Dubai International Academic City Company Formation

Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) located in the Dubai Academic City is the world’s only Free Zone dedicated to higher education. A regional base for premier international higher education institutions, DIAC is the world’s first dedicated tertiary cluster development. Spread across an area of 25 million square feet, the DIAC campus provides an environment of vitality and inspiration for students and faculty. DIAC offers a self-contained environment with world class facilities for recreational activities including restaurants, cinema, gym and sports grounds.

A well-appointed hostel accommodation provided within the campus allows for a well-rounded educational experience. Currently over 20 international universities of higher learning from diverse regions including Australia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Belgium, UK and Ireland operate out of DKV and DIAC, catering to over 9,000 students. These include The University of Wollongong in Dubai, from Australia, Middlesex University Dubai Campus, from UK and S.P Jain Centre of Management Dubai, from India among others.

These institutions offer programs that range in duration from one year to four years. Major academic programs offer include engineering, computer science, fashion and design, biotechnology, environmental studies, quality management and business management programs.

Reason to Setup Company in Dubai Academic City

DIAC is a strategic base for companies targeting emerging markets in a vast region extending from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent, and from Africa to the CIS countries, covering 2 billion people with a GDP of $6.7 trillion.

The global ICT giants are all here, including Microsoft, Oracle, HP, IBM, Dell, Siemens, Canon, Logical, Sony Ericsson, Schlumberger and Cisco, as well as many small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures. The ICT cluster in Dubai Internet City comprises companies from various sectors: software development, business services, ecommerce, consultancy and sales and marketing.

DIAC provides an environment that attracts most elements of the value chain for an ICT business. In addition, it has developed programs that can be leveraged by the ICT community to explore and expand channel and business development opportunities.

Competitive Advantages: Why Dubai International Academic City?

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% repatriation of profits and capital
  • 100% personal and corporate tax free for 50 years
  • Zero customs duty for goods and services
  • Infrastructure and services that enable academic institutions to operate successfully
  • Well known global, regional and local academic institutions
  • Cluster working environment which enables institutions and educational brands to interact and cooperate
  • Suppliers and providers throughout the value chain clustered in one location
  • Use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced processes
  • Ideal academic and business environment for students and institutions
  • Easy, hassle-free registration of companies
  • Simple legal framework and company laws
  • One-stop shop that provides governmental services
  • 24/7 visa service
  • Access to Knowledge Workers because of fast-track immigration process


Dubai International Academic City Services

A variety of services are offered to DIAC’s clients:

  • Company registration
  • Issuing of licenses
  • Issuing of visas
  • Immigration services
  • Student services
  • Supporting partners

Company Registration

The registration and setup of companies in DIAC is approved and regulated by Dubai Technology & Media Free Zone Authority.

Types of Companies Registered

Free Zone LLC (FZ-LLC)

  • A legal entity with shareholders as physical persons and / or companies
  • At least one director
  • Minimum capital requirement AED 50,000


  • Branch of an overseas or local company – not a separate legal entity from its parent company
  • A branch has the same business activities as the parent company
  • Branches cover the entities of universities and schools
  • No minimum capital requirements

Branch Types:

  • Branch of an overseas company
  • Branch of a United Arab Emirates company
  • Branch of an Academic institution


A Freelancer Permit is issued to an individual who wishes to conduct business activities under his/her name and not under a name of a company or brand.

Issuing of Licenses

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority issues commercial licenses and freelance permits for the company types mentioned above.

Features of Commercial Licenses and Freelance Permits:

  • Issued by DTMFZA
  • DTMFZA needs to approve the business activity
  • Business activities must be in compliance with DTMFZA licensing regulations
  • The investor must lease a facility of DTMFZA
  • The license covers the operation of a business only within the Free Zone
  • Licenses are for a period of one year and are renewable annually (penalty or termination for delay in license renewals)

Business Activities Approved in DIAC:

One license is issued for one sector and one business activity.

Educational Sector

  • Providers of higher education
  • Online universities
  • Academic service provider
  • Non-academic services provider
  • Freelancers
  • Branch of a school
  • Boarding school

General Sectors

  • Providers of travel, insurance and courier services
  • Providers of legal, auditing, accounting services
  • Regional offices – representative offices, call centers, marketing offices
  • Hotels, apartments  and leisure facilities
  • Providers of property management services

Amendments to Licenses

Clients can request the following changes to their licenses:

  • Change of company name
  • Change of address
  • Change of director
  • Change of manager
  • Change of business activity within the business sector
  • Additional business activity

Transfer of shares

A company registered at DIAC can amend the structure of its shares as follows:

  • Increase of share capital with new shares to existing or new shareholders
  • Decrease of share capital
  • Transfer of shares to existing or new shareholders

Other Changes to Licenses

  • Change from Branch of an overseas company to a FZ-LLC
  • Merging of two or more companies within the free zone
  • De-registration and cancellation of license

Issuing of Visas

The issuing of visas is carried out by the Government Services Operations (GSO) department of TECOM. GSO also offers many other services such as immigrations services, postal services all through its one-stop shop.

Immigration Services

Student residence visas are required for overseas students studying in Dubai.  Students must apply for visas through the administration department of their chosen university.  All documentation is sent to the Student Hub office and, following approval, are sent to the GSO department for processing and issuing.  Student visas are valid for one year.

Student Services

Student Hub (SH)

Student Hub represents DIAC’s Student Body and supports students by offering a broad range of Eservices as well as physical services which improve students’ academic and social lives.

Management of Campus

DIAC Facilities Management’s staff manage the facilities and the day-to-day running of the DIAC campus.  Emphasis is given to the well-being, safety and security of students.

Supporting Partners

Partner Development Management Team (PDM Team)

The Partner Development Management Team supports educational institutions, providing them with exposure via marketing initiatives such as forums, fairs, networking events.  The PDM also provides the link between the academic sector and the government departments and other service providers.

Partner Relationship Management Team (PRM)

PRM supports educational institutions by initiating and managing the feedback from customers to improve customer service as well as other services.

Advertising and Venue Management Services (AVMS)

Advertising and Venue Management Services are provided by TECOM.  Indoor and outdoor venues are also provided as well as a broad range of other indoor and outdoor advertising facilities.

Dubai International Academic City Products

DIAC provides various products for its clients:

  • Plots of land
  • Commercial floor space
  • DIAC Business Centre
  • Retail space and kiosks
  • DIAC’s campus

Plots of Land

Plots of land are available which can be leased for 50 years.

The types of plots available are:

  • Educational plots: for building academic institutions (universities, colleges etc)
  • Mixed-use plot: for constructing apartments or other mixed use
  • Student housing plots: for constructing university and college student housing and dormitories
  • Retail plots: for shopping centers, supermarkets etc.
  • Hotel plots: for building hotels

Commercial Floor Space

DIAC’s commercial floor space is available for business activities which are in line with DIAC’s licensing requirements.

DIAC Business Centre

DIAC’s Business Centre provides a wide range of facilities and services to suit all types of companies.

Executive Office (Type A)

  • Furnished office space
  • Office size is 100 to 250 sq Ft.

Executive Office (Type B)

  • Furnished office space with more items of furniture
  • Office size is 281 sq Ft.

Executive Desk

  • Furnished partitioned offices located in a shared office floor
  • Normal desk size is 100 sq Ft.
  • Eligible for two visas

Hot Desk

  • For use by more than one client
  • Ideal for freelancers or start-ups wishing to test the market
  • Eligible for one visa per client

Commercial Space

  • Open spaces with furniture, fittings and equipment based on the client’s needs
  • Provisions for telephone, IT services, electricity and internet

DIC offers a “Fit-out Process” via its TECOM’s Engineering Management Department which is essentially a one-stop shop which deals with the fit-out process and approvals required in setting up an office.

Retail Space and Kiosks

Retail space is available for companies providing support services, for example, restaurants, hair dressers, money exchange etc.  Kiosks are smaller retail spaces which can also be used to offer support services.

DIAC’s Campus

DIAC is housed within a campus of 18 million sq.ft in Academic City which is a few minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport.   It offers a complete range of facilities to accommodate its academic, commercial and retail investors.

DIAC’s modern campus offers many state-of-the-art facilities for university staff and students.  It has shops, restaurants and recreation rooms and is also near shopping malls and has easy access to public transport services.  The campus provides a perfect setting and an effective platform for the activities of academic institutions.

Dubai International Academic City Regulations

DIAC is regulated by the Dubai, Technology & Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) whose regulations are in line with global standards to enable the academic enterprises in the free zone to operate correctly.

Two main regulatory bodies regulate the Academic sector in the United Arab Emirates:

  • The Ministry of Higher Education
  • The Knowledge and Human Development Authority

DIAC’s Academic Partners

DIAC has partners of different nationalities from all over the world to suit the academic requirements of all students.  DIAC houses well-known universities and colleges from UK, USA, UAE, Australia, Europe and other countries.  Partners are selected following a process of evaluation and selection.

DIAC’ academic programs offer the best standard of higher education in the United Arab Emirates.

List of DIAC’s Academic Partners:

  • American University in the Emirates (AUE)
  • Islamic Azad University (IAU)
  • Amity University Dubai Campus
  • French Fashion University ESMOD Dubai
  • Imam Malik College
  • Manchester Business School
  • BITS, Pelini – Dubai
  • Manipal University, Dubai
  • Michigan State University Dubai
  • Institute of Management Technology, Dubai
  • Middlesex University Dubai
  • SAE Institute Dubai
  • Murdoch University Dubai
  • Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus
  • S P Jain Center of Management
  • Hult International Business School
  • The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
  • Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Dubai (SZABIST)
  • University Saint Joseph Law School – Dubai
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Wollongong in Dubai
  • University of Bradford
  • Saint-Petersburg State University of Engineering & Economics

Feel free to contact us.