26 10 2020

3 offshore jurisdictions in the United Arab Emirates


Today, there are 3 offshore zones available for foreign businessmen to register offshore companies: RAK, JAFZA and Ajman Free Zone. Each jurisdiction has its own advantages, which are successfully used by existing investors from all over the world. Before opening an offshore company, we recommend to familiarize yourself with each jurisdiction in more detail and choose the most suitable one.

1. Offshore company in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK)

Registration of an offshore company in Ras Al Khaimah became available in 2007. The procedure itself is carried out in the RAK Investment Office. The opening process itself can be called inexpensive compared to the registration of an onshore company.

In order to successfully open an offshore company in Ras Al Khaimah, you need at least one shareholder and a director. It is allowed to use legal entities as shareholders. The authorized capital has no minimum requirements, but it is worth noting that one share must cost at least 1 thousand dirhams. It follows that the minimum share capital is AED 1,000. Bearer shares are prohibited. There is a total confidentiality for shareholders.

The registration process takes up to three days.

2. Offshore company in Dubai (JAFZA)

There is only one FEZ in Dubai where it is possible to open an offshore company, this zone is Jebel Ali. Regulated by the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA). If you are going to carry out activities outside the United Arab Emirates or buy real estate in Dubai, then this is the right zone to choose.

There are no taxes on activities outside the UAE, there are no requirements for the authorized capital. Bearer shares are prohibited. To form an offshore company in Jebel Ali, at least one shareholder and a director are required. There are no requirements regarding the place of holding a shareholders' meeting; such meetings can be held anywhere in the world. The owner register is hidden for third parties. Bookkeeping is required.

The registration process can take up to 14 days.

3. Offshore company in Ajman (AFZA)

It became possible to register offshore companies in the Ajman free zone in 2014. We would like to note that Ajman is very small in size, therefore, the registration costs are less here than in other zones. Usually, companies are registered here by foreign investors who want to buy real estate in the Emirate of Ajman and operate outside the United Arab Emirates, using the opportunities for asset protection, privacy and zero taxation.

The requirements include the presence of a shareholder and a director; their minimum number starts from one person per position. There is the possibility of owning shares at the corporate level. The owner register is hidden for third parties. Bearer shares are prohibited.