The UAE is currently one of the most sought business destinations in the Middle East. Foreign investors have the possibility of setting up companies in any of the 7 emirates and their free zones, which is why the UAE economy has developed quite a lot during the last several years. Foreign enterprisers can register both onshore and offshore companies in the UAE, as well as free zone companies, such as RAK offshore companies.
Our company formation agents in Dubai can offer complete information about setting up any type of company in the UAE.
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The offshore company – characteristics
The UAE is one of the most appealing business centers in the Middle East as there are various types of entities that can be registered here. Among these offshore and free zone companies are preferred by foreign investors because they offer many benefits. However, offshore companies should not be mistaken for free zone companies, as they are not the same thing.
Here are the main features of offshore companies in the UAE:
- offshore companies are structures established for the purpose of operating outside the country they are registered in;
- they are suitable for those who want to expand a business abroad and can be owned by foreign shareholders in a proportion of 100%;
- there is no need to have a local sponsor or partner when creating an offshore company in the UAE;
- they are set up because of the flexible regulations and legal systems in countries that allow the creation of such entities;
- they benefit from tax advantages on the international profits they make (these advantages depend on the home country of the shareholders);
- they can be used to separate various assets (intellectual property, real estate) and can be used as holding companies.
Offshore companies can set up bank accounts with any bank in Dubai or other emirates. They can also have multiple bank accounts in different currencies. The names of the shareholders and directors of offshore companies do not appear in any public register, such as the Dubai Trade Registrar.
In the UAE, offshore companies are available for registration in the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) and Jebel Ali Free Zone. One of the most important advantages of setting up an offshore company in Jebel Ali Free Zone is the possibility of owning real estate properties.
If you want to open a company in Dubai and are considering establishing an offshore entity, our local consultants can help you set one up in RAK or Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Offshore company registration requirements in the UAE
Foreign investors who want to open offshore companies in the UAE must comply with the requirements of the authorities in RAK and Jebel Ali Free Zone.
As a general rule, the creation of an offshore company in Jebel Ali Free Zone requires at least one shareholder who can be a natural person or a company. Foreign companies are also allowed to act as shareholders in UAE offshore companies. The company will need at least two directors who need to be natural persons. Offshore companies are also required to appoint a secretary, however, one of the directors can act as a company secretary. In terms of share capital, there are is no minimum amount of money required to register an offshore company.
From an accounting point of view, offshore companies in Jebel Ali Free Zone must have an auditor who must be selected from an approved list by the authorities in the UAE. These entities are also required to maintain accounting records for 10 years after their preparation.
When creating an offshore company in Ras Al Khaimah, the requirements are slightly different in terms of management. A RAK offshore company requires at least one director who can also be a corporate entity. From an accounting point of view, the records of a RAK company must be kept for 7 years and do not need to be filed with the RAK authorities.
Our company registration agents in Dubai can help with the preparation of the documents required to set up an offshore company.
We also invite you to read about UAE offshore companies in the scheme below:
How to register an offshore company in the UAE?
Offshore companies in the UAE are among the preferred types of companies foreign investors because they provide many advantages. However, before starting to reap the benefits provided by a UAE offshore company, one must complete several steps related to the company incorporation. The registration procedure begins once the owner has appointed a local representative or a company incorporation firm to handle the process. The local agents will file for a trading name which will end with the abbreviation ‘LTD’ with the Trade Register in the desired emirate and then draft the statutory documents of UAE offshore companies. The shareholders must provide proof of the residential address in this country (such as a recent utility bill) for swift offshore company registration in the UAE. Then the local agents must also set up a corporate bank account for the offshore company. Once these steps are completed, the company will receive its Certificate of Registration from the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Why open offshore companies in UAE?
As mentioned above, offshore companies come with a lot of benefits, especially when incorporated in a country like the United Arab Emirates. Among the advantages offshore companies in UAE offer to their owners are:
- no corporate taxes;
- no local partner is required;
- minimum registration requirements, such as one shareholder and one director;
- beneficial ownership privacy;
- the share capital can be denominated in any currency.
Nominee shareholders are permitted in the case of UAE offshore companies.
Uses of offshore companies in the UAE
Offshore companies are usually employed for asset protection purposes and confidentiality of shareholders, but they are also great as tax optimization tools. UAE offshore companies are usually created for activities such as trading and shipping, but they are also used as investment vehicles. An offshore company can also engage in the supply of professional and property ownership services as a holding company. Also, an offshore company can be created for the sole purpose of owning various intellectual property rights.
If you want to register an offshore company and need help, our Dubai company formation specialists are at your disposal.
RAK and Jebel Ali Free Zone as investment destinations
RAK and Jebel Ali Free Zone are two of the most appealing investment destinations in the UAE considering that:
- they offer 100% foreign ownership to those setting up companies in the UAE;
- full corporate tax exemptions are available for up to 50 years in both free zones;
- RAK is made of 6 industrial zones, each dedicated for different activities;
- Jebel Ali Free Zone also provides for 0% duties on import and re-export activities;
- the personal income tax in Jebel Ali Free Zone and RAK is set at 0%.
Please feel free to contact our consultants in Dubai for full offshore company registration services.