Registering an offshore company in the UAE

company registration
In this article:
Offshore companies are the least common type of company in the UAE. However, it is useful for several important purposes. This article looks at why and how to register an offshore company in the UAE.
Offshore companies features
Why register an offshore company in the UAE?
Generally, an offshore company in the UAE is registered to act as a holding company: it owns shares and interests in other companies, receiving dividends and managing subsidiaries. In addition, the offshore company can own real estate, including property in Dubai. However, only the JAFZA zone allows the registration of an offshore company that can own real estate in Dubai. Offshore companies are also used privately to own intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademarks.
  • Tax exemption: there is no income tax. In comparison, Mainland companies will have to pay tax from June 2023.
  • Offshore companies cannot conduct business in the UAE.
  • The list of offshore company founders is closed. However, companies must file information with the register of beneficial owners, which is also not publicly disclosed.
  • No visas can be issued for shareholders and employees.
  • A bank account can be opened in the UAE.
  • No office is required to register a company.
  • A special agent is required to run the business.
Registration procedure
Let’s take a closer look at all the steps of registering an offshore company.
Preparation of the application and necessary documents
The following documents are usually required for the registration of a company in respect of the shareholder and director
  • a scan of your passport;
  • proof of address (e.g. utility bill);
  • a photograph on a white background that meets certain requirements.
Should the shareholder be a legal person, the constituent documents of such a legal person are needed, as well as the resolution containing the decision to establish the legal person.
Application submission
The application is submitted online to the offshore administration.
Decision on registration
A decision on registration is made based on the results of the application. The company receives a certificate of incorporation. No business license will be issued as the company cannot conduct business in the UAE.

Period of incorporation: 2−4 weeks depending on the number of the founders and the speed of the documents submitted.
The registration cost
Costs start from $ 2000 and depend on the particular offshore zone. Registering in RAK is a more budget-friendly option.