In 2003, the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) introduced the concept of a company form where no physical presence is necessary. In 2006, Ras Al Khaimah followed and issued its own offshore legislation. Companies incorporated under these offshore legislations are not allowed to have any business activities within the UAE. However, they may have bank accounts in the UAE and they are also allowed to own property in certain areas where foreigners are authorized to buy real estate.
These offshore regulations are in line with the latest international practices and are aimed to further the free zones credentials as centres for offshore firms, along the lines of the British Virgin Islands and Jersey. These companies are extremely flexible international instruments that can serve many objectives like: trading operations, asset protection, tax planning, real estate holding etc.
The company must hold at least one meeting every year and produce financial statements to be audited by an approved auditor and deposited with the Companies’ registrar; however, the last requirement is not enforced for the time being. The offshore firm must maintain a registered office in the UAE through a registered agent. Swiss ILC is a licensed registered agent for Jebel Ali as well as Ras Al Khaimah Offshore Companies.