Regulations for Setting Up Your JAFZA Offshore Company

Are you interested in the regulations for setting up your offshore company in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)? We have all the information you need to ensure your JAFZA offshore company setup process is as seamless as possible. 


 jafza port


What is the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)?

The JAFZA free zone has a prime location in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port. JAFZA is a pioneer of the free zone model in the United Arab Emirates and has experienced tremendous growth throughout its history. From only 19 enterprises in 1985, today it has over 7,500 firms, including 100 of the members of the Fortune Global 500. JAFZA is responsible for 23.9 per cent of Dubai’s GDP, 32 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and houses corporations from over 100 countries and over 135,000 jobs. Today, its goal is “[t]o be the leading global provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions.”


What are the JAFZA regulations?

One of the most remarkable peculiarities of the free zone system in Dubai and the rest of the UAE is that most free zones cater to specific industries. If you want to set up an offshore company in JAFZA, your enterprise will need to meet the categories of the trade licences that are available in this free zone. You also will have to stay in the free zone permanently because, as we previously noted in our article about Dubai free trade zones, 99% of free zones prohibit business licence transfers. Is your business the right fit for JAFZA? There are five licence classes that you can apply for in the free zone.


  • A general trading licence will let you import, store and distribute items per JAFZA regulations.
  • A trading licence will let you export, import, store and distribute the items specified on the licence.
  • An industrial licence allows you to import raw materials and to manufacture specific products for export.
  • A service licence grants you the right to carry out a specific list of services within the free zone that conform to the licence either issued by the Economic Department, relevant emirate or the Municipality.
  • A national industrial licence is for manufacturing firms that have a GCC national as a majority owner. In this case, a majority owner is defined as having at least a 51 per cent stake. The value added to the product in the free zone must sum up to at least 40 per cent and grants the licence holder the same status as a GCC national inside the UAE.

If your business can meet any of the following criteria for a commercial licence, you are all set to go through the process to set up your JAFZA offshore company.


What are the perks of JAFZA offshore company setup?

Along with the general advantages of the ease of doing business in Dubai, some other benefits are stemming from positioning your offshore company, specifically in JAFZA. They include 100 per cent ownership of your enterprise, which is fundamental since onshore companies in the UAE require that an Emirati national have the majority stake. You are also exempt from import duties and corporate taxes for 50 years. If you want to bring your capital and profits back to your country of origin, JAFZA makes that possible as well. The benefits are not strictly limited to financial benefits. You’ll have access to low energy tariffs for lower operational costs, as well as to a well-trained and highly-skilled labour pool. There are also no restrictions on foreign talent or employees to grant you further hiring flexibility. In today’s global economy, having a well-prepared workforce at your disposal and the resources to keep your operational costs at bay bode exceptionally well for future earnings.


Are you looking for the best JAFZA offshore company formation service?

Our team of Free Trade Zone experts has the JAFZA offshore insight to guide you through the process, from the registered agents’ list, company fees, and of course, the other regulations associated with company setup. If you want to ensure JAFZA is the right free zone for you, get in touch with our Free Zone specialists.  


Written by

Eugenia Zavarnitsyna

Eugenia Zavarnitsyna

Senior Associate Team Leader, Europe Emirates Group


UAE Setup Guide

Free Trade Zones
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