free Zone entity or as an onshore business (in the latter case foreign investment restrictions might apply). For individuals, freelance permits are issued so that talented young artists and designers have the opportunity to showcase their work.

Free Zone licences are often a preferred option for companies that wish to retain 100% foreign ownership. Operating with a Free Zone licence allows you to work within the d3 Free Zone. All Free Zone licences come under either a commercial licence (issued to companies or branches) or a freelance permit (issued only to individuals) each without tax and full repatriation of profits. The main benefits of a d3 Free Zone licence are:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Full repatriation of profits and capital
  • 50-year tax exemption

Unlike other Free Zones in Dubai, d3 allows Dubai-based on-shore companies to be licenced at d3 so they can benefit from all the commercial, retail and lifestyle facilities available within the district. Companies operating with an on-shore (Dubai Economic Department) licence are 51% locally owned and allowed to operate inside the d3 Free Zone as well as outside this Free Zone (so called ‘mainland’).

Vistra Dubai can assist with your business application, setting up a bank account, finding office space and getting required employment visas for your employees.

For information, please contact Esther Boers-de Vries.



Head of Middle East Desk,
+31 88 560 9950


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