Understanding the Differences

Understanding the difference is essential however in the UAE the onshore companies can effectively at many of the benefits of the offshore companies.


An onshore business entity has the legal authority to carry out the business activities in the location of company incorporation. An offshore business entity doesn’t hold the legal authority to conduct the business activities in the location where the company has been incorporated. Offshore companies are known as IBCs (international business companies) holding companies and international companies.

The UAE is a low tax jurisdiction that offers onshore and offshore 

Summary of Key Differences

An onshore company is a company that is registered and ALSO operates in the same country as its shareholders. The company is “managed and controlled” in this jurisdiction. 

An offshore company is a company that is registered and operated in a different country from its shareholders. It has a registered agent that acts for it in the country of incorporation. 

Differentiator Onshore Company Offshore Company
Legal Status
Onshore companies do business in the country of incorporation
Offshore companies register in certain countries with no tax.
Business & Operation
Substance locally but operate globally as well
No local substance, operate globally.
Less privacy, subject to state control.
Complete privacy. The company details with an agent.
Tax Rate
High (Except UAE)
Office Space
Office space is mandatory, with employees
Registered agent, no residence or employee's visa’s
Higher -cost structure
Low-cost structure

Different Offshore Company Types

There are various choices and structures when establishing in this free zone and our experts can help you decide what structure is best for you from the list below. 

What our clients say

“We were extremely lucky to meet the senior team members at Global Trust Group. With real experience and access to specialist experts in many jurisdictions across leading western countries. Not just a local outfit! Discretion, privacy and understanding were outstanding.”

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