Setting up your UAE Offshore Company

For entrepreneurs looking to setup business in the UAE, an Offshore company in the UAE, also known as an International Business Company (IBC), is another type of company jurisdiction available in the UAE.

Check out our explainer on the different types of offshore jurisdictions available in the UAE.

Offshore companies have various advantages, among them:

• Low upfront and ongoing Costs

• Easy Formation process

• Registered Agents as a point of contact and handling of all affairs

• Availability of a Remote Application process

If an offshore company enjoys such benefits, why don’t more foreign investors opt for an offshore company setup in Dubai or the UAE?

This is due to reasons such as access to local markets, and residency status.

Offshore companies are not allowed to conduct any business activities within the UAE, including transacting within the local financial system.

This immediately excludes investors looking to expand within the domestic market.

Offshore companies also do not have any residence visa allowances, nor are they considered as tax residents within the UAE.

This non-residency status also makes offshore companies less appealing for clients seeking solutions with substance.

Given the ongoing regulatory clampdown, offshore entities in the UAE may not be the most applicable solution for clients with specific needs.

For that, a free zone resident company in the UAE, with residence visa allowances and substance, may be the more suitable alternative option for clients’ proposed business registration in the UAE.

Let us now provide you with a streamlined view of the steps involved in setting up your proposed UAE offshore company.

1. Selecting the offshore jurisdiction

2. Selecting your business activity

3. Preparing and securing the application and incorporation documents

4. Obtaining the Registrar-issued Incorporation documents

5. Setting up meetings with bankers for the corporate account application

Standard Questionnaire before Incorporating your UAE Offshore company

1. Business Activity

• Can you specify on the proposed business activities of the offshore company to be incorporated?

• Is it a trading or consultancy-based activity?

• Is it a regulated activity?

• Is it a high-risk activity?


2. Area of Operations

• Do you confirm that no active business activities will be conducted within the UAE?

• Do you confirm that you do not and will not conduct business activities with sanctioned countries?

3. Substance and Presence

• Do you confirm that you do not require any residence visas?

• Do you confirm that you do not require any physical office presence in the UAE?


4. Accounting and Bookkeeping Requirements

• Do you intend to maintain a set of accounts in line with global best practices?

For any other queries related to a proposed offshore company registration in UAE, please reach out to one of our team members.

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