International Corporations: Dubai


Dubai, also spelled Dubayy, city and capital of the emirate of Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the seven emirates that constitute the federation of the United Arab Emirates, which was created in 1971 following independence from Great Britain. There are several theories about the origin of the name Dubai. One associates it with the daba—a type of locust that infests the area—while another holds that it refers to a market that existed near the city. In recent years Dubai has been compared to Singapore and Hong Kong and is often regarded as the Middle East’s premier entrepôt. Area 13.5 square miles (35 square km). Pop. (2016 est.) 2,645,581.
Dubai is a city of skyscrapers, ports, and beaches, where big business takes place alongside sun-seeking tourism. Because of its large expatriate population, it feels like a Middle Eastern melting pot, and the atmosphere is generally tolerant. Religious affiliations are not a prominent aspect of city life. Islam is the majority religion, but churches and Hindu temples coexist with Dubai’s mosques.
Dubai’s population has grown steadily over the past two centuries, from just a few thousand local inhabitants to well over two million. Most of the early population increases were due to merchants from neighbouring countries choosing to relocate to Dubai’s business-friendly environment. In the later 20th century the city’s construction boom led to a huge increase in the number of South Asian labourers and an influx of skilled expatriates from all over the world who play an important role in Dubai’s multi-sector economy. Expatriates in the city vastly outnumber native Emiratis. With the exception of the labourers, who are housed in work camps beyond the city limits, expatriates of various nationalities are spread across Dubai. Although Arabic is the official language, English is, in practice, the lingua franca.

Company Incorporation
Main Characteristics of the international bussiness (IBO

JAFZA Non-resident companies are entitled to do business internationally and may not carry out trade or business within the UAE, or any free zone.

This includes rent offices or facilities within the territory. But they may exceptionally acquire real estate in UAE in designated areas and in government-approved development projects.

JAFZA Non-resident companies are also allowed to have relationships with residents providing certain professional services such as legal or consulting, and they have access to the banking system and can open corporate bank accounts in UAE.

The banking sector in UAE is considered solid and capitalized, being the main financial hub of the region, the Dubai International Financial Center, and another sizeable and expanding financial center, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Offshore companies in JAFZA are generally used to carry out activities such as international trade, overseas consulting and advisement, international professional services, holding company, hold intangible assets, investment, and joint investment company, intermediary brokers, overseas property owning, shipping and ship management.

Any activity related to banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, collective investment schemes, trust management or trusteeship, is strictly prohibited.

JAFZA Non-resident entities are fully exempt from all taxes and only subject to a license fee, which must be renewed annually.

As they are considered non-residents for tax purposes, they cannot benefit from UAE tax treaties. However, they are usually authorized to own shares of FZ or local companies, or even establish a branch onshore.

Dubai Corporations Overview

Company type
Special Status Non-Resident Company (Company limited by shares).
Governing corporate legislation
JAFZA Offshore Companies Regulations
– Non-resident companies may be constituted from one up to fifty shareholders. Corporate shareholders are allowed, and there is no limitation on their nationality.
A minimum of two directors are required, which must be natural persons and can be nonresidents.
Information published relating to company officers
shareholders details are not available to the public and the use of nominees is permitted.
Directors names are not publicly disclosed. Nominee directors are allowed.
The liability of its shareholders is limited to the amount of share capital.
Accounting requirement/ compliance
JAFZ offshore companies must maintain accounting records, appoint an auditor and file the audited financial statements annually. They are subject to a registration fee, which must be renewed annually.
Corporate income tax
Companies incorporated in JAFZA under the JAFZA Offshore Companies Regulations are exempt from all forms of taxation. All trading income, investment income, capital gains, compensations, rents, and royalties derived from outside of U.A.E. are free from taxes.
Standard currencyAED
Shared capital/paid up
The law does not require a specific capital amount required, nor specifies a standard authorized capital. Shares may be in any currency and may be on a non-paid up basis.
Basis of the Legal System
Although the legal code in UAE is based on Sharia and Civil Law, the Jebel Ali Free Zone is based on common law principles.
A local secretary must be appointed, who cannot be a corporation.
Bearer shares are not allowed.
Registered address
Non-resident companies must have a registered office address and a registered agent authorized by the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority.
General meeting
There is no requirement regarding annual meetings and their location.
Electronic SignatureAllowed
Time to form5 days
Renewal date
Anniversary date of the company / Each Year
Time Zone
Convenient world time zone: GMT+4
offers a high level of anonymity and privacy.


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