UAE Offshore Companies: What are they and why may be of your choice

19 June 2017

What is an Offshore Company?

An “Offshore Company” is the term used for companies established under jurisdictions that allow them to operate anywhere other than in the specific jurisdiction they are regulated in. Therefore, “Offshore” Companies, also known as International Business Companies (IBC), are considered as “overseas” entities both in the area they are formed and elsewhere – eternally offshore or overseas. This arrangement implies an entity operating in a zero-tax environment.

“Offshore” companies are usually deployed in relation to international trade, holding companies, tax efficient structures and wealth management. Trust structures and other fiduciary arrangements are also users of offshore jurisdictions.

Historically, offshore jurisdictions were dominated by Caribbean Islands such as Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, etc. and certain small states around the European Mediterranean.

Today, the UAE is leading the innovation in offshore jurisdictions offering a number of options across different Emirates and Authorities.


Why UAE International Business Company (IBC) may be your choice

The UAE is a very progressive and stable country. It has a very functional governing system and is a very safe country to visit and reside. It has strong financial institutions, and is easy to get into it. This has led to its acceptance as a regional hub in pursuit of innovation and excellence.

As an independent country, UAE is not subject to the rules found in Europe or in the US. To this turn, it allows for more latitude in the structuring and disclosing of, one’s assets.

An International Business Company (IBC) may be an ideal solution for foreign investors and business owners. An IBC can be owned by a physical person (individuals) or a corporate body (another company). An “offshore” company in any of the UAE jurisdictions, cannot operate within the UAE or hold office.

In addition, the UAE is clear of the FATF blacklist or OECD ‘blacklist’ of tax heavens.

Taking a snapshot of the existing users of UAE “Offshore” entities, anyone can find group holding companies with assets in other jurisdictions, holding companies which hold licenses of franchises and copyrights as well as companies that trade across borders.


Advantages of Setting up an “Offshore” Company in UAE:

  1. 100% foreign ownership without requirement of the involvement of any UAE national as a shareholder or sponsor
  2. 100% import and export tax exemption
  3. 100% income tax, personal tax, and corporate tax exemption
  4. 100% repatriation on capital and profit
  5. Asset protection and investment diversification, protection of Legal Asset and Investments
  6. Confidentiality and privacy in operations
  7. Ease of international operations
  8. Income from taxable jurisdiction of an offshore or holding company is not taxable
  9. Low operational costs, with world class banking and investment management services
  10. Minimum requirement of one Director or Shareholder
  11. No foreign currency restrictions
  12. No minimum capital requirement
  13. No office space requirements and lesser infrastructural costs
  14. Quick incorporation procedure


“Offshore” companies are mostly used in:

  1. Commercial trading
  2. Provision of consultancy and other services
  3. Ship management
  4. Investment vehicles
  5. Asset holding
  6. Intellectual property management
  7. Franchise management
  8. Financing
  9. Tax planning


Contact us for a free consultation at for more about UAE Offshore companies and the UAE Offshore Authorities or visit