Best of both worlds: Get access to both IBC & Free Zone Company benefits in the UAE 


If you’re a business owner, who like us, wants to keep your options open, then keep reading.

It’s not uncommon to be indecisive between whether to set up an International Business Company (IBC) or Free Zone Company: The IBC gives you the advantage of a tax-free global income (from trade, services or investments) with low start-up and maintenance costs, whereas the Free Zone Company allows you to apply for a residence visa, to employ staff and to provide services inside the UAE. The good news is, that now you don’t have to choose between the two options, you can have both at a special price.

There is a new premium option available thanks to the collaboration between Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC) and the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) for business owners to register with RAK ICC and then open a subsidiary in RAKEZ in one process.

Here are 6 key advantages to this setup.

1. UAE Residency

One of the downsides to an IBC is that there is no residency visa available but through a RAKEZ subsidiary, you can gain UAE Residency. The visa lasts 2 – 3 years and the number of visa’s a company can apply for will be dependent on the size of the office (1 visa is issued for every nine square meters).

This is great if you would like the ability to expand your business into the Gulf region.

2. Easier Banking

Having a UAE residency and a business through RAKEZ makes it easier to open a corporate bank account. This enables you to have access to funds set in the UAE at all times, no matter where you are in the world. This banking flexibility is rarely available anywhere else in the world. 

3. Office Expansion

A perk of RAK ICC International Business Company is that no office space is required, but with a RAKEZ subsidiary, there is a range of office options available should you wish to expand. These vary from short-term Flexi rental options to more permanent annual leases with free security and cleaning services.

The Flexi-desk options have proven to be quite attractive as it enables businesses to test the waters in the UAE at a very low entry cost.

4. Trade Locally & Globally

With an IBC you can trade globally but not within the UAE, which can be problematic. With a RAKEZ subsidiary businesses can trade within their free zone as well as throughout the UAE. 

As businesses are continuously evolving, a RAKEZ subsidiary helps you keep your options open. 

5. Keep Taxation Benefits

It is possible to apply for a Tax Residency Certificate through RAKEZ, so you will be able to benefit from zero taxation in the UAE as well as access the 210 double tax treaty agreements. 

6. Achieve “substance” and more

By operating through both RAK ICC & RAKEZ, you will have all the benefits that come with both registration options and get access to all the global benefit as a business of substance. It truly is the best of both worlds. 

Each business is unique and there are a number of factors that will contribute to your final decision.

At Hensley&Cook, we are equipped to provide you with the best solutions that are suited to your company needs now, but always keeping the future of your business in mind. 


Our UAE offices are closed from April 8-12, 2024, you may still reach us on +971 4 406 9680 as our team in Seychelles and the Philippines remain at your disposal. Eid Mubarak!


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