UAE offshore company

UAE offshore: The cheaper option

Register offshore company in UAEThere are two offshore options in the UAE: incorporating a i) Dubai offshore company in Jebel Ali or ii) RAK offshore company. An offshore company in UAE is an ideal, tax efficient and cost effective corporate structure for entrepreneurs who wish to conduct international trade. The following is an overview of the offshore options, which can help you decide which is the best corporate structure to fulfil your international business objectives.

Advantages of a UAE offshore entity

  • A UAE offshore entity is a non-resident “paper” company that allows foreign entrepreneurs to serve Africa and the Middle East without any administrative obligations. An offshore company is a wholly-foreign-owned LLC which is legally tax exempt and has no annual accounting and tax obligations;
  • An offshore company is quick and simple way to set up in the UAE, particularly when compared with other business entities. Offshore companies in UAE i) can be fully incorporated within 1 week ii) can be 100% foreign-owned and iii) will not require our Client to travel to complete the incorporation procedures;
  • An offshore company in UAE portrays a good image to Clients, suppliers and even potential venture capitalists. UAE is a globally-recognised jurisdiction which does not carry any ‘tax haven’ stigma as other jurisdictions do;
  • If properly structured, an offshore business setup in UAE is legally exempt from corporate tax, making it an ideal international trading vehicle;
  • A UAE offshore business set up is confidential. There is no public register of shareholders and directors;
  • UAE offshore companies can have a corporate bank account within the UAE;
  • UAE offshore companies can hold shares in other UAE offshore or Free Zone Companies. UAE offshore companies will also be able to trade with other UAE offshore companies, but not with free zones;
  • UAE documents are bilingual (English and Arabic), thus recognizable globally by banks, Governments, suppliers and investors.

Disadvantages of a UAE offshore entity

  • A UAE offshore entity is not allowed to trade within UAE, enjoy UAE tax treaty benefits or buy real estate;
  • A UAE offshore entity cannot i) rent local premises in the UAE ii) employ staff under the company’s name or iii) apply for any visa;
  • UAE local banks provide poor customer service support.

The Dubai offshore company: Jebel Ali

  1. An offshore Dubai company formation is ruled by the Jebel Ali Free Zone Offshore Companies Regulations 2003;
  2. A Jebel Ali offshore company can be 100% foreign owned;
  3. Compared to other tax haven entities, incorporating an offshore setup in Dubai can be expensive. Before a Jebel Ali offshore company is incorporated, legal documents must be legalized by the Client. After being formally engaged by our Client, Healy Consultants will provide with a detailed list of documents that needs to be legalized;
  4. Jebel Ali Offshore companies have business activity restrictions. A Jebel Ali offshore company cannot conduct activities related to i) insurance ii) movie production iii) banking iv) management v) financial vi) gambling vii) professional Services viii) casino ix) consulting x) property development xi) intellectual property xii) education xiii) media xiv) advisory xv) security xvi) real estate xvii) publishing xviii) military and xix) advertising. Jebel Ali Authority has the right to add any other activity under this list. The registrar is the final authority to accept or reject a company registration;
  5. A Jebel Ali offshore company needs to appoint a minimum of two directors, one shareholder and one company secretary. The director can also act as the company secretary;

RAK offshore company

  1. RAK offshore is a part of the RAK Investment Authority, which to date has successfully formed more than 2,000 offshore companies. Companies located in this region will enjoy a tax-free environment with numerous bilateral non-double taxation treaties with many countries including India and European countries;
  2. RAK company registration is an excellent alternative to the Dubai offshore company. A RAK offshore company i) does not face restrictions on business activities and ii) does not need legalization of documents;
  3. A RAK offshore company can be i) 100% foreign owned ii) incorporated within 1 week with only one director and one shareholder. Also, there are no public registers of directors or shareholders.

UAE offshore comparison table

 Jebel Ali offshore companyRAK offshore companyAjman
offshore company
Summary at a GlanceUS$US$US$
Total company set up costsUS$15,700US$8,870US$8,870
Subsequent annual costsUS$7,750US$4,470US$4,470
Type of companyLLCLLCLLC
How long to set the company up?1 week1 week2 weeks
How long to open company bank account?3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Issued share capital requiredUS$1US$1US$1
Any restriction on activities?YesNoNo
Corporate bank account in the UAE?YesYesYes
Tenancy agreement required before incorporation?NoNoNo
Do you visit the country for company incorporation?NoNoNo
100% foreign ownership allowedYesYesYes
Resident director or shareholder required?NoNoNo
Can conduct business within the UAE?NoNoNo
Legal registered office needed?YesYesYes
Can rent office premisesNoNoNo
Can the entity hire expatriate staff?NoNoNo
Bearer shares allowed?NoYesNo
Documents to be legalized by ClientYesNoYes
Can invest in UAE real estateNoNoYes
Legal considerations
Minimum number of directors211
Corporate director allowed?NoYesYes
Minimum number of shareholders111
Company secretary needed?YesNoYes
Resident company secretary?NoNoYes
Corporate company secretary allowed?NoYesYes
Individual shareholders allowedYesYesYes
Corporate shareholders allowedYesYesYes
Public register of shareholders and directorsNoNoNo
Tax and accounting considerations
Annual accounting and tax obligationsNoNoNo
Corporate tax payable (if non-resident)NoNoNo
Accounting records to be kept?YesYesYes
Statutory audit requiredYesNoYes
Annual tax return to be submittedNoNoYes
Can access double tax treatiesNoNoNo
Can apply for immigration visasNoNoNo
Estimated of total engagement costs in Year 1US$15,700US$8,870US$8,870
Draft Invoice

Other options

If your company is planning to conduct business within the UAE , there are other options you may want to consider such as

LLC

Free zone companies

Check out offshore company formation for other offshore jurisdictions

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our offshore company services in UAE, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi