UAE Offshore Company Formation – Who’s it For?

uae offshore company formation

UAE offshore company formation has become increasingly popular among wealthy individuals who desire to protect their financial assets in a safe and secure, tax free jurisdiction. The legislation, which governs Dubai Offshore Companies, was enacted in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai in May 2003. It provides for a secure environment for investors without the levels of unnecessary intrusion and bureaucracy found in other offshore jurisdictions. The advantages to setting up a UAE offshore company are great as the UAE business climate remains favourable for business people and highly conducive to growth. Though not difficult to accomplish, there are many factors to consider before setting up an offshore company.

Steps involved in UAE Offshore Company Formation in Dubai, UAE

UAE offshore company formation can be broken down into the following steps:

1. Preparing for Offshore Company Formation

It is recommended that a detailed document, inclusive of market research and feasibility studies be prepared. The document may be used as an operational reference, or for future approvals. Obtain all pertinent documentation for UAE offshore incorporation and review it.

2. Incorporating the business entity

Consider the required information for offshore company incorporation

  • Choose a legal structure for the business
  • Choose the offshore location
  • Prepare the required documentation for registration of the entity
  • Co-ordination with the relevant regulatory authorities for approvals

Zola Group can assist in facilitating the incorporation process. You may contact us to get all necessary documents and subjects of approval, or to request market research and feasibility studies.

What you need to know about UAE offshore company formation:

1. A UAE Offshore Company benefits from 0% taxation;

2. A UAE Offshore Company is internationally recognised and reputable;

3. UAE and Dubai Offshore companies have no public register of shareholders and directors;

4. A UAE Offshore Company can be incorporated quickly.

It is also important to note the following:

1. A UAE Offshore Company may not trade within the UAE;

2. A UAE Offshore Company cannot rent a local office/warehouse/place of business in the UAE;

Offshore Company Formation Details


Type of entity Limited by shares
Type of law Incorporated under the Offshore Company Regulations 2003
Government Fees Subject to change
Corporate taxation Nil
Double taxation treaties available No
Share Capital
Usual currency AED
Minimum paid up AED 1
Minimum number 2
Local resident required No
Corporate Directors permitted No
Records publicly available No
Location of Meetings Anywhere
Shareholders / Members
Minimum number 1
Corporate Shareholder permitted Yes
Records publicly available No
Location of Meetings Anywhere
Company Secretary
Required Yes
Local or qualified No
Required Yes
Audit required Yes, by an auditor from the approved list
Filing required Yes
Publicly available No
Annual return required No
Change of domicile permitted No


Name of the company

Dubai offshore companies must use the suffix Limited or Ltd. to denote limited liability. The following words and their associated activities are prohibited: Banking, Insurance and Re-insurance.


UAE offshore companies may have between one and fifty persons whose liability is limited to their shares in the company’s capital. 100% foreign ownership of the company is permitted. There is no public register of shareholders and directors in order to maintain privacy. Shareholders may visit the country to sign incorporation documents or a power of attorney, notarized by UAE Embassy, can be issued to a nominated person.

The minimum share capital

A UAE offshore company may choose its minimum share capital. Currently, joint shareholding is not allowed. Bearer shares may not be issued. All shares must be paid when allotted. A company cannot create varying classes of shares.

Directors of the company and secretary

A minimum of two directors and one secretary are required. One of the directors is permitted to also be a secretary. A register of directors must be held, but it is not made public.

Registered office and local agent

UAE offshore companies must maintain a local Registered Agent and a local Registered Office, which is usually provided by the Agent.


Offshore companies pay no taxes, whatsoever, in the UAE.

Audit and financial returns

No annual reports or accounts need to be filed. Accounts must be audited and distributed to shareholders, but NOT filed with the authorities. The UAE offshore company may retain their accounting records anywhere in the world the directors wish.


After UAE offshore company formation, meetings may be held anywhere in the world.

Time needed for UAE offshore company formation

Approximately 1 week.


Zola Group offers holistic corporate services to local and global business clients. Our most popular comprehensive services include company setup, incorporation, residency and banking services. Contact our professional corporate services consultants via phone or email to inquire about how we can help you achieve success in this region's most rewarding emerging market.