Dubai is the most prolific emirate in the UAE and Ras Al-Khaimah is one of the best known offshore jurisdictions for setting up companies in this country. Our company formation consultants in Dubai can assist foreign investors who want to open companies in any emirate of the UAE, including offshore companies in Ras Al-Khaimah. The RAK free zone is situated in the emirate that has the same name, 112 km. away from Dubai.
In order to incorporate a company in the RAK free zone, you must submit a few documents and our specialists in company formation in Dubai will handle the entire procedure of incorporation. A foreign businessman is not required to travel to RAK for the registration because our specialists can act on behalf of him/her in front of the local authorities at the Trade Register. After you send the required documents, it will usually take only two or three business days for the registration of the offshore company in RAK.
Our Dubai company formation advisors can also help you open companies in Dubai mainland or any of its other free zones.
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RAK free zone, one of the best for doing business
There are 22 free zones in operation in Dubai, the first emirate that introduced the free zone model, according to the local Department of Economic Development. There are also other free zones in the other emirates, close to Dubai, such as RAK. The Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is one of the most chosen free zones by foreign investors because it is located in a strategic position for easy access to the markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) formed after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
RAK is an important commercial center that offers a business-friendly environment and legislation, has a very good infrastructure – air and port facilities – and the local authorities are proactive in supporting and attracting the local and foreign entrepreneurs.
This free zone is well-known for its favorable taxation and this is the main reason it has been chosen for opening offshore companies in different fields of activity. Entrepreneurs all over the world benefit from a relatively low cost and well-trained workforce and legislation that encourages foreign investments in a free zone that offers a high quality of life.
RAK provides important opportunities for investing in tourism because it has 65 km. of beaches, mountains and deserts and a green zone that can be used for agriculture. This free zone is close to important markets of the region: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Oman, etc. Ras Al Khaimah is known as a zone free of corruption and transparent for businessmen all over the world.
The foreign investors who want to open an offshore company in RAK will benefit from the double taxation treaties signed by UAE with a lot of countries, among which France, Germany, China, Italy, etc. The foreign entrepreneurs have the possibility to outsource their businesses in different fields, such as accounting and back-office operations.
The structure of RAK
RAK is organized in five areas:
- Industrial Park,
- Business Park,
- Technology Park,
- Academy Zone,
- Aviation Park.
RAK was founded in 2000 and it is considered by the investors interested in setting up a company in UAE as an advantageous location due to the economic and political stability, the simple procedure of incorporation, a high number of double taxation treaties signed all over the years, exemptions from paying taxes.
Another advantage of setting up a company in RAK is that a legal entity opened there can have 100% foreign ownership, unlike other areas from UAE, where it is mandatory to have a UAE national as a partner with at least 51% ownership of the entity.
Types of business forms in RAK
There are different forms of business met in RAK: the free zone establishment (a new business entity with a single owner) or the free zone company (a new business entity owned by two – five partners), public and private joint stock company, limited liability company, limited liability partnerships, branch and representative offices and professional firms.
Companies established in RAK are not allowed to perform commercial activities in other areas of the UAE.
Types of companies which can be set up in RAK free zone
Foreign entrepreneurs who want to open companies in Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone can choose among several types of companies which are categorized as a free zone and non-free zone structures, among which:
- the free zone limited liability company which can be established as an offshore company;
- the individual establishment also known as the sole trader or sole proprietorship in RAK;
- the limited liability company which is subject to a few more requirements compared to the free zone company;
- branch offices of local companies which can be set up in mainland or free zones, and branches of foreign companies.
The authorities governing the RAK Economic Zone are very generous when it comes to foreign investors opening companies here and have created various sets of incentives for those setting up both onshore and offshore companies in Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone.
Shareholding requirements for opening a company in RAK
Those who want to open companies in RAK must comply with several requirements. If the share capital needs to be the same no matter the business entity chosen, there are a few differences when it comes to the number of shareholders who can participate in these companies.
Those who want to open free zone companies in RAK should know that this type of company requires at least one shareholder and can have a maximum of 50 participants. Compared to it, the non-free zone limited liability company must have at least 2 shareholders, while the maximum remains at 50.
In the case of individual establishments, a single shareholder is required when starting a business in Ras Al Khaimah.
When it comes to branch offices, both free zone companies and foreign ones can set up such structures in RAK.
Our local consultants can advise on how to choose the right business form when setting up a company in RAK. We can also help you open a company in Dubai if you want to enter one of the most prolific markets of the UAE.
