Superbly positioned between the east and west, and a convenient stopping-off point for global trade traffic, the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) is an ideal world hub. Add to this Dubai’s strategic location close to the Gulf entrance with easy access to the entire Arabian Peninsula, and it is easy to see why so many multinational giants have chosen the Free Zone as their regional distribution centre to reach the 1.5 billion consumers in the surrounding markets.
Dubai Government has introduced the setting up of offshore companies in JAFZ, which are regulated by the JAFZ Offshore Companies Regulations 2003. The Chairman of the Dubai Port, Customs and Free Zone Corporation introduced the regulations in accordance with the authority given to him by Dubai Laws No. 1 and 4 (2001).


Characteristics of an offshore company registered in the Jebel Ali Free Zone [JAFZ] are as follows:


A minimum of one shareholder is required. Corporate shareholders are permitted. Shareholders will decide capital structure of the Company. No minimum capital requirements have been stipulated. Bearer shares are not permitted. Different classes of shares are not permitted and shares have to be fully paid when allotted. A shareholders meeting should be conducted periodically (at least once annually). Every company shall maintain minutes of all proceedings at general meetings. The Register of Members shall be open for inspection by any member of the offshore company and any other person. It is an offence to refuse inspection.


A minimum of two directors are required and corporate directors are not permitted. Details of directors are not available for public inspection.


Every company must have a secretary.

Annual Reporting

Every company must maintain accounting records, which must be prepared by a local auditor (UAE registered) in accordance with the regulations and the report should be approved by the directors and signed by one of them. There is no requirement to file the audited financial reports with JAFZA however the accounts should be kept for 10 years from the date on which they were prepared.

Time Scale

Registration of the company in the Free Zone will take 8 to 10 working days.

Restrictions on Name and Activity

Names must end with Limited.

The following words, and their associated activities, cannot be used: Assurance, Bank, Building Society, Chamber of Commerce, Chartered, Co-operative, Fund, Imperial, Insurance, Municipal, Mutual Fund, Royal and Trust.

Local Requirements

As a matter of local company law the company MUST maintain a registered office address within the Free Zone and appoint an approved registered agent. A registered agent’s office in Dubai or in the Free Zone can also be used as the registered office.

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