UAE offshore company: the cheaper option in 2024

Register offshore company in UAEUnited Arab Emirates offshore entities are non-resident “paper” companies traditionally used by foreign entrepreneurs to trade and hold subsidiaries in the Middle East and Africa. There are three main types of offshore options in the UAE i) the Dubai offshore company ii) the RAK offshore company and iii) the Ajman offshore company (click on each link to view more information on each of these entities). Please also find below more information on the benefits and problems of registering an offshore entity in the UAE.

  • Benefits of registering a UAE offshore entity

    1. Compared to other entities available for registration, UAE offshore entities are quick and simple to setup because:
      • Such entities can be i) registered within 2 weeks ii) 100% foreign-owned and iii) the registration process does not require foreign shareholders or directors to travel to the UAE;
      • UAE offshore companies can have a corporate bank account not only within the UAE but also overseas;
      • UAE corporate documents of offshore UAE companies are bilingual (English and Arabic), making easier the process of opening corporate bank accounts with banks;
      • UAE offshore companies can hold shares in other UAE offshore or Free Zone Companies. UAE offshore companies are also allowed to trade with other UAE offshore companies (but not with free zones).
    2. Like other UAE entities, UAE offshore entities are tax-attractive because:
      • There is no corporate income tax in the UAE, which makes UAE offshore entities an ideal vehicle to trade with international customers;
      • An offshore company registered in the UAE portrays a good image to customers, suppliers and potential venture capitalists. UAE is a globally-recognised jurisdiction which does not carry a ‘tax neutral’ stigma.
  • Important considerations before registering a UAE company

    UAE offshore entities are not allowed to i) trade within UAE customers ii) rent or purchase local real estate (including office space) and iii) employ local or foreign staff. Classified as non-resident entities, they have also no access to UAE double taxation avoidance treaties.
  • UAE offshore company comparison

    The following is an overview of the 3 different offshore options. We hope this information will help you decide which is the best corporate structure to fulfil your international business objectives. You can also refer to the table available on our website for a comparison between Dubai, RAK and Ajman offshore companies.

    The Dubai offshore company (Jebel Ali offshore company)

    • Dubai offshore companies are actually registered in the free zone of Jebel Ali. They are consequently also known as Jebel Ali offshore companies;
    • Such entities require i) a minimum of one shareholder, with no capital requirement ii) 2 directors and iii) 1 company secretary, who can be one of the two directors;
    • Dubai offshore companies are expensive to register, due notably to a requirement to legalize personal documents of the shareholders and directors;
    • Lastly, such entities are subject to several business activity restrictions, and notably 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 more activities to this list and has final authority to accept or reject company registration.

    RAK offshore company

    • RAK offshore entities are registered with RAK Investment Authority, which to date has a portfolio of more than 2,000 offshore companies currently registered;
    • A RAK offshore company can be i) 100% foreign owned ii) incorporated within 2 weeks with only one director and one shareholder. Also, there are no public registers of directors or shareholders;
    • RAK is an excellent and cheaper alternative to Dubai. Unlike in Dubai, registration of a RAK offshore company is not subject to i) restrictions on business activities or ii) a legal requirement to submit legalized documents.

    Ajman offshore company

    • Ajman offshore entities, recently renamed Ajman “International Business Companies”, are regulated by the Ajman Free Zone Authority;
    • The Ajman IBC can be i) 100% foreign owned ii) incorporated within 2 weeks with only one director and one shareholder and iii) is not required to submit financial statements nor audit its accounts.

Contact us

For additional information on our offshore company services in UAE, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi