New Rules for Foreign Ownership in the UAE

Foreign ownership in the UAE refers to the regulations and allowances for non-UAE nationals to own property and businesses within the country. Here are the main points regarding foreign ownership in the UAE.

Here are the key points about the new rules for foreign ownership in the UAE:

  1. 100% foreign ownership now allowed:
    As of June 1, 2021, the UAE amended its Commercial Companies Law to allow 100% foreign ownership of onshore companies, removing the previous requirement for 51% local ownership.
  2. Applies to most sectors:
    This change applies to a wide range of commercial and industrial activities. For example, Abu Dhabi listed over 1,100 eligible activities and Dubai over 1,000.
  3. Strategic impact activities still restricted:
    Some sectors deemed to have “strategic impact” still have foreign ownership restrictions. These include security, defense, banking, financing, insurance, and telecommunication services.
  4. Emirate-level regulations:
    Each emirate’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has the authority to determine which activities are open to 100% foreign ownership within their jurisdiction.
  5. Free zones unchanged:
    The existing 100% foreign ownership rules in free zones remain in place.
  6. No local agent requirement:
    The requirement for foreign companies to appoint a local service agent for branches has been eliminated.
  7. Implementation timeline:
    The changes took effect on June 1, 2021, with existing companies given one year to comply with the amended law.
  8. Aim to attract investment:
    These changes are part of the UAE’s efforts to encourage foreign investment and diversify its economy.

These new rules represent a significant shift in the UAE’s approach to foreign investment, making it easier for international companies to establish and fully control their operations in the country’s mainland areas.

The UAE has made significant strides in liberalizing its foreign ownership laws, particularly in designated freehold areas and free zones, and through the introduction of the FDI Law, making it an attractive destination for foreign investors and property buyers. Call us now for an appointment at +971506531334 +971558018669

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