What You Need to Know About the RAKICC Free Trade Zone in the UAE

Are you interested in company setup in the RAK ICC Free Zone? This article will take a deep-dive into everything you need to know to take advantage of the benefits coming from establishing your enterprise from Ras Al Khaimah. We’ll also detail some of the peculiarities of the process that make RAK-ICC different from other free trade zones across the UAE. 
 

rak free trade zone ras al khaimah

 

What is the RAK ICC Free Zone?

The Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre or RAK ICC Free Zone is an emerging free trade zone in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. RAK ICC has three airports within a 45-minute car ride away (including Dubai’s international airport) and has three ports nearby as well. RAKICC was founded in 2015 through Emiri Decree No. 12 of 2015. RAKICC is a result of a merger of two previously-existing free zones, the RAK Free Zone and RAKIA, for the RAK Free Zone Authority to simplify the regulatory frameworks for those entities in a growing segment of the Emirati economy. Today, there are more than 30,000 registered enterprises with shareholders from 160 countries. Currently, 12% of shareholders are from India, 9% from the United Kingdom and 7% are from across the United Arab Emirates. 
 

What are the RAK ICC company setup requirements?

When registering businesses in the UAE, there are two factors you must consider. First, you’ll need to determine what type of entity you are looking to form and then the licence that corresponds to your business activities. What kind of corporate structures does that RAK ICC Free Zone authority permit? Your international business corporation, or IBC, can take on one of five structures: 

  1. Company Limited by Shares

  2. Restricted Purposes Company

  3. Company Limited by Guarantee

  4. Unlimited Company

  5. Segregated Portfolio Company (also known as a protected cell company). 

 

There are two other options you can elect to employ through the RAK ICC Free Zone. If you have a lot of trademarks, patents, copyrights, etc., you can choose to set up an intellectual property holding company (IPHC) to centralise your leasing and sales of all your company’s intellectual property (or IP) assets in one place. That option will simplify your taxation and have everything be under a sister entity to a global company. 

If you are looking to carry out offshore company registration but would like the ability to operate on the mainland, you can elect to contract a Premium Product, which is a collaboration between RAK ICC and the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone RAKEZ that does just that. Your offshore registration will be through RAK ICC and the partnership with RAKEZ grants you the right to establish an onshore subsidiary RAKEZ to operate locally, as well as give you the option to apply for a residency visa. The Premium Product works with all entity types listed above except the Segregated Portfolio Company. 

As for activity licences, you may apply for activity licences in the following classes:

  • Industrial
  • General Trading
  • Commercial
  • Media
  • Consulting/Services
  • Trading

 

Why RAK ICC?

There are numerous benefits of incorporating your business in RAK ICC. Like with other Free Zones across the United Arab Emirates, you will enjoy full foreign ownership, ready access to the US dollar with no taxation nor a limit restrictions on bringing capital back to your home country. There is no minimum capital requirement, and you do not have to file financial reports. You won’t be limited in the number of shareholders your entity can have or have to rent a physical office. The corporate documents do not require any legal attestation, and the process can take just a day through your registered agent that takes care of the process for you. As for other legal matters, RAK ICC operates under Common Law legislation with access to the court systems at the DIFC and ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) Free Zones. 

Along with the standard benefits resulting from the formation of the five standard IBC types, the Premium Product and Intellectual Property Holding Company, there are two other features that you can also enjoy. The first is that RAK ICC allows for you to transfer your corporate domicile from another offshore jurisdiction to RAK ICC. Most free zones in the UAE do not grant you this power, and the general rule is that if you want to change your free zone, you would have to liquidate the previous entity in the Free Zone you wish to leave and start another from scratch in the new Free Zone. Business licence transfers are not allowed in 99% of cases in the UAE, while for RAK ICC, it’s straightforward to move over to their Free Zone. 

RAK ICC also has a Probate and Wills registry in partnership with the DIFC Wills Centre at the Dubai International Financial Centre Free Zone. The registered will can be submitted in English and have validity in RAK ICC and Dubai. However, you would have to provide the completed document. Safeguarding your assets in this manner ensures that you can distribute your assets according to the tenants of your country of origin rather than Shariah law, which is applicable in the UAE in the case that someone dies and does not have a will in place. The DIFC operates under English common law, making it ideal for British expats in the Emirates. 

 

How can you incorporate an entity in the RAK ICC Free Zone?

The RAK ICC Free Zone requires all interested parties to set up a company using the international business company (IBC) structure using a registered agent. There is no other possibility to use this free zone. As RAKICC Free Zone registered agents, Europe Emirates Group can facilitate your company formation in RAK ICC. Are you ready to get started? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.


Written by

Laura Mackley

Laura Mackley
Senior Associate, Europe Emirates Group

Free Trade Zones
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