24 Jan 2017

24 Jan 2017

Registering an Offshore Company


Category: Offshore

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If you do not want to indulge in any local trade and only want to protect your assets in the UAE, then an offshore company is the best option for you.

The most important benefit of an offshore company formation in Dubai is that they offer excellent tax-efficient strategies for entrepreneurs. Freedom of operations, confidentiality and ease of running business are other benefits. In short, if you have wealth that you wish to keep confidential, then you can do so by opening up an offshore company in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah or Ajman.

As the UAE is not a signatory to any treaty of disclosures or information exchange agreements, it does not reveal any trade, shares or client information.

You can maintain your assets being owned by this offshore company for whatever period suitable for you.

Benefits of an Offshore Company in the UAE

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • There is no need for a local sponsor
  • Complete anonymity and privacy
  • The company can own properties in approved areas by the Authority
  • There is a provision for multi-currency bank accounts
  • Absolutely no corporate and income taxes
  • No foreign currency restrictions
  • Full repatriation of the profits and capital are allowed
  • The cost of setting up is very economical.
  • There is no need for an onshore office. Hence, no employees and related costs
  • Only minimum capital is required to set-up offshore company.
  • Minimum of 1 Director / Shareholder.

Share Capital

There is no specified minimum share capital but usually, an amount of AED 10,000 (1000 shares with a share value of Dhs 10) is acceptable to the Free Zones in the UAE. The share capital has to be divided into shares of equal nominal value that can be agreed in UAE Dirhams or US Dollars.

Permitted Activities of Offshore Companies

Offshore companies in the country are allowed to do the following activities

  • General Trading
  • Owning real estate
  • Holding
  • Serving as an instrument for inheritance issues.

What Offshore Companies Cannot Do

There are some restrictions on what offshore companies can do and these are listed below

  • They cannot conduct business with people residing in the UAE
  • They cannot own an interest in real property situate in the United Arab Emirates, apart from a lease
  • They cannot conduct banking businesses
  • They cannot function as an insurance or reinsurance company, insurance agent or insurance broker
  • They cannot indulge in any business which may be prohibited by the free zone Authority that they are based in.

An offshore company will not be treated as conducting business with people in the UAE if:

  • it maintains professional contact with legal consultants, accountants, management companies or other people conducting business within the UAE
  • it prepares and maintains books and records in the UAE
  • it holds meetings of its directors or members in the country
  • it holds a lease of property for use as a registered office or owns real property on the Palm Islands or Jumeirah Islands or any properties owned by Nakheel Company LLC or any other real property approved by the Authority
  • it holds an account in a bank in the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of conducting its routine operational transactions.
  • If an offshore company wishes to conduct a trade or other business in the Zone or elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates, it must obtain the appropriate license to conduct the trade or other business activity from the required authorities.


Offshore Free zones in the UAE

If you are interested in setting up an offshore company, there are three places in the UAE that you can do so

Jebel Ali Free Zone Offshore Company

In Dubai, you can set up an offshore company in the Jebel Ali Free zone. You can only set up an offshore company through a registered agent. The registered agent will work with the JAFZ company registry to pay the renewal fees. As offshore companies are not allowed to have their own registered address, it will take on the address of its registered agent.

Once the offshore company is set up, JAFZ does not issue it a business license. Instead, the offshore company only receives a certificate of incorporation. Other corporate documents include a memorandum and articles of association. Since a business license is not issued, the offshore company cannot conduct any business or commercial activity with people in the UAE. However, as commercial activities conducted outside the UAE are not subject to UAE law, the offshore company may conduct commercial activities outside the UAE.

The company requires one or more shareholders, two or more directors and one secretary. A Shareholder may double up as a director or secretary.

Cost- AED 10,100 for registration and AED 2,500 for annual renewal of registration.

Ajman Free Zone

Ajman Free Zone was established in 1988 and the Ajman Offshore comes under the jurisdiction of Ajman Free Zone Authority. It offers a Zero Taxation System and complete confidentiality/privacy to all companies.

Ajman Offshore Authority does not allow Bearer Shares. Their process for offshore company formation is comparatively faster.

Cost- AED 9,000 which is all inclusive, and annual renewal fee will be AED 7,500

Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone

RAK Offshore has been established by the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA). RAK offshore is the first center in the Middle East that offers International Business Companies (IBC) registration.

Real estate and property investments are some of the primary businesses of several international firms registered with RAK Offshore. Ras Al Khaimah has created many infrastructure projects and put in place many new policies to give a suitable environment for offshore incorporation of companies.

Cost: AED 10,600 for registration and AED 7000 for annual renewal of registration


Setting up an offshore company in the UAE is a very attractive option for people who would like to conduct their business and manage their assets in a discrete manner.

You can always contact us at Prime Global Business Services with your queries and we can help you set up your business without any hassles.

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