Dubai offshore at glance

29 April, 2018 By Anisha Shah

In 2003, Dubai Ports and Customs Authority issued the Regulation “On Offshore Companies” and authority of Jebel Ali got authorized to register offshore companies in Dubai.
The Jebel Ali Offshore Company is regulated by Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority Offshore Companies Regulations of 2003. It’s been designed in a manner that can hold freehold property in some projects, namely: properties on the Palm Islands and other projects by Nakheel, Emaar and Dubai Properties.
By this, we can make out activities permitted to these offshore structures that are mainly realization of purchase, sale and ownership of property rights to real estate in Dubai.
Going forward, the Land Department issued a circular which prohibited all offshore companies to own property in Dubai, except those which were registered at JAFZA Offshore. This circular is solely applicable to new registrations for property ownership at the Land Department from 1stJanuary, 2011.
These offshore companies are restricted to carry out any activity in the territory of the UAE but are allowed to engage in commercial activities outside the UAE. The restricted activities are:

  • Insurance,
  • Banking,
  • Financial,
  • Professional Services,
  • Consulting,
  • Intellectual Property,
  • Media,
  • Security,
  • Publishing,
  • Advertising,
  • Movie Production,
  • Gambling,
  • Casino,
  • Game & Win,
  • Advisory,
  • Real Estate,
  • Military
  • and Education

Though, this offshore company has some similarities with the offshore companies from other jurisdictions, there are also some substantial differences, i.e. restrictions on bearer shares, nominee shareholders and nominee directors are not permitted by Jebel Ali Offshore Company. The shareholders will need to personally visit JAFZA for signing incorporation documents.

Following are the differences between offshore companies and free zone company in Jebel Ali:
Offshore company in Jebel Ali Offshore Company
Other companies in Jebel Ali Free Zone
Minimal capital required
AED10,000 AED500,000 – AED1,000,000
Paid-up capital
No Yes*
Office requirement
The legal address of the offshore company is the address of the registration agent. Office requirement mandatory
License for business in Jebel Ali Free Zone (export, import, trading, manufacturing, etc)
No Yes
Provision of residence visas for shareholders/directors of the company
No Yes
Bank account in the UAE
Yes Yes
100% corporate and personal income exemption
Yes Yes
100% import and export tax exemption
Yes Yes
100% foreign ownership
Yes Yes
100% repatriation of capital and profit
Yes Yes
Value added tax
Exempt North and South expect
Local sponsor requirement
No No
Internationally allowed Direct trade in UAE subjected to restrictions


You are just 7 steps away to get your company registered in JAFZA Offshore.

1. Contact a reliable registered agent either who is authorized by JAFZA or has access to such agents.
2. Ask agent for the service quote. For the services listed below:
a) Company Registration
b) Bank account opening
c) Any special attestations needed
3. Provide registered agent 3 names suggestion for the proposed company out of which they will advise with the name availability.
4. Finalize the activity of the offshore company.
5. Decide the share capital.
We usually recommend AED 10,000/-
6. Decide the appointed shareholder, director and Manager.
Minimum 2 directors required.
7. Fulfill the document requirements

For individual “shareholder” applicants:

I. Passport copies
II. Utility bills or last 6 months Bank statement for proof of residential address
III. Brief resume of each applicant
IV. Two passport size photographs

For corporate applicants: The following documents are required duly notarized in the country of origin and attested by the UAE Embassy/Consulate:

I. Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
II. Original Certificate of Good Legal Standing
III. Copy of Memorandum & Articles of Association
IV. Original Board resolution approving investment in the offshore company along with Power of Attorney
V. Original Certificate of Incumbency showing list of the shareholders, directors and the name of the ultimate beneficial owner (in case of nominee shareholding only) of the company duly certified by the company registrar
VI. Passport of the shareholder/s / director/s of the company

For each of the director / manager / secretary of the proposed JAFZA offshore company:

I. Passport copies
II. Utility bills for proof of residential address
III. Brief business background / resume of each applicant

Timeframe to incorporate a JAFZA offshore company

From the date of submission of the incorporationdocuments, it takes 4-5 working days for theJAFZA Criminal Investigation Department tocomplete its due diligence investigation of theproposed Shareholders, Directors and Secretary.

Are you looking to register your Offshore Company in Dubai?

We provide fast and reliable Offshore Company formation services. Our Offshore Company formation fees are highly competitive. Moreover, we are recognized by JAFZA offshore as a ‘Best offshore consultant’ 2013 and ‘Best Strategic Partner’ 2017.  Please get in touch with us for professional assistance. You can reach us at email incorporation@nrdoshi.aeor use the contact us form on this website. First consultation is FREE.


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