You can read about the advantages of RAK companies in the scheme below:
Requirements to open an offshore company in RAK
Foreign investors who want to open RAK offshore companies must comply with several requirements. However, these are not as strict as in the case of an onshore company in Dubai, for example. In order to set up an offshore company in RAK, one must prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company which can be drafted in English or Arabic.
It should be noted that there are no requirements related to investors visas, therefore a foreign businessman does not need to apply for a work or residence permit to open an offshore in RAK. However, one will be required to appoint a local agent to carry out the company registration process.
Our Dubai company formation agents can act on behalf of foreign investors based on a power of attorney.
Another requirement for setting up an offshore company in Ras Al-Khaimah is related to the share capital. A minimum amount of 1,000 AED must be deposited in full upon the registration of the company.
The company must also have a registered address in RAK and appoint at least one company director. Corporate managers are permitted in Ras Al-Khaimah.
Licenses for companies in RAK
There are four types of licenses available for investors:
- the commercial license,
- the industrial license,
- the general trading license,
- the consultancy/services license.
The application for issuing a business license must be accompanied by proof from the bank that the specified amount of capital has been deposited.
In order to register a company in Ras Al-Khaimah, an investor must provide us with a copy of their passports, a bank reference letter after opening the bank account and a confirmation of the registered address.
Restrictions for offshore companies in RAK
Even if the company is allowed to obtain any of the licenses above, there are certain restrictions imposed on RAK offshore companies. Among these are:
- the company is not allowed to operate on the UAE market;
- no bearer shares are allowed in a RAK offshore;
- the company name is subject to certain restrictions with respect to certain words that cannot be used in the trade name.
Despite these restrictions, the RAK offshore company offers numerous advantages, one of the most important ones being the high degree of privacy. Also, RAK offshore can act as a holding company and can buy real estate in the UAE.
The advantages of free zone companies in RAK
Those who decide to create a free zone company in RAK will have various benefits, among which:
- a 0% tax rate on the personal and corporate income of the shareholders, respectively the company;
- full foreign ownership is possible when setting up a free zone company in RAK;
- the shareholders can freely repatriate any profits made in RAK to their home countries;
- there is no customs duty applied to companies re-exporting goods from RAK.
It is important to note that in the case of foreign shareholders setting up offshore companies in RAK a local agent must be appointed to represent them on the market. Our company incorporation agents in Dubai can offer more information on this aspect.
Advantages of non-free zone companies in RAK
Those who decide to open companies in mainland Ras Al Khaimah will also have several benefits. Even if they need to have a local partner or sponsor, just like in Dubai, this type of company will be allowed to trade directly in the UAE, therefore it will not need to appoint a local agent.
The RAK company will also be subject to a 0% rate when it comes to income and corporate taxes. Also, there is no customs duty when selling goods in the UAE market. This exemption also applies if the goods are sold within the GCC.
If you want to set up a company in RAK, no matter if it is an offshore or onshore company, our Dubai company formation representatives can help you.
Why open an offshore company in RAK?
The following advantages are offered when setting up a RAK offshore company:
- 0% corporate tax under specific conditions;
- 100% foreign ownership allowed;
- no audit requirements;
- no annual filing requirements;
- 100% repatriation of their profits and capital;
- no minimum share capital
- confidentiality for their business;
- business-friendly environment;
- flexible jurisdiction.
The registration process of an offshore company is simple and straight forward, the company becoming operational in a few working days.
Nowadays, more than 6,000 small and medium companies are operating a business in RAK which is situated in the top five of the most convenient free trade zones in the world.
The economic zones in Ras Al Khaimah
There are several economic zones that cater to the needs of those opening companies in RAK. These are:
- the Al Ghail Industrial Zone which was created for those interested in operating in the manufacturing industry;
- the Al Hamra Industrial Zone which is dedicated to light industries;
- the RAKEZ Academic Zone which is dedicated to educational activities and in which many international academies operate;
- the Al Hulaila Industrial Zone which was developed with the purpose of catering to the manufacturing sector;
- the RAKEZ Media Zone which is dedicated to those operating in the media industry;
- the RAKEZ Business Zone which is made up of the business building offering various facilities to those seeking for office spaces.
If you want to open an offshore company in RAK and need guidance, our consultant can help with the drafting of the necessary documents to get started.
For further information, you may contact our company formation agents in Dubai. We are specialized in forming RAK Offshore Companies. We kindly invite you to reach out to us if you are interested in opening a company in Dubai or its free zones, as well as in Ras Al Khaimah.
We invite you to watch a video about how you can set up a company in RAK free zone: