Offshore

Offshore Companies in UAE should not be confused with UAE Free Zone companies. An Offshore Company is a legal business entity that is set up with the intention of operating outside its registered jurisdiction and/or the location of its ultimate ownership.

There may be many reasons to register an Offshore Company, but the general benefits of utilising an offshore corporate structure include:

• Providing a gateway for international market expansion;
• Access to a stable and business-friendly legal system;
• Access to a more flexible regulatory regime;
• Offering tax neutrality on international earnings in respect of (depending on jurisdiction) personal or company income, capital gains and inheritance taxes;
• Offering better access to global funding;
• Providing a vehicle to separate or protect assets, such as Intellectual Property, from operating entities.

1-Jebel ALi Free Zone (JAFZA)

Key benefits of an offshore company registration in JAFZA:

  • 100% Foreign Ownership – The JAFZA Offshore Companies Regulations require no local sahreholding
  • Local Real Estate Ownership – The JAFZA Offshore Company is the only offshore company that is permitted to directly own local Dubai real estate. Most properties in Dubai can be owned by JAFZA offshore companies but both Free Zone and developer approval are required;
  • Share in Local Companies – Despite a general prohibition on Offshore Companies conducting business with persons resident in the UAE, the authorities do allow Offshore Companies to hold the shares of both Free Zone and Onshore (LLC) Companies. Documents for use in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not need to be attested;
  • Local Bank Account – An Offshore Company can hold multi-currency bank accounts in the UAE to carry out routine international transactions;
  • Shareholder/Director details – The names of shareholders and directors do not have to be disclosed on a public register;
  • Inspection – The registrar has the power to appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of an Offshore Company. The owner of the company may be liable for all inspection fees.

2-Ras AL Khaimah (RAK)

Key benefits of opening a RAK offshore company:

  • 100% Foreign Ownership – The RAK International Company Regulations require no local shareholding.
  • Shares in Local Companies  Despite a general prohibition on Offshore Companies conducting business with persons resident in the UAE, the authorities do allow Offshore Companies to hold the shares in both Free Zone and Onshore (LLC) Companies. Documents do not need to be attested for use in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar;
  • Local Bank Account  An Offshore Company can hold multi-currency bank accounts in the UAE to carry out routine international transactions;
  • Fast Incorporation  – RAK IC company registration will typically take 1 week after receiving all application and due diligence documentation;
  • Shareholder/Director details – The names of shareholders and directors do not have to be disclosed on a public register.

Offshore Company Requirements

Offshore corporations are easier to create than they are often thought to be. Offshore corporate services are similar to many modern financial centers in terms of establishing a company but often quicker, less hassle with lower rates. Forming a company entails preparing and submitting:

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