Designated Zones2 min read

Designated Zones in the UAE?

In the context of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), “designated zones” refer to specific areas within the country that have been identified and designated for the purpose of Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations. These zones have special considerations and treatments regarding the application of VAT.

The UAE VAT law defines designated zones and provides certain VAT benefits within these zones. Here are some key points related to designated zones in the UAE:

1. VAT Deferment:

   – Goods transferred between designated zones are generally eligible for VAT deferment. This means that VAT is not immediately payable at the time of transfer.

2. VAT Suspension:

   – The transfer of goods between designated zones is considered outside the scope of UAE VAT, and as a result, VAT is suspended until the goods leave the designated zone.

3. Special Treatment for Supplies within Designated Zones:

   – Supplies of goods or services between entities within the same designated zone may have special VAT treatments.

4. Criteria for Designated Zones:

   – Designated zones must meet certain criteria outlined in the UAE VAT law. This includes being specified by a decision from the UAE Cabinet and having defined security measures and Customs controls.

5. Customs Control and Oversight:

   – Designated zones are subject to Customs controls and oversight to ensure compliance with VAT regulations.

6. Consultation with Tax Authorities:

   – Businesses operating within designated zones are encouraged to consult with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) or seek advice from tax professionals to ensure compliance with VAT regulations applicable to these zones.

Abu Dhabi

  • Free Trade Zone of Khalifa Port
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone
  • Al Ain International Airport Free Zone 
  • Al Butain International Airport Free Zone 


  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (North-South)
  • Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ)
  • Dubai Textile City
  • Free Zone Area in Al Quoz
  • Free Zone Area in Al Qusais
  • Dubai Aviation City
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone
  • International Humanitarian City – Jebel Ali


  • Hamriyah Free Zone
  • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone


  • Ajman Free Zone

Umm Al Quwain

  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone in Ahmed Bin Rashid Port
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road

Ras Al Khaimah

  • RAK Free Trade Zone
  • RAK Maritime City Free Zone
  • RAK Airport Free Zone


  • Fujairah Free Zone
  • Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ)

Commercial Property Transactions – VAT

E-commerce personal imports guidance

FTA directive on tax returns

List of Charities that may recover input tax

Reverse charge Supplies

Tax Group User Guide

Tax registration number linking with Customs Registration Number

Treatment of VAT on services rendered in designated zones

Insurance premiums paid for employees – VAT

Retention money – VAT

VAT Payment guide for commercial property buyers