Legal Articles / Business Law


Offshore Companies in the UAE

business

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July 05, 2013

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3483 views


Whether there is a need to restructure a business, to protect assets or simply develop an international presence for a business, one of the ways of doing so, is by opening an Offshore company.

There are three authorities in the UAE in which an offshore or International Company can be registered. These are; Jabel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) In Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) and Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ) In Ras Al Khaimah.

Advantages of the UAE Offshore Company:

  • 100% tax exemption
  • 100% foreign ownership (no local sponsor is required)
  • Limited liability Company (option to have Inc. or Ltd)
  • Protection against lawsuit judgments
  • Great discretion and confidentiality of the International Company Registry 
  • Ability to maintain corporate bank accounts (multiple current accounts) in the U.A.E
  • Ability to own e.g. real estate property in U.A.E., e.g. patents, trademarks
  • Ability to tailor the company, Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association to suit your needs (e.g. to common law)
  • Complete privacy, confidentiality and protection of assets and information
  • There is no need for an annual report to be submitted to the authorities
  • A minimum of one director is required (Jabel Ali Offshore Company requires two directors)
  • There is an option of choosing the law/ jurisdiction of your choice e.g. common law or civil law
  • There is no tax haven stigma as UAE is on the white list of OECD
  • Own an International Company and take advantage of more than 47 UAE double tax treaties
  • A certificate of residence can be issued for foreign tax authorities
  • There are unlimited market opportunities

It must be noted that an Offshore company can conduct business outside the UAE, but generally not within.

Permitted Activities inside of the country are:

  • Professional Contacts with legal consultants, accountants and auditors
  • Holding shareholders and Directors meetings in the UAE
  • Holding the lease of a property for use as registered office or own real property in Dubai approved by authority (only for JAFZA offshore companies)
  • Holding a bank account in the UAE
  • The option to become shareholders of Free Zone or Limited Liability Companies

Offshore companies may be 100% owned by expatriates. Often used as asset, property or holding companies for other businesses inside or outside the UAE.

